IMR Press / JOMH / Volume 17 / Issue 4 / DOI: 10.31083/jomh.2021.105
Open Access Editorial
Sports biomechanics: monitoring health and performance
Pedro Forte1,2,3,†Henrique P. Neiva2,4,*,†Daniel A. Marinho2,4,†
Show Less
1 Department of Sports Sciences, Douro Higher Institute of Educational Sciences, 4560-708 Penafiel, Portugal
2 Research Center in Sports, Health and Human Development, 6201-001 Covilhã, Portugal
3 Department of Physical Education and Sports, Instituto Politécnico de Bragança, 5300-253 Bragnaça, Portugal
4 Department of Sports Sciences, University of Beira Interior, 6201-001 Covilhã, Portugal

These authors contributed equally.

J. Mens. Health 2021 , 17(4), 4–6;
Submitted: 7 August 2021 | Accepted: 23 August 2021 | Published: 30 September 2021
Copyright: © 2021 The Author(s). Published by IMR Press.
This is an open access article under the CC BY 4.0 license (

Biomechanics is part of biophysics and aims to study the function and structure of biological systems based on the principles, laws, and methods of mechanics. The human body is a dynamic system in constant change, with internal (physiological) and external effects (mechanical). From an external point of view, every action/movement results from forces produced by the subject and by external forces acting on him/her. The study of these forces and their effects, such as movement, absence of movement, and deformations is the main focus of biomechanics. The amount of forces that act on the human system in each movement will also result in an internal response, so the higher the mechanical stress, the greater the physiological impact [1]. This association is observed in every physical or sports activity, highlighting the importance of biomechanics for a better understanding of the physiological response to exercise [2,3]. When a sports professional is concerned by how the available energy is used to exercise at a specific intensity/volume, causing a chain of intersegmental movements, he/she is facing biomechanical issues. The boundary of the object of study between biomechanics and physiology in sport is so tangential that it is sometimes confused [4,5]. In this way, biomechanical analysis can help to control physical demands and explain the athlete’s state of well-being [6]. Therefore, it will play an important role in sports performance and the participants’ health, in which mechanics and physiology are combined in sports biomechanics [7].

We can only understand the sport and be better professionals by better understanding the human movement. Therefore, sports biomechanics plays a key role in explaining performance results and reasons for success. Most research analyzing sports and exercise performance focus on kinetic, kinematics, and physiological variables [7-10]. Kinematics is responsible for describing and explaining human movement; kinetics explains the mechanical reason for the movement to occur, that is, how much the force produced influences the movement; and physiology aims to assess the human body’s internal response (e.g., metabolic impact). Based on this, biomechanics seeks to achieve the best efficiency path for each athlete, specifically, performing a physical task with lower energy cost. Furthermore, body impact and load distributions during physical exercise might result in overuse and/or stress injuries [6,11]. The repetition of a movement with inadequate technique may result in muscle-skeletal injuries, forcing the exercise to stop and leading to longer or shorter periods of inactivity. This compulsory exercise interruption will have health or performance implications [12]. Biomechanical professionals should be concerned about movement techniques, such as body alignment and articulation positions during exercise, and also provide the necessary feedback to the technical team, so that load and physiological impact are better controlled and according to the exercise purpose. This would prevent overtraining that could also compromise the athletes’ health [1]. Again, biomechanics can be important to prevent the overtraining phenomenon and preserve a good state of well-being.

The areas of application of biomechanics are essentially developed around the technique of sports movement, equipment and materials, as well as the prevention/attenuation of sports injuries [13]. For these, physical activities and sports demands are assessed using a set of technology systems. Technology such as pedometers, accelerometers, global positioning system (GPS), micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS), local position measurement (LPM), and computerized video systems, allows the assessment of human movement behavior [1,9,14]. Variables such as the number of steps, counts, distances, velocity, acceleration/deceleration, time-motion analysis, neuromuscular function, angles and qualitative analysis are used to describe and quantify human movement intensity. Based on mechanical variables, a physiological impact is explained and predicted. Thus, heart rate, lactate levels, oxygen consumption, and other subjective measures, such as perceived exertion and well-being questionnaires are explained by the variables presented above [15].

As previously mentioned, biomechanics uses several technological instruments to assess athlete’s performance. Those instruments may evaluate single or multiple variables and new methods have been created in recent years. Thus, future research may focus on creating and testing new technologies to assess biomechanics regarding athletes’ performance and health. Researchers may seek simple, easy, and inexpensive methods to help coaches and analysts evaluate practitioners with valid and precise data. That said, different evaluation methods must be compared and tested for different purposes [16,17].

Typically, biomechanical analyses are made by: observational and qualitative methods, based on visual analysis [18]; video and photogrammetry analysis, in which kinematic variables (time, velocity, position, distance) are assessed [9,19]; experimental tests, in which different instruments, such as force plate, ergojump, speedometer, encoder, force sensors, radars, wind tunnels, inertial devices, and other tools, allow gathering information about kinetic and kinematic variables; and analytical procedures, which are a set of equations that typically permit to compute or estimate kinetics, kinematics, and performance [1,20-23]. However, it is necessary to compare these different methods and to provide information about validity, accuracy, and reliability. So, testing different methods can be an important issue to support the choices of coaches and analysts when deciding how to assess the biomechanics and health status of athletes.

The analytical procedures may be the fastest and easiest way to gather insights about athletes’ biomechanics during training and competition [8]. Some studies have compared analytical procedures with experimental and numerical methods [16,17]; however, more comparisons are required. For instance, regarding cycling, there is a trend related to comparing the biomechanics of disabled and non-disabled athletes [24,25]. This trend can be observed in different sports and contexts [10]. Moreover, the 2020 Olympic Games introduced new sports in which biomechanics analysis will be worthy of scientific knowledge, and novelty will characterize these future studies.

Biomechanical intervention should also be noteworthy concerning health issues, with an emphasis on research related to aging. Typically, functional fitness and quality of life are areas of interest in the research field [26-28]. Some measures included the number of repetitions, distance, velocity, time, strength, resistance, and flexibility measures. Through this, the intensity of the training sessions in the elderly is controlled by biomechanics variables. Different training programs may help to improve elderlies’ functional fitness and thus the ability to perform daily life activities [29]. The greater the ability to perform daily life activities, the better the quality of life is, so testing the effects of physical activity or training on biomechanics variables will be of high interest regarding the health of the elderly [28]. This article provided a wide range of biomechanical applications regarding sportsmen’s health and performance. Therefore, research with young people, adults, and the elderly, and methods, comparisons, and associations between different variables will be of valuable interest regarding sports biomechanics.

Author contributions

HPN and DAM designed the research study. PF wrote the manuscript. All authors contributed to editorial changes in the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Ethics approval and consent to participate

Not applicable.


Not applicable.


This work was supported Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology, I.P. (project UIDB04045/2021).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Teixeira JE, Forte P, Ferraz R, Leal M, Ribeiro J, Silva AJ, et al. Monitoring Accumulated Training and Match Load in Football: A Systematic Review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18: 3906.
Impellizzeri FM, Marcora SM, Coutts AJ. Internal and External Training Load: 15 Years on. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance. 2019; 14: 270–273.
Reilly T. The Science of Training-Soccer. A Scientific Approach to Developing Strength, Speed and Endurance. 1st edn. Routledge: London. 2006.
Moore IS. Is there an Economical Running Technique? A Review of Modifiable Biomechanical Factors Affecting Running Economy. Sports Medicine. 2016; 46: 793–807.
Hamill J, Knutzen KM, Derrick TR. Biomechanics: 40 Years on. Kinesiology Review. 2021; 10: 228–237.
Drew MK, Finch CF. The Relationship between Training Load and Injury, Illness and Soreness: a Systematic and Literature Review. Sports Medicine. 2016; 46: 861–883.
Forte P, Marinho DA, Morais JE, Morouço PG, Barbosa TM. Estimation of mechanical power and energy cost in elite wheelchair racing by analytical procedures and numerical simulations. Computer Methods in Biomechanics and Biomedical Engineering. 2018; 21: 585–592.
Barbosa TM, Morais JE, Forte P, Neiva H, Garrido ND, Marinho DA. A Comparison of Experimental and Analytical Procedures to Measure Passive Drag in Human Swimming. PLoS ONE. 2015; 10: e0130868.
Morais JE, Barbosa TM, Forte P, Bragada JA, Castro FAS, Marinho DA. Stability analysis and prediction of pacing in elite 1500 m freestyle male swimmers. Sports Biomechanics. 2020. (in press)
Forte P, Marinho DA, Silveira R, Barbosa TM, Morais JE. The Aerodynamics and Energy Cost Assessment of an Able-Bodied Cyclist and Amputated Models by Computer Fluid Dynamics. Medicina. 2020; 56: 241.
Teixeira JE, Forte P, Ferraz R, Leal M, Ribeiro J, Silva AJ, et al. Quantifying Sub-Elite Youth Football Weekly Training Load and Recovery Variation. Applied Sciences. 2021; 11: 4871.
Sousa AC, Neiva HP, Izquierdo M, Cadore EL, Alves AR, Marinho DA. Concurrent Training and Detraining: brief Review on the Effect of Exercise Intensities. International Journal of Sports Medicine. 2019; 40: 747–755.
Hawkins D, Metheny J. Overuse injuries in youth sports: biomechanical considerations. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 2001; 33: 1701–1707.
Morais JE, Barbosa TM, Forte P, Pinto JN, Marinho DA. Assessment of the inter-lap stability and relationship between the race time and start, clean swim, turn and finish variables in elite male junior swimmers’ 200 m freestyle. Sports Biomechanics. 2021. (in press)
Bourdon PC, Cardinale M, Murray A, Gastin P, Kellmann M, Varley MC, et al. Monitoring Athlete Training Loads: Consensus Statement. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance. 2017; 12: S2–170.
Barbosa TM, Ramos R, Silva AJ, Marinho DA. Assessment of passive drag in swimming by numerical simulation and analytical procedure. Journal of Sports Sciences. 2018; 36: 492–498.
Forte P, Marinho DA, Nikolaidis PT, Knechtle B, Barbosa TM, Morais JE. Analysis of cyclist’s drag on the aero position using numerical simulations and analytical procedures: A case study. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2020; 17: 3430.
Alves ME, Marinho DA, Carneiro DN, Alves J, Forte P, Nevill AM, et al. A Visual Scan Analysis Protocol for Postural Assessment at School in Young Students. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2020; 17: 2915.
Forte P, Morais J, Barbosa T, Reis A. Análise da Magnitude das Assimetrias Posturais em Crianças e Jovens Futebolistas. Revista Brasileira de Futebol. 2020; 13: 3–16. (In Portuguese)
Barbosa TM, Forte P, Marinho DA, Reis VM. Comparison of the World and European Records in the 100m Dash by a Quasi-Physical Model. Procedia Engineering. 2016; 147: 122–126.
Forte P, Marinho DA, Barbosa TM, Morouço P, Morais JE. Estimation of an Elite Road Cyclist Performance in Different Positions Based on Numerical Simulations and Analytical Procedures. Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology. 2020; 8: 1–9.
Defraeye T, Blocken B, Koninckx E, Hespel P, Carmeliet J. Aerodynamic study of different cyclist positions: CFD analysis and full-scale wind-tunnel tests. Journal of Biomechanics. 2010; 43: 1262–1268.
Ribeiro B, Pereira A, Alves A, Neves P, Marques M, Marinho D, et al. Specific warm-up enhances movement velocity during bench press and squat resistance training. Journal of Men’s Health. 2021. (in press)
Forte P, Morais JE, Barbosa TM, Marinho DA. Assessment of Able-Bodied and Amputee Cyclists’ Aerodynamics by Computational Fluid Dynamics. Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology. 2021; 9: 163.
Forte P, Marinho DA, Morais JE, Morouço PG, Barbosa TM. The variations on the aerodynamics of a world-ranked wheelchair sprinter in the key-moments of the stroke cycle: a numerical simulation analysis. PLoS ONE. 2018; 13: e0193658.
Monteiro AM, Forte P, Carvalho J, Barbosa TM, Morais JE. Relationship between fear of falling and balance factors in healthy elderly women: a confirmatory analysis. Journal of Women & Aging. 2021; 33: 57–69.
Monteiro A, Bartolomeu R, Forte P, Carvalho J. The effects of three different types of training in functional fitness and body composition in older women. Journal of Sport and Health Research. 2019; 11: 289–304.
Monteiro AM, Forte P, Carvalho MJ. The effect of three different training programs in elderly women’s isokinetic strength. Motricidade. 2020; 16: 84–93.
Monteiro A, Silva P, Forte P, Carvalho J. The effects of daily physical activity on functional fitness, isokinetic strength and body composition in elderly community-dwelling women. Journal of Human Sport and Exercise. 2019; 14: 385–398.
Publisher’s Note: IMR Press stays neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
Back to top