Movement science

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The subject of movement science or kinesiology ( ancient Greek κίνησις kinesis 'movement') are the movements of living beings , especially those of humans .

Since movement plays an important role in all areas of life, a number of sub-disciplines have emerged for research into it. They are represented in the Faculties of Movement Sciences by their own departments, each of which examines movements scientifically and in the humanities with different perspectives. These include functional anatomy , work physiology and biomechanics as sub-disciplines in which the material-dependent conversion of energy into movement is considered, as well as movement control , psychomotor behavior and movement or sport sociology , in which the processing of information is the focus.

The foundations of movement research go back to Aristotle (384–322) ( De Motu Animalium ), Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519), Galileo Galilei (1564–1642), Giovanni Alfonso Borelli (1608–1679), Leonhard Euler (1707– 1783) and Joseph-Louis Lagrange (1736–1813). The fields of application of movement science include above all ergonomics , occupational therapy and physiotherapy , orthopedics , rehabilitation science and sports science.

In Germany, the term movement science , also known as motor science , sports motor skills or kinesiology , mostly refers to areas of sport and is understood as a sub-discipline of sports science . It deals with the externally observable phenomena and changes (external aspect) as well as the body-internal control and functional processes that enable movement (internal aspect). Questions from the areas of motor skills , learning , development , behavior , action , emotion , motives , sensory and cognition are examined and methods of physics , chemistry , mathematics , physiology , anatomy , psychology and education are used. Application find their results among others in power , school , latitude and Health Sport .

Development of movement science

Movement as a cultural phenomenon

Exercise science is a relatively young science. It means that you haven't been scientifically involved with movement for very long. This may come as a surprise, because movement is an elementary function of life in general - it is so natural that it is often not considered necessary to think about how to do it because everyone believes they know it intuitively.

Movement was the subject of consideration from an early stage - apart from its importance for locomotion and food procurement, namely for craft activities, cultural activities, for example for the worship of the gods, death rituals and fertility rituals. Ritual and artificial forms of movement are known in almost all ancient cultures - as games and competitions and dances.

Lore from ancient Greece

We have received mainly sources from the Greeks. We know from these that, at least for the Athenians, so-called "gymnastics" (γυμναστική τέχνη) played an important role in general upbringing as well as preparing young men for the defense of the country (as in Sparta, for example). But that was essentially only true of the young men. The importance of physical education can be seen in the political works of the philosopher Plato, the Politeia and the later work Nomoi (νόμοι = laws), both of which represent drafts for a good state. Here the philosophical / anthropological significance of gymnastics is described and analyzed. In his dialogue Gorgias , Plato divides into gymnastics and medicine. In the 8th book of his politics, Aristotle also deals with the importance of the physical education of young people.

From this time of classical antiquity, there is extensive knowledge about the major competitions, e.g. B. the Olympic Games. Since the winners of these competitions enjoyed a high level of respect and earned a lot of money, there was intensive, professional preparation. It can therefore be assumed that there was also a knowledge of good preparation - a kind of forerunner of movement science, here training science . Since the ancient Greeks, who could afford this, also took great care of their health, in which exercise also played an important role, exercise was also important as a means of preventive health care.

In the corpus of Hippocrates of Kos (the most famous doctor of antiquity, Ίπποκράτης ὁ Κῷος; 460–370 aC) there is a text on dietetics (περί διαίτης), in which, for example, health measures while hiking are treated. Even Plato (428-347 BC) is in his dialogue Gorgias one on the importance of physical exercises for the education of youth. He divides them into gymnastics and medicine. In his work Politei and the later Nomoi, both of which contain drafts for a good state, gymnastics was given an important role in the education of young people. Also in Aristotle (384–322 aC) in his work on the state (Πολιτικά) we find the blueprint for the physical training of young people - all of this corresponds to the philosophical thoughts about the importance of movement for people at that time. Even then, there was already a dispute about who was responsible for correct physical training between gymnasts (παιδοτρίβης) and doctors (ἱατρός).

From the 2nd century AD, a text by the Greek doctor Galen (around 129–199) on the "exercise with the little ball" (also harpaston , Greek Ἁρπαστόν , from: ἁρπά entω = to rob, snatch) has been handed down. Galen was engaged in health care and hygiene . Since he was a doctor of gladiators, first in Pergamon and later in Rome, it can be assumed that he obtained information about the movements of humans (and animals?) Through studies in a scientific manner. However, hardly anything has been handed down from these studies.

Even Philostratus (about 170-245) described in a work περι γυμναστικής requirements for the training and healthy lifestyle (Dietetics). There are references to other writings from the period, but they have not survived.

Sports and Exercise Science in the 19th and 20th Centuries

During the Renaissance, the ancient confrontation with people in motion was taken up again and soon developed further. So wrote z. B. Everard Digby 1587 a biomechanics of swimming, which was qualitatively surpassed only in the 20th century. The gymnastics and floor acrobatics textbook by Archange Tuccarro (1599) was not surpassed until the 20th century. Even if his biomechanics were geometrically and not arithmetically oriented, he could still analyze round movements very well. In the years that followed, movement science was continuously developed, albeit on the basis of galenic medicine.

Movement science, as we understand it today, began in Sweden in the 19th century with gymnastics by Pehr Henrik Ling (1776–1839) and was later closely linked to the development of sport that expanded with the industrialization of England. A scientific study of this new phenomenon first took place in the humanities, anthropology and psychology . The leading here was the Dutch biologist, anthropologist, psychologist, physiologist and sports medicine specialist FJJ Buijtendijk (1887–1974). He dealt with psychological anthropology and wrote a book about the game ( Het spel van Mensch en dier , German: "Wesen und Sinn des Spiel" 1932.)

Johan Huizinga also dealt with human play . In his book Homo Ludens (1938; German: 1939), he examines the role of play in all areas of culture.

The occupation of the scientific disciplines with human movement began after the First World War , when many disabled people (disabled sports) had to be provided with prostheses. For example, Otto Bock founded his company for the industrial manufacture of lower limb prostheses in Berlin in 1919. This development forced physicians, especially orthopedic surgeons and engineers, to find out how natural movement, especially walking, works. The book by Wilhelm Braune and Otto Fischer achieved worldwide renown: Der Gang des Menschen . It represents the beginning of scientific gait analysis .

The Second World War led to a further increase in importance for movement science. The possibilities of adapting the pilots to the technically feasible conditions of the aircraft with regard to their posture, their movements and their physiological performance had to be investigated. For a good training of the pilots one needed anthropometric data, possible reaction times, measurement procedures for the fitness as well as procedures for their improvement. This happened mainly in the Soviet Union and the USA . But while the findings of the Americans were published around the world, those of the Soviet Russians remained closed as secret information and in some cases are still today. So the developments in sport and movement science were divided into an eastern and a western one.

In the USSR, movement research remained a state monopoly with the training center in Moscow. The graduates received a very thorough education, which mainly included neurophysiology and mathematics and physics. Scientists were sent to the international congresses, but they were only allowed to give information within a defined framework. This was ensured by the security officers accompanying them. The goals of these studies were not only military but also high-performance sports.

In the West, after the war, research on movement broke away from military research. In the USA, the psychologist Edwin A. Fleischman developed a series of fitness tests from the experiences of the pilot examinations and examined their functional (actually statistical) relationships between their components with the help of factor analyzes. These investigations later played after the so-called Sputnik shock. (1957) played an important role in testing the fitness of American students.

So-called motor skills were compared to these components of fitness. A series of studies examined whether and how they and cognitive performance are related and can influence one another.

Movement science, which did not exist as such, remained largely identical to sports science until the middle of the 20th century. At the first meetings of the biomechanics in Zurich (1967) and Eindhoven (1969), the program was still dominated by investigations into sporting problems. After that, the focus of the topics shifted more to orthopedics and rehabilitation and then to more and more topics, so that today it deals with a wide range of problems of human movement.

Another important topic in movement science, which also emerged from the biomechanics of the first days, is the area of motor control . The term control indicates that the specification for this area is driven by engineers ( control theory ) and later mathematicians.

This branch was initially closely related to the development of behavioral sciences. There, the behavior of animals was investigated, not only in terms of the overall behavior of the animals that could be observed from the outside, but an attempt was made to research the causes of these behaviors by examining the functioning of their nervous system. The behavior researcher Konrad Lorenz (1903–1989) with his institute in Seewiesen became particularly well known . But Horst Mittelstaedt (* 1923) and Erich von Holst (1908–1962) are particularly important for the movement sciences. They were among the first to describe feedback loops in living organisms. The general development favored them insofar as the control loops were described in engineering and applied in technology at around the same time . The development of cybernetics is also an expression of this way of thinking. Mainly engineers introduced the form of representation of processes in the organism, which lead to the movements, from flow diagrams into movement science.

A special development of this time were the neural networks , with the help of which the engineers attempted to simulate the functions of the brain through a specific model that contains several levels of processing. The type of feedback ( backpropagation ), which could lead to a different weighting of individual cell functions (the neurons ), also made it possible to simulate learning processes . However, this representation has lost its importance again because the natural complex regulatory processes of the organism, in which emotional elements also play a role, cannot be represented so easily.

Since the movement of humans as well as that of animals requires the smooth functioning of numerous control loops , movement control found its way into the movement sciences and developed in the USA into a separate discipline in a certain way as a counterpoint to the more psychological approach to psycho-motor behavior , PMB .

In their book Motor Control, Translating Research into Practice, A. Shumway-Cook and MH Woolacott (2007), professors of physiotherapy, provide a brief overview of the development of motor control theory in the 20th century with its main proponents and them own specific ideas. These are:

1. Reflex theory .

This is essentially the behaviorist ( behaviorism ) notion.

2. Hierarchical theory .

The hierarchy refers to the organization of the nervous system and assigns different levels of movement control to individual brain areas between the motor cortex and the spinal connections. This theory is commonplace.

3. Motor program theory .

The program theory is also based on neurophysiological fundamentals of movement and assumes that the individual movements are triggered and controlled by programs, like a computer. These programs are built up through motor learning (see movement learning ). The movement control is limited to a conscious control, which is usually only carried out after the execution of a movement and can be used to change the next execution. The motor program theory is mainly represented by the American movement scientist RA Schmidt, who expanded it to the theory of the General Motor Program .

3. Systems theory .

The authors relate the system theory exclusively to the views of the Russian scientist Nikolai Aleksandrovic Bernstein (1896–1966), which they derive from the book The Coordination and Regulation of Movement . In this book some of Bernstein's works have been translated from Russian into English and provided with comments by English-speaking movement scientists. For the English-speaking movement scientists, the main interest in this work lies in Bernstein's examination of the problem of reducing the mechanically possible number of degrees of freedom that z. B. the human skeleton offers a number that allows controlled movements. In German, in addition to some other works, there is the work movement physiology by NA Bernstein with a foreword by the physiologist WS Gurfinkel, in which he describes the scientific work of Bernstein.

4. Dynamic theory of action .

In the dynamic theory of action , the described system theory is also extended to other areas of the organism, for example physiology. The effective interaction of these systems is emphasized (compare cybernetics and synergetics ). This leads to the idea of self-organization and means that an orderly movement arises from the specific properties of the elements involved. This idea ties in with the development in the field of engineers. The interaction of technical and biological elements is described there around the same time. Since these processes can also be described mathematically, the movement of living organisms began to be represented in mathematical form. JA Kelso, BA Tuller and MT Turvey and PN Kugler are considered to be important representatives of dynamic action theory .

6. Ecological theory .

In the 1960s, James J. Gibson (1904–1979) began to investigate how our movements develop out of dealing with our surroundings and how they are determined and controlled by them. According to this theory, living beings extract the information they need from their environment to find food, to protect themselves from enemies or to play. On the basis of this theory, movement researchers began to investigate how living organisms search for the information that is important for their actions in their environment, and in what forms it is absorbed and processed so that they can modify and control our movements. Movement research can no longer be imagined without these views.

In 1986 a motor skills congress took place in Bielefeld, at which representatives of all these theoretical approaches were represented and were able to exchange ideas for the further development of their ideas.

Towards the end of the century, movement scientists increasingly used the technical possibilities of recording human movements for the description and analysis of these movements. The cinematographic (film, video = spatio-temporal analysis), dynamic (force measuring plate = analysis of floor reaction forces) and electromyographic (analysis of muscle actions) recordings should be mentioned here. With the help of the data obtained in this way, an attempt was made to use neurological knowledge to infer the processes in the organism (especially in the nervous system ) that produced these data.

With the importance of movement research for motor rehabilitation, the interest of engineers in movement research increased. For a better understanding of the movement and their control processes, they began to represent them with the help of models from control engineering. One example of this is a work by Daniel Wolpert and his colleagues in which he depicts the sequence of a movement, as described by the reactivity principle , as a technical model through a Kalman filter . The commands, which are then also stored as an efference copy , are described as a forward control , the control through the reafferences as an inverse control. These terms (forward or inverse control) are then generally used in movement research.

Movement Research in the 21st Century

At the end of the 20th century, the possibilities for precision measurements and the variety of methods for analyzing the data obtained were greatly improved. This was especially true for the possibilities of observing and measuring brain activity during an activity (PET and fMRI). This made it possible to determine the knowledge about the functions of the individual brain sections, which previously could only be determined from failure symptoms in patients with known brain lesions .

These possibilities led to increasing demands on rehabilitation . On the input side of the information processing, the signals can be connected to the receiving, afferent nerves (for example cochlear implant and partial stimulation of the retina ). On the output side, prostheses could be controlled by stimulating the efferent nerves and provided with simple feedback loops.

A new area of ​​movement research was based on the observation of nerve cells and their ion channels, which can open spontaneously even without stimulus at random times, and one wondered what role randomness and inaccuracy play in the absorption of information, its transmission and processing in the Organism occur because these inaccuracies can also influence the precision of motion sequences (see stochastics , statistics ). Further questions are asked about how decisions are made for certain actions - based on which previous experience which decision-making processes are made ( decision theory ). This not only affects conscious decisions, but also unconscious ones.

As the development in industry is moving towards the use of more and better robots , knowledge is required about how movements can best be controlled and regulated. Mathematical and mechanical models must therefore be developed from the observations of natural movements and their regulation , which engineers can then implement in the construction of robots.

The control of motion sequences still poses many questions. The previously known ways of feedback are not fast enough for the control that is necessary when executing motion sequences. A new focus of research is to search for feedback paths in the organism with skillful tasks that enable faster control.

This development also led engineers and mathematicians to become increasingly involved in movement research, emphasizing scientists and the problems that can be addressed with their working methods. As a result, the philosophical / anthropological questions are currently pushed more into the background.

Sub-disciplines of movement science

Of the sub-disciplines of movement science, in both subgroups, energy and information processing, there is one whose focus is almost exclusively on movement and which could also be described as an independent science, not as a sub-area of ​​their “mother science”. The genuine sub-disciplines are biomechanics and movement control.

The energy-processing sub-disciplines

Functional anatomy

Biomechanical model of the skeleton and muscles

Functional anatomy deals with the material structure of the tissues of the human organism, with a focus on that of the musculoskeletal system. This means, for example, to examine the connection between the structures ( bones , joints , ligaments, tendons and muscles ) and their structure and their function in the context of movements, but also the principles of how they change during a person's development period ( childhoodage ) or under use (load - non-load). Injury mechanisms and the healing mechanisms are also examined. The research methods are those of anatomy.

Many areas of cooperation with biomechanics and work physiology result from this area of ​​responsibility .


Sociology of movement
Movement learning
genetic specifications
Group influence
Control mechanisms
Tissue mechanics
Work in
water / heat
Structure and function of
the motor neuron
Structure of the
nervous system from a
motor point of view
Control task of
the individual
brain sections
Movement science with its sub-disciplines

Work physiology

There are particularly close relationships between work and performance physiology with ergonomics (work science) and sports science , especially training science . The research areas relate to the laws governing the procurement of energy for physical work, i.e. the absorption of oxygen and its transport and processing as well as the organs that are responsible for these functions. These are lungs , cardiovascular system and muscles. Their structure, structure and mode of operation are examined, also under different environmental conditions (e.g. changes in the oxygen partial pressure in water, altitude and space ) as well as the mechanisms of adaptation to these conditions. The changes in the organism and the adaptation mechanisms through maturation and aging are also examined.

The examinations are carried out using the methods of physiology .


The subject of biomechanics is the study of the interactions between biological structures and the mechanical mechanisms that act on them during movement. This applies to all tissues in the body, both solid and liquid, including individual cells.

Basic research

Basic research deals, for example, with the investigation of movements that would theoretically be possible due to the variety of anatomical structures and how these are restricted by other structures such as capsules, ligaments, tendons and muscles as well as by their location and type of fixation (reduction of the Degrees of freedom).

A special focus is the investigation of the muscle, its fine structure, its trainability and the necessary methods as well as the mechanisms of energy supply and storage. For this purpose, comparisons are made with the muscles of animals, for example the leg muscles of kangaroos - these can store more energy and the kangaroos therefore continuously make great leaps. In addition, injury mechanisms and their healing conditions are examined.

Another focus of biomechanics is to develop and improve methods for measuring and evaluating one's own examinations and to standardize reference values ​​and nomenclature.

Main research areas

Biomechanics is used in ergonomics ( ergonomics ). Here, the conditions of work processes are examined in order to define stresses that occur on the one hand during work that on the other hand can be carried out by the body structures of the working person without this being damaged. The main task of biomechanics is to examine the construction of the equipment - tools and machines - to determine how far they are compatible with the biological conditions of the person working with or on them and, if necessary, to adapt them better to one another (human-machine system) or to develop replacement systems - lifting support, robots.

Problem areas here are the spine (back problems - standing for long periods of time, carrying and lifting heavy objects) and the neck-shoulder-arm area (problems that occur in office and packing activities, for example carpal tunnel syndrome). One tries to find norms which determine the limits of the stress in the processes and which must then be adhered to by the employers.


In orthopedics , on the one hand, the movements of people are generally examined (recorded and analyzed). This is done on the one hand in order to understand the processes and how movements occur in principle, but above all so that the causes of disorders with subsequent change processes in the body or its parts can be found and possible healing or compensation mechanisms can be developed. Furthermore, implants that support and improve the patient's movement and can alleviate pain are developed, tested and improved. There are z. B. also developed measuring devices that measure the forces within the joints and thus serve as a feedback for development and improvement. The same applies to prostheses (see, for example, gait analysis ) and orthotics.


The area of rehabilitation in biomechanics consists of a clinical part, which largely overlaps with orthopedic biomechanics (implants, prostheses, orthotics). Aids and procedures are being developed to promote recovery processes after injuries or wear and tear (for example treadmill therapy and the walking trainer for paraplegics and stroke patients) and investigated how they can be optimally combined with other therapeutic measures (for example functional electrical stimulation). Gait analysis is an extensive area of ​​application, especially for children with cerebral palsy. Here, the biomechanics help with the decision for therapeutic measures.


Another important area is sport , especially competitive sport. In addition to the biological examinations mentioned, the interaction between the athlete's organism and the equipment he uses are examined. You then try to optimize the devices. This is done in such a way that, on the one hand, they comply with international rules and, on the other hand, provide the individual athlete (height, weight, body shape, individual coordination preferences) with the greatest possible advantages.

Tissue (bio) mechanics

In the mechanics of body tissues, the tissues of the body that play an important role in movement (these are primarily the bones and joints, the muscles, tendons, ligaments and aponeuroses, but also the skin and the individual cells of these tissues) examined for their mechanical properties.

Their anatomical structure and their possibilities to generate forces themselves (muscles) or to tolerate forces acting on them without being injured or destroyed (all tissues) are of interest. This applies to all types of forces (for example tension, pressure, torsion and their combinations) and all directions of forces. Furthermore, it is investigated with which methods and with which intensity (e.g. through training ) the mechanical properties of the tissue can be improved.

It is also examined how the tissues behave in the event of injuries and / or illnesses, which treatment methods are successful under these circumstances and how the tissues can restore themselves - whether they can then regain their original structure and their mechanical properties, for example.


Also in the dentistry plays Biomechanics an important role, because relatively large forces here from different directions to body structures. By finding and correcting malpositions at a young age, for example, later damage can be avoided. Optimal solutions are sought for existing malpositions. With the aging of the population, materials for prostheses are sought that meet the requirements better and better.

Forensic Biomechanics

Biomechanics is also gaining in importance in research into the causes of accidents (forensic biomechanics). Here one learns more and more to infer the causes of the accident from the manifestations of the consequences of the accident (e.g. places of injuries, forms of fractures and tears).

The information processing sub-disciplines

Movement control

The task of movement control is to organize and activate all structures of the human organism in such a way that the goal of a planned movement or action is achieved in the most economical way possible or the organism is protected from damage through stabilization or an effective compensatory movement. In order to be able to achieve this, careful control processes are required in the organism. These control processes for the individual movements are not naturally present in humans. Rather, they have to be built up during the learning process of this sequence of movements. But this also happens without any advice from the teacher, because the organism always strives for the highest possible security.

Movement learning

By moving ever-changing perception of the environment is one in which living things is. The living being then has to decide whether this change in perception was caused by the movement or whether the environment has changed. If the environment has changed, the living being must adapt to the new environment. It then often happens that new movements have to be carried out in order to stabilize the organism again. The organism must therefore be able to constantly learn new movements.

The organism itself also changes: growing up, maturing , aging , changes also occur due to new stresses (work, sport ), but also due to a changed diet . The organism's movements must also adapt to these changes.

Such adjustments are also known as learning . Movement learning therefore takes place constantly. It is particularly noticeable in childhood and is particularly important there because at this point in time the basics of the networking of cells in the brain take place, which are later also necessary for cognitive performance. In addition, there are desired changes in exercise behavior, for example in work and leisure ( sport , art ), which are often achieved through targeted measures ( teaching , lessons ).

The task of the movement sciences is to analyze, accompany and optimize learning processes in the field of motor skills, as well as to develop and review teaching processes.

Information processing

The importance of these control processes for human movement was recognized around the same time - in the 1960s - both in the former Soviet Union (and from there it came to the former GDR) - and in the USA - as part of the change in psychology from the theory of behaviorism to information processing in humans. This happened in both countries through increased collaboration between engineers and movement scientists.

The information processing in the human organism consists of the sub tasks of the signal pick-up (by the sense organs ) of signal line (via the afferent nervous system) and the signal processing (in the neurons of the brain) and the output of the signals for the movement (via the efferent neural system) to the Muscular system .

Control mechanisms

The control mechanisms are based on this information system. The term motion control comes from engineering and means the ability of a system to discover deviations and / or errors that arise during the execution of a process and to correct them independently. Understanding them requires knowledge of the technical principles of control. Human movements are controlled unconsciously.

Movement control in the human organism takes place on several levels, from the manageable reflex control in the spinal cord to the control of complex movement sequences via the cerebellum and basal ganglia .

Understanding movement control in living organisms requires not only a technical understanding of control mechanisms, but also a deeper understanding of the neuronal interconnections of the nervous system , which is able to perform the necessary tasks. Erich von Holst and Horst Mittelstaedt's work on the principle of reactivity can be viewed as a good introduction to understanding these processes . With the help of this text, a deep understanding of feedforward and feedback systems will be developed.

Since living organisms are self-organizing biological systems , researching their function in humans requires, on the one hand, the appropriate technical knowledge and, on the other hand, knowledge of the neurological structures that make these functions possible.

Neurological structures

To understand how the movement of a living organism occurs and how it proceeds, it is necessary to know not only the structure and function of the muscle ( hardware ), but also that of the nervous system ( software ). The task of the motor systems is to plan, coordinate and execute movements.

A local distinction is made between the central (brain and spinal cord) and the peripheral (mainly conduction pathways) nervous system and, with regard to control, between the voluntary and the involuntary or autonomous nervous system. The arbitrary system is required for movement - the autonomous one works in the background, but influences all actions.

Structure and function of the motor neuron
Motor neuron with its main components

The basic unit of the nervous system is the nerve cell ( neuron ). On the one hand, it is a normal body cell with all its properties and capabilities. However, it is specially trained for its special task: taking in information (from dendrites through the receptors in the cell membrane ), processing it (in the internal organelles) and, if necessary, forwarding it (through the axon). The receptors on the cell membrane, to which transmitters located in the extracellular fluid can bind, are already important for information processing . There are mainly two types of receptors: The ionotropic ones, through which information can quickly change the action potential of the cell and thereby pass the information on quickly . These are important for current movement planning and execution. The second type are the metabotropic receptors, which use various intermediate steps to direct the information to the cell nucleus, where it is incorporated into the DNA and can thus contribute to long-term changes, i.e. to learning processes . The information is passed between the nerve cells via the nerve cell extensions - to the cell body via the dendrites, from the cell body away from the axon. The transition points from the axon to the next neuron (dendrite or cell body) form the synapses where information is transmitted chemically (transmitter) or electrically (cell body) . The axons are wrapped in a fatty cell layer, the myelin sheath , to accelerate the transmission through electrical insulation .

Structure of the nervous system from a motor point of view

In the peripheral nervous system , afferent and efferent nerves (axons) can be distinguished. The afferent nerves carry the information to the center - spinal cord, brain structure - but also from the sensory organs to the primary nerve cells. Efferent nerves are the axons from the nerve cells to the successor organs ( muscles or glands ). In the central nervous system, this distinction does not make sense because circular processes often take place, i.e. transmitted information via other nerve cells has an effect on the originally transmitting cell.

Representation of the right cerebral hemisphere according to a longitudinal section, with individual functional areas

From the point of view of movement control, the central nervous system can be divided into the spinal cord , the brain stem with elongated medulla (medulla oblongata), bridge (pons) and the midbrain, the diencephalon with thalamus, hypothalamus, subthalamus and the epithalamus. The cerebrum arches over it, the two halves of which are connected by what is known as a bar. Beneath the cerebral cortex (gray matter), which contains the nerve cells and a complex of conduction pathways (white matter), there are other structures that are of great importance for movement control, such as the basal ganglia , the cingulate gyrus (between the cerebral cortex and bar - it also fulfills Tasks of emotionality) and the limbic system that contains many cores for emotions and values. The cerebellum , which is located behind the pons, is also particularly important for controlling movement .

Control tasks of the individual brain sections

The control systems for human movement are structured both hierarchically and in parallel. This ensures that, on the one hand, energy is saved, as processes can be called up and executed more quickly at lower levels, while more complex and new tasks are processed at higher levels. In addition, if smaller system parts fail, the parallel structures can be used in order to still achieve desired and necessary goals. Therefore, there are different tasks of movement control that are dealt with on different levels.

a. Spinal cord .

In the spinal cord, the reflexes of the trunk and extremities are controlled and monitored, as well as rhythmic automatisms such as walking and scratching. Reflexes are not, as has long been assumed, rigid, which means that they always proceed in the same way, rather they can be modified and modulated, even if, as with the hamstring reflex, it is a monosynaptic one (that is, it is only over a single motor neuron switched in the spinal cord) reflex. This one neuron not only receives the stretch signal from the muscle, but also signals via many other dendrites, for example directly from the primary motor cortex . If interneurons are switched on in the reflex, the possibilities of influence are correspondingly greater.

b. Brain stem .

The brain stem connects the functionally different structures of the cerebrum and the spinal cord. It lies behind and below (caudal) the cerebrum and above (rostral) the spinal cord. It consists of the midbrain ( mesencephalon ), the bridge ( pons ) and the elongated spinal cord ( medulla oblongata ). It mainly contains nerve connections and nerve cords (tracts), for example the corticospinal tract (motor system), the medial lemniscus tract (sensory system) or the spinothalamic tract (for pain, touch and temperature sensation) as well as nerve nuclei.

The brain stem is responsible for the unconscious states of preparing for action, and communicating with other individuals. He has far-reaching controlling tasks in the areas of motor skills , vegetative states but also cognitive functions. Together with the spinal cord, the brain stem can be viewed as a kind of toolbox for the neural networks, because it contains the basic repertoire for the concrete preparation, execution and control of all motoric actions.

This is possible because all strands of information - descending (efferent) and ascending (afferent) - run through the brain stem between the cerebrum and the spinal cord, and other important information is added. This is where the messages coming from the cerebrum and those fed back from the spinal cord, those coordinated by the cerebellum and the information from the cranial nerves from the sensory organs of the head and the vital processes in the organism meet and are integrated into one another. The numerous nerve nuclei serve for this integration work (these are clusters of numerous neurons that work together to fulfill certain tasks and are connected to one another by far-reaching and reciprocal branches and connections).

Control loops of motor skills

c. The subcortical motor centers ( cerebellum and basal ganglia )

The cerebellum and basal ganglia are the two large subcortical motor systems, both of which communicate through the thalamus to different areas of the cerebrum and are responsible for different controls of movement.

The cerebellum . (Cerebellum) is a very old part of the brain. As with the cerebrum, the cortex (Latin = cortex) and the nerve cells form the outer shell of the cerebellum. It encloses the 3 deep cerebellar nuclei, the output information for the information with the nerve lines . The cortex contains 7 leaves in the horizontal direction (Latin: folium = leaf), in the vertical direction in the middle the vermis and laterally adjoining each part the spinocerebellum and the cerebrocerebellum . The oldest part is the vestibulocerebellum , which lies horizontally below the overall formation.

The vestibulocerebellum , as the name suggests, is connected to the vestibule, the center of balance, and is primarily responsible for maintaining balance. A dysfunction of this part of the cerebellum leads to balance disorders when standing and moving.

The cerebellum also has the task of evaluating discrepancies between the planning (intention, goal) of a movement and its current execution, and to supply the motor centers of the cerebrum and the brain stem with the information necessary for a compensation. In order to be able to do this, it is itself provided with intensive information about the goals of the movement, the commands for their execution (from the primary motor area of ​​the cerebrum), as well as all feedback information from the sensory organs about the movement in progress. Specifically, the vestibulocerebellum is responsible for regulating balance and eye movements, the spinocerebellum for the movements of the entire body and limbs, while the cerebrocerebellum carries out the evaluation through feedback from all sensory organs about the current movement and provides corresponding information the responsible bodies ensure that the plan and execution are aligned. To control movements, the cerebellum works intensively with eye movements, ears (sense of balance), the reticular system and the spinal cord.

Functional disorders or injuries to the cerebellum lead to typical disorders of movements, especially to ataxia (lack of coordination), for example when walking. The Dysmetria leads to tremors as the hands that hypermetria for overshooting the goal of hypotension to a lack of resistance to a change in the placement of limbs.

The basal ganglia . consist of four nuclei ( striatum , globus pallidus , substantia nigra , nucleus subthalamicus ), which are arranged in pairs around the thalamus . They are connected to different areas of the cerebrum , thalamus, and different nuclei of the brain stem by numerous nerve lines. The connections are parallel circular connections that start from specific areas of the cerebral cortex and run back to their starting area via the basal ganglia nuclei and the thalamus. 5 such circles can be identified, two of which are almost purely motoric, one starts in the limbic area.

The basal ganglia represent the crucial place from which the movement sequences are activated and then coordinated in the brain stem, [39]

The striatum receives information from almost all parts of the cerebrum. That means it is also involved in planning movements. After appropriate processing, signals are passed on from the striatum to the globus pallidus and the substantia nigra , from which they reach the thalamus and from there to the exit areas in the cerebrum . Signals from the neurotransmitter dopamine from the substantia nigra have an inhibitory effect on the stimulating signals from the cerebrum, i.e. modulate the cerebral signals.

The subthalamic nucleus receives - mostly excitatory - information from all areas of the cortex that are responsible for movement ( primarily motor , premotor , supplement motor areas and the frontal eye fields) and sends signals to the globus pallidus and the substantia nigra , which in turn are transmitted via the thalamus send their signals to the exit areas. It also receives modulating (dopamine) signals from the substantio nigra (compact part) and the limbic system. Its output signals go to the cerebrum via the thalamus .

The movements are triggered by the output signals from the pallidum (globus pallidus internus), the output formation from the basal ganglia to the brain stem . Under rest conditions, these trigger commands are prevented by strong inhibitory (tonic inhibition) control commands. In order to trigger the sequence of movements, this inhibition (through dis inhibition ) must be lifted by neurons in the entrance formation of the basal ganglia, the striatum .

The globus pallidus is thus the most important output part of the basal ganglia for the movement of the limbs. In addition to the brain stem, it sends information to the cerebral areas via the thalamus . Through the latter, there is the possibility of indirect influence on the motor commands from the primary motor cortex to motor neurons in the spinal cord .

These intensive connections make it clear what an important role the basal ganglia play in controlling movements - both for planning and execution as well as for their emotional accompaniment and assessment. It also makes it clear how serious injuries or dysfunction of the basal ganglia are.

The most well-known disease caused by a dysfunction of the basal ganglia is Parkinson's disease . In her, the dopamine release from the substantia nigra to the globus pallidus is reduced. This leads to the characteristic disturbances in movement (slowing down of movements (bradykinesia); stiffness of the muscles (rigor); tremors (tremor); shuffling gait).

Another serious movement disorder is Huntington's chorea , in which there are jerky movements ( chorea ) to tremors and writhing movements of the limbs ( dystonia or athetosis ). Huntington's disease also often means that motor behaviors cannot be reconciled with the social context. This indicates that the basal ganglia are also responsible for cognitive aspects of movement.

d. Motor control functions through areas of the cerebral cortex

The pyramidal cells in the primary motor area of the cerebral cortex provide direct control of voluntary movements . It forms a direct connection, the pyramidal tract ( corticospinal tract ), to the motor neurons in the spinal cord . This is a very fast connection. After running through the inner area of ​​the cerebrum (inner capsule), most of these nerve fibers cross at the base of the medulla oblongata (elongated medulla) on the other side of the body. This means that the muscles on the right side of the body are innervated and controlled by the motor cortex in the left cerebral hemisphere. After crossing, the nerve fibers run in the white matter of the spinal cord (conduction pathways) and enter the gray matter of the spinal cord at the level of the spinal column that innervates their target muscles. There they branch out. One part forms synapses on interneurons, which control the trunk muscles and the parts of the limbs near the trunk via their signals to the motor neurons. Another part goes directly to the motor neurons, whose axons lead to the muscles of the limbs distant from the trunk and in this way control the fine hand and finger muscles, for example.

In addition to the pyramidal tract, two other nerve tracts run from the primary motor cortex to the motor neurons in the spinal cord . One of them, the tractus corticorubrospinalis , is switched in the nucleus ruber (red nucleus), the other, the tractus corticoreticulospinalis in the formatio reticularis in the pons and the medulla oblongata. Both support the control of the muscles distant from the trunk and those close to the trunk. However, you can also partially replace it if the pyramid track fails.

The feedback of the motor commands takes place directly through the sensory signals from the innervated muscles (via their change in length - to be more precise, via the speed of the change in length - and their tension), from the sensors of the connective tissue surrounding them and from the sensors that determine the current position of the entire body are important. This feedback can be processed at different levels ( spinal cord , brain stem , subcortical centers) - this means the comparison between the commands issued as a result of the planning and the result of the current execution. In this way, an ongoing movement is constantly monitored online. There is no need to become aware of these processes.

The commands that go from the primary motor cortex to the motor neurons have - with a few exceptions (emergencies) - previously run through various control loops. On the one hand, the sensory inputs from the outside world and those from the internal world of the organism are tracked and coordinated. To do this, they are brought into harmony with the intentions and plans of the acting person. The latter occurs in other areas of the cerebral cortex (planning, for example, in the prefrontal cortex; motor preparation mainly in the subcortical centers - the brain stem, cerebellum and basal ganglia , which convey their information via the thalamus to the somatosensory cortex).

The aim of movement control is always to achieve a desired movement target or simply to maintain the current position, for example against disturbances and / or resistance.

Injuries to the nervous system and their consequences for movement

Injuries to the nervous system can also potentially manifest themselves in disorders of movement functions. The cell bodies themselves, the ducts or the myelin sheaths (sheaths / insulation) of the ducts can be affected by injuries . Injuries to the nerve bodies can be caused by malnutrition, violence or tumors . They lead to the destruction and death of the nerve cells - including their conduction pathways and vice versa: If a pathway is severed, the nerve cell from which it originated will perish - unless the target area, for example a muscle, is sprouted again is achieved. Nerve bodies cannot regenerate. The consequence of such destruction is the loss of their function. If the destruction only affects individual nerve cells, their function can be taken over by neighboring nerve cells. Neighboring cells can also be repurposed. If the destruction affects a larger area, permanent malfunctions or even their complete loss can occur. If motor areas are affected, which is often the case, movement disorders occur.

The best-known frequent cause of serious movement disorders are paraplegia (transection of the spinal cord), stroke (stroke), the Parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis (MS).

When the spinal cord is severed ( paraplegia ), mainly the conduction pathways, both the afferent (leading to the brain) and the efferent (leading to the successor organ, for example the muscles) are destroyed, but also nerve cells at the level of the severing. The transection can be incomplete or complete. In the case of a complete transection, the muscles that are innervated by the motor neurons below the transection are no longer reached from higher centers, which means that they are no longer contracted, and the sensitive information from these areas is no longer available. If the severance is incomplete, individual perceptions and movements are still possible. Rehabilitation is partially possible in these cases. In the case of complete cross-sections, it has not yet been possible to restore the natural functionality. However, depending on the severity of the transection, survival of these patients is usually guaranteed by today's treatment options with an acceptable quality of life (see article on paraplegia ). Since the motor neurons are no longer connected to the brain below the severing of the spinal cord, but are not destroyed, the reflexes can be preserved and trained. Maintaining their function is important so that the muscles remain functional and the joints do not stiffen. Training the reflexes is also important for improving the circulatory function.

The most common clinical picture of the destruction of nerve cells (neurons) in the cerebrum is stroke (apoplexia cerebri). Malnutrition - arteriosclerotic clogging of the arteries supplying the blood ( cerebral infarction ) - or acute bleeding (primarily hemorrhagic insult) destroy entire functional areas of neurons. Because of this, the corresponding functions - cognitive and motor - are lost. (see article stroke ). In and after the acute phase, attempts are made to prevent other nerve cells in the vicinity of the lesion from perishing. Exercise training then tries to activate preserved nerve cells in order to replace some of the lost functions by re-functioning neighboring cells.

The same functional disorders or failures can occur in traumatic brain injuries . With this type of injury, cerebral haemorrhage is triggered by mechanical influences, which leads to contusions and destruction of brain sections. Depending on the location of the destruction, the functions that are mainly activated by the affected regions (e.g. speech or certain movements) fail. You cannot regenerate.

For the rehabilitation of all these injuries, treatment as quickly as possible is necessary, as well as intensive exercise therapy in the further course.

Parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis are among the most well-known common diseases of the nervous system .

Parkinson's disease usually develops at an advanced age when the dopamine- releasing nerve cells in the pars compacta of the substantia nigra perish. This leads to the typical movement disorders (for example akinesia ( lack of movement - slowing down of all movements, small steps, shuffling gait) and rigor (stiffness, increase in muscle tone)).

While Parkinson's disease leads to movement disorders that are typical for the disease, this is not the case with multiple sclerosis , since the disease does not occur in a specific area of ​​the brain but can affect all nerves (axons).

This disease is a progressive destruction of the myelin sheaths , the sheaths (insulating layers) of the nerve tracts, triggered by inflammatory processes . Therefore, all areas of the central nervous system can be affected. The destruction of the myelin sheaths slows down and even blocks the nerve signals, so that their functions can no longer be carried out adequately, incorrectly or not at all. When the disease is advanced, the musculoskeletal system is also affected.

Intensive exercise therapy is necessary and helpful for both diseases.

Psychomotor behavior

The area of ​​psychomotor behavior has partly developed from teaching movement sequences for students or athletes. The methods of research come mostly from psychology . The behavioristic ( behaviorism ) procedures are in the foreground. This means that essentially the visible behavior of the learner is recorded and measured. The data obtained from this can be used to assess the development of the quality of a movement, for example. However, if these examinations are repeated at certain time intervals, conclusions can be drawn about neural processes during execution and their possible changes. A focus of research in this area is the investigation of the feedback (for example its form and its time in relation to the execution of the movement) on the following execution and especially on the learning process.

The purely psychological part of this area relates to the influence of the individual psycho-emotional state of the person who moves. His individual movement development (movement experience) play a role here, but also his general development of knowledge and experience. Genetic conditions play a role here, but also the current emotional state of the person examined. An attempt is made to describe the regularities of these influences, to assess their impact on future designs and to develop, apply and check possibilities of the influence of measures in these areas on an athlete or a disabled person.

Sociology of movement and sport

While movement psychology deals with the laws of individual history and the state of mind of the person who moves, the sociology of movement deals with the influences on the movement of a person through social, cultural, built and political environmental characteristics. On the one hand, there is the current environment, for example the fact whether he is moving alone or in a group. It is also investigated whether the movement behavior (visible and from the perception of the person moving) depends on whether the person is in a group of known and / or sympathetic people or in a group of strangers and / or unsympathetic people. The influence of viewers (known and / or strangers) is also of interest. These questions apply equally to everyday movements and prescribed movements, for example in professional life and in sports.

Furthermore, it is examined how cultures and traditions - also in combination with the influencing factors already mentioned - affect physical activity and its execution. This applies, for example, to cultural activities such as sport, for example the type and performance of sports (competitions, tournaments, rules) and dances (ritual and ballroom dances). This also applies, for example, to the forms of greeting and - (rituals, especially the military greeting rituals), but also, for example, to writing techniques. The question of the interactions between all these factors and the personality of the person who moves is always of interest.

The research methods in this area are those of sociology and that of the historical sciences.

The results of research in this area reflect the development of cultures and are of cultural historical interest.

Examination of a test person's footprint with the help of a force plate

Definition of sports science in Germany

Movement science defines itself as a research area and academic teaching on human movement and has developed to a part from the movement theory of physical exercise . She is a lovely historical interdisciplinary scale integration Science and z. B. an important sub-discipline of sports science, which is both fundamental and application-oriented. It deals with topics and problems from the area of movement in the broader sense that are viewed in an external or internal aspect. On the one hand, these are observable products ( movements and postures ) and, on the other hand, the overall system of internal processes that cause movements. In this respect it overlaps with sports psychology , sports education , sports sociology and sports medicine .


In contrast to most of the other sub-areas, kinetics has no so-called mother science to orientate itself on. Initially, the theory of movement should provide insights and knowledge about forms of movement and movement techniques for the design of learning and teaching , later it developed into an independent discipline. For the application-specific area use the term today is Bewegungslehre common. The field of biomechanics, with its scientific and technical orientation towards the quantitative recording of physical activity, is today a largely independent theoretical field that increasingly includes topics traditionally associated with movement theory and sports motor skills in its research. Structuring takes place in Germany between external and internal aspects, whereby various names are common:

External aspect Interior aspect
Outside view Inside view
Foreign view Self-sight
Move Sensorimotor skills
Product area Process area
External biomechanics Internal biomechanics

External aspect

In the external aspect, a movement or posture is explained as an appearance and change that can be observed in space and time . Movement can only be adequately regulated if certain starting positions are guaranteed by an appropriate posture of the body and limbs . Both functions are inextricably linked. A posture has to be flexible in order to be able to keep the advancing movement in every moment .


  • Description, explanation and order of movement techniques and movements
  • Development and improvement of assessment criteria for movements (movement analysis)
  • Analysis of movements
  • Investigation of the development of motor skills and abilities in the life span
  • Description and explanation of motor performance differences
  • Provision of sports motor tests for competitive, school, popular or health sports

Interior aspect

In the inner aspect, all internal processes are examined that make a perceptible movement possible in the first place. Above all, coordinative control and conditional functional processes are analyzed, which is summarized under the term motor skills. The motor skills control body movements (target motor skills , teleokinetic motor skills) and postures (support motor skills, ereismatic motor skills). It works together with emotional and motivational are and sensory and cognitive processes, so that also examines the interrelations (see sensorimotor, psychomotor , socio-motor skills, sensorimotor or specialized areas of motor skills science ).


  • Determination of the laws of motor control and motor learning
  • Description and explanation of differences in motor performance
  • Analysis and explanation of motor change processes (motor learning, motor development in the life span)
  • Determination of goal , purpose and meaning
  • Development and improvement of diagnostic methods for motor skills
  • Investigation of the importance of movement as a fundamental dimension of human behavior
  • Development of principles , methods and techniques for teaching and learning processes in sport

Ways of looking at things

Perspectives in movement science

In connection with the scientification various concepts and perspectives emerged with the result of a differentiation and specialization. In the development of movement science, four approaches have particularly prevailed: the biomechanical, the holistic, the functional and the ability-oriented approach.

Biomechanical approach

Biomechanical model of the skeleton and muscles

Biomechanics as a sub-discipline of biophysics examines the structures and functions of biological systems using the terms, methods and laws of mechanics . In the biomechanics of sport, the human body, its range of motion and movement are the subject of scientific investigation. With the help of biomechanical measuring methods , the movement is broken down into location , time, speed , angle and force characteristics. Measurement methods such as force measurements, motion capture or electromyography are used. For a long time the focus was on the external aspect of movement. The main goal was to develop a theory for the formulation of cross-sport biomechanical principles such as the principle of the optimal acceleration path or the principle of initial force. Another goal was to model people who do sports with regard to motor behavior, body structure and the identification of performance-determining parameters. In the meantime, the inner aspect of movement is increasingly being investigated, such as bioelectrical muscle and reflex activities or the material properties of the human body.

  • Tasks: Objective and quantitative description and explanation of athletic movement techniques
  • Methods: Mechanical, electronic and optical measuring methods, modeling
  • Areas: According to the measuring method, a distinction is made between: Mechanics with kinematics , dynamics , statics and kinetics

Holistic approach

The Horse in Motion (1878).

In contrast to the empirical- analytical (for example biomechanical, ability-oriented) approaches, the focus here is on the holistic view of movement and not its breakdown into individual parts. A movement is therefore more than the sum of its individual components.

The movement coordination includes not only the co-ordination of movement phases , power pulses and neurophysiological function processes but also a purposeful coordination of the different levels of control of the central nervous system occurring sub-processes. The system dynamic approach and connectionism consider the internal aspect and are mainly characterized by a very theoretical orientation. The morphology, which examines the external aspect, i.e. the pure observation of a movement, is designed to be very practical and is of great importance for sports practice. Morphology is generally regarded as an elementary holistic approach and is particularly relevant for movement analysis.

The main characteristics of holistic approaches are:

  • Subject-relatedness: The subjective world of experience of the individual should be made the basis of scientific research and theory formation. Reference should be made to a) an actor who is the subject of the movement, b) a concrete situation in which the movement action is integrated and c) a meaning that guides the movement action and makes its structure comprehensible. So it is not physical measured values ​​such as space, time and force that are relevant, but their subjective perception . In the holistic approach, these form the basis for scientific analyzes.
  • Intentionality: Movement behavior is not to be seen primarily as a result of objective causes, but rather as behavior determined by subjective purposes. Final declarations are given absolute priority over causal declarations. The question is not “Why does someone behave this way or that way?” But “What is he doing this way or that way?” This means that causal explanations such as in behaviorism or biomechanics are rejected. An explanation of the shot put by the crooked throw or the explanation of a sporting movement with biomechanical principles would therefore be inappropriate.
  • Pedagogical orientation: The pedagogical orientation is particularly relevant for the morphology. It is completely absent in connectionism and in the system-dynamic approach.
  • Qualitative view: The presence of qualitative features is a consequence of the requirement for a subject-related approach. However, it is a simple approach to qualitative research that would not meet the requirements of social science, for example . A movement in qualitative movement research is described in certain terms such as fast, slow, accelerated, decelerated, even, uneven, restless, insecure, shaky, tense, loose, springy, fluid, angular, rhythmic.

The importance of the individual points for the various holistic approaches is very different.


Investigation of the technique of throwing a javelin with the help of serial photography.

The morphological movement analysis breaks down sporting movements into directly perceptible features of the external shape or shape and examines their relationships. Only the externally visible part of a movement is considered. Invisible parts of the movement such as forces , physical laws or internal control processes are not examined. The morphological examination is often the first stage of the analysis of a movement in competitive sport , in the everyday life of a teacher or trainer it is often the only one. In addition to simple observation , there are methods that partially objectify the movements, such as video and images.


Connectionism is an approach taken from cybernetics and deals with the behavior of networked systems based on the amalgamation of artificial information processing units. Behavior is understood as the product of a large number of interacting components that mutually influence one another. With the aid of artificial neural networks consisting of an apparent is chaos arising system order simulated. According to connectionism, motor skills are subject to highly networked processing processes in the brain that work in parallel .

The main features are:

  • Information processing in the brain is extremely parallel and distributed.
  • There is no central control instance.
  • With the help of artificial neurons, the functioning of information processing in the brain is simulated on a computer.
  • Artificial neural networks have the ability to learn.

Connectionist models offer interesting solutions for the following questions, among others:

  • What role does the brain play in executing movements?
  • How does a coordinated movement even come about?
  • How can we remember the many different movements we have learned?
  • Why do you forget some motor skills, such as B. Not cycling?
  • Do I learn a movement better if I repeat it many times in a row, or do I need variety while learning?

System dynamic approaches

The self-organization of complex systems is examined using system-dynamic approaches . The biologically inspired concepts are based on the assumption of massively distributed parallel processing processes. The central idea is emergence , which means that the interaction of individual components creates something that cannot be derived from the properties of the individual components involved. This new quality is not imposed from outside, but is achieved in a self-organized manner.


Motology is the study of the relationship between movement and psyche. It is a new, personality- and holistically-oriented science that emerged from psychomotor skills, the subject of which is human motor skills as a functional unit of perception, experience, thinking and action.

The focus of motology is the question of how holistic body and movement work can support people in their development and healing. It deals with all age groups: with children and adolescents, adults and the elderly. As an educational or therapeutic concept, it is represented in many institutions under the term psychomotor.

Gestalt theory

Gestalt theory: images that are completed by the brain.

The Gestalt theory is a psychological theory that investigates the formation of orders and patterns in the perception of individual parts. The whole is assigned a higher importance (oversummativity) than “only” the sum of its individual parts. If necessary, the brain completes missing parts, it separates between important and unimportant, or is able to transpose, that is to say to transfer to another level. The Gestalt theory deals with questions such as "Why do you recognize shapes in cloud clusters?", "How do you differentiate between object and background?", Or "How can a series of tones become a melody?" Transferred to sports science, Gestalt theory means that a movement is more than just individual parts executed one after the other.

Functional approach

In the functional approach, human movement is viewed as a goal-oriented action with a different focus. Each individual phase of the movement represents a purposeful, meaning-related achievement for coping with given situations or problem constellations (task and environmental conditions). Due to the different focus and perspective, the functional approaches require a wide range of research methods such as external and internal biomechanical measurement methods, Reaction time studies or psychological research methods.

  • Action theories are aimed at the psychological inner aspect and the overall organization of movement and take a broad perspective (see also determinism and Wolf Singer ). A fully functional thinking is assumed, which is primarily applied to the psychological inner view (see intentionality ).
  • Functional analyzes are directed towards the external aspect and relate to the abstract tasks and technical forms of sport. They pursue narrowly defined, detailed theoretical explanations.
  • Information processing approaches are concentrated on the internal aspect and deal with the different types of motion control and regulation such as open-loop or closed-loop feedback .
  • Modularity hypotheses also focus on the internal aspect of movement.
  • Psychomotor
  • Sensorimotor skills

Skill-oriented approach

The ability-oriented approach focuses on the inner aspect of movement and is empirically-analytically oriented. Internal motor performance requirements and, based on these, individual performance differences are researched, described and explained. The quality of control and functional processes is represented by the five basic motor skills endurance , strength , speed , agility and coordinative skills . Their empirical analysis is carried out using sports motor tests such as the Vienna coordination course (WKP).

See also


  • Rainer Wollny : Movement Science: A textbook in 12 lessons . 2nd Edition. Meyer & Meyer, Aachen 2010, ISBN 978-3-89899-183-4 .
  • David A. Winter: Biomechanics and Motor Control of Human Movement . Wiley, J, New York, NY 2009, ISBN 978-0-470-39818-0 , pp. 1 .
  • D. Wick (Hrsg.): Biomechanics in sport - textbook of the biomechanical basics of sporty movements. 2nd Edition. Spitta, Balingen 2009.
  • Kurt Meinel, Günter Schnabel, Jürgen Krug: Movement theory sports motor skills . Meyer & Meyer Sport, Aachen et al. 2007, ISBN 978-3-89899-245-9 .
  • Heinz Mechling, Jörn Munzert: Handbook of movement science - movement theory . Hofmann, Schorndorf 2003, ISBN 3-7780-1911-2 .
  • Norbert Olivier, Ulrike Rockmann: Basics of movement science and theory . Hofmann, Schorndorf 2003, ISBN 3-7780-9111-5 .
  • Klaus Roth, Klaus Willimczik : Movement Science . Rowohlt Verlag, Reinbek bei Hamburg 1999, ISBN 3-499-18679-9 .
  • Anne Shumway-Cook, Marjorie H. Woollacott: Motor Control - Translating Research into Practice . 3. Edition. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia 2007, ISBN 978-0-7817-6691-3 .
  • Heidrun H. Schewe: Movement Sciences . Part I: attempting a system. In: Physiotherapy. 5 (1996), pp. 663-668.
  • Heidrun H. Schewe: Movement Sciences . Part 2: Attempts at a system. In: Physiotherapy. 5 (1996), pp. 668-676.
  • Roland Hacker: Physical ergonomics. Publishing house Dr. Köster, Berlin 1998, ISBN 3-89574-380-1 .
  • Holger Luczak, Walter Volpert (Hrsg.): Handbook of ergonomics . Schaeffer-Poeschel Verlag, Stuttgart 1997, ISBN 3-7910-0755-6 .
  • Alexander McNeal, A. Vernon: The Mechanics of Hopping by Kangoroos. In: Journal of Zoology. 2, 1975, pp. 265-303.
  • Richard, A. Schmidt: Motor Control and Learning. 2nd Edition. Human Kinetics Publishers, Champaign, Illinois 1988, ISBN 0-931250-21-8 .
  • Carl Diem : World history of sport and physical education. Cotta'sche Buchhandlung Nachf., Stuttgart 1960.
  • Ronald G. Marteniuk: Information Processing in Motor Skills . Holt, Rinehart & Winston, New York 1976.
  • Heidrun H. Schewe: The human movement . Thieme Verlag, Stuttgart 1988, ISBN 3-13-706901-7 .
  • Eric R. Kandel, James H. Schwartz, Thomas M. Jessel: Principles of Neural Science. 4th edition. McGraw-Hill Companies, New York 2000, ISBN 0-8385-7701-6 .
  • Michael J. Zigmond, Floyd E. Bloom, James L. Roberts, Story C. Landis, Larry R. Squire: Fundamental Neuroscience . Academic Press, San Diego 1999, ISBN 0-12-780870-1 .
  • Dale Purves, George J. Augustine, David Fitzpatrick, Laurence C. Katz, Anthony-Samuel LaMantia, James O, McNamara: Neuroscience . Sinauer Associates Publishers, Sunderland, Massachusetts 1997, ISBN 0-87893-747-1 .
  • Nikolai Aleksandrovic Bernstein: The Coordination and Regulation of Movement. Pergamon Press, London 1967.
  • Alexandra Reichenbach, David W. Franklin, Peter Zatka-Haas, Jörn Diedrichsen: A dedicated Binding Mechanism for Visual Control of Movement. In: Current Biology. 24. 2014, pp. 1–8.
  • Diana Burk, James N. Ingram, David W. Franklin Michael N. Shadlen, Daniel M. Wolpert: Motor Effort Alter Changes of Mind in Sensorimotor Decision Making. In: PLOS one. 9 (3), 2014, p. E9281.
  • Luigi Acerbi, Daniel M. Wolpert, Sethu Vijayakumar: Internal Representations of Temporal Statistics and Feedback Calibrate Motor-Sensory Interval Timing. In: PLOS Computational Biology. 8 (11), 2012, p. E100277.
  • Daniel M. Wolpert, Zouban Ghahramani, Michael Jordan: An Internal Model for Sensorimotor Integration. In: Science. 269, 1995, pp. 1880-1882.
  • K. Roth: Investigations on the basis of the generalized motor program hypothesis. In: O. Meijer, K. Roth (eds.): Complex Movement Behavior: The Motor-Action Controversy. North-Holland, Amsterdam 1998, pp. 261-288.
  • James Gibson: The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception. 1979. (German: Perception and Environment. Urban & Schwarzenberg, Munich 1982, ISBN 3-541-09931-3 )
  • JA Kelso, BA Tuller: A dynamical basis for action systems. In: MS Gazzaniga (Ed.): Handbook of cognitive neuroscience . Plenum Press, New York 1984, pp. 321-356.
  • PN Kugler, JAS Kelso, MT Turvey: On the concept of coordinative structures as dissipative structures. 1. Theoretical line. In: GE Stelmach, J. Requin (Ed.): Tutorials in motor behavior. North Holland, Amsterdam 1980, pp. 3-37.
  • M. Kawato, Kazunori Furukawa, R. Suzuki: A Hierarchical Neural-Network Model for Control and Learning of Voluntary Movement. In: Biological Cybernetics. 37, 1987, pp. 169-185.

Web links

Portal: Sports Science  - Overview of Wikipedia content on Sports Science
Commons : Biomechanics  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Heidrun H. Schewe: Movement Sciences . Part 1: Physiotherapy 5. 1996, p. 664.
  2. Holger Luczak, Walter Volpert (Ed.): Handbuch der Arbeitswwissenschaft . Schaeffer-Poeschel Verlag, Stuttgart 1997, pp. 368-400.
  3. ^ Anne Shumway-Cook, Marjorie H. Woollacott: Motor Control - Translating Research into Practice. 3. Edition. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia 2007, ISBN 978-0-7817-6691-3 , p. 4.
  4. a b c d e f Rainer Wollny: Movement Science: A textbook in 12 lessons. 2nd Edition. Meyer & Meyer, Aachen 2010, ISBN 978-3-89899-183-4 , p. 19.
  5. ^ David Winter: The Biomechanics and Motor Control of Human Movement. Wiley, J, New York 2009, ISBN 978-0-470-39818-0 , p. 1.
  6. ^ Carl Diem: World history of sport and physical education. Special edition. European Book Club, Stuttgart 1960.
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