Songs of movement
Optoelectronic techniques and video, force platforms, electromyography: the analysis of human movement requires state–of-the–art technology. Opened in March 2012, the LAMH (Human Movement Analysis Laboratory) will focus on sporting performance and the prevention of injuries to athletes as well as neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s, the design of prosthetic limbs and questions of a civil engineering nature such as the effect of walking on certain structures.
The illusion of an ideal movement
Biomechanical scientists agree that there is no ideal movement towards which athletes should strive – high-level sport is the preferred area for analysis of movement -, but there is only an optimal movement for a given athlete at a given time. In other words, the efficiency of a technique like throwing the javelin or a golfer’s swing is not the result of some enduring technique which must be learned like a child’s nursery rhyme but rather a combination of strength, experience and physical and mental aptitude of the athlete at the moment of the action. Does this mean that all research into individual movement techniques should be frowned upon? Of course it does not. “There are performance parameters that biomechanics tries to bring out, for example, all other things being equal, tennis players with the most rapid services are those who bring the shoulder through an external rotation through a given amount of degrees and who position the body in a certain way. We can therefore try to optimize these parameters but only within the limits of the morphology proper to each individual athlete “, explains Bénédicte Forthomme, assistant lecturer at the Department of Motricity Science at the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Liège (ULg) and a member of the recently created Human Movement Analysis Laboratory (LAMH)