Put simply, a biomechanical analysis is performed by a practitioner in order to determine any inherent weaknesses or alterations in the performance of a sport-specific skill. This can range from a running analysis to an analysis of a golf swing or a baseball pitch.
For example, when watching a person run, we look for some of the following indicators:
- Hip extension (or lack thereof)
- Knee drive
- Hip internal or external rotation
- Foot internal or external rotation
- Whipping foot
- Trunk rotation
- Shoulder extension
- Shoulder hiking
All of these indicators point to weakness or tightness of different muscular structures. For example, lack of hip extension can be a result of a weakened or tightened psoas muscle. This can result in low back pain because of compensatory hyperextension of the low back, compensatory tightness of the hamstring and quad, and therefore increased likelihood of injury.
Once identified, these factors are addressed through the use of soft-tissue techniques such as Active Release Technique ®, Graston® or Medical Acupuncture. By loosening these structures, as well as strengthening any weakness, the biomechanics of your running stride is made more efficient resulting in less energy expenditure and increased speed or endurance.
A similar biomechanical analysis methodology is applied to different sport-specific skills.
For an example of the use of biomechanical analysis in the sport of bobsleigh, click here.