Biomechanics, Exercise Physiology, and the 75th Anniversary of RQES

Article excerpt

The purpose of this paper is to review the biomechanics and exercise physiology studies published in the Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport (RQES) over the past 75 years. Studies in biomechanics, a relatively new subdiscipline that evolved from kinesiology, first appeared in the journal about 40 years ago. Exercise physiology studies have been published in RQES throughout its history. Studies in both subdisciplines reflect areas of research that were of great interest at the time of their publication. Many of the leading scholars, past and present, in both biomechanics and exercise physiology were authors of papers in RQES.

Key words: kinesiology, movement science, sport


Research laboratories in exercise physiology already existed when The Research Quarterly was first published in 1930. Although today's students may find the techniques used in many of the early studies crude, they represented state-of-the-art technology at the time they were published. Kinesiology studies were also published in the early issues of The Research Quarterly. The newer subdiscipline of biomechanics evolved from kinesiology. Both exercise physiology and biomechanics/kinesiology studies have been published throughout the history of the journal. This paper first reviews the area of biomechanics and then the area of exercise physiology.


The stated mission of the Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sports (RQES) is "to publish refereed research articles on the art and science of human movement, which contributes to the knowledge and development of theory, either as new information, substantiation or contradiction of previous findings, or application of new or improved techniques" (American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, n.d.). As a subarea of the broad discipline of movement sciences, publications focusing on biomechanics certainly meet this mission. However, in exercise or movement sciences, biomechanics is a relatively new discipline. The field has developed largely in the last 35-40 years emerging from other disciplines such as kinesiology, anthropometry, and physiology. Today, the term biomechanics means different things to different audiences. The American Society of Biomechanics (n.d.) has defined biomechanics as "the application of the laws of mechanics to animate motion." Another definition proposed by the European Society of Biomechanics (n.d.) is "the study of forces acting on and generated within a body and the effects of these forces on the tissues, fluid or materials used for the diagnosis, treatment or research purposes." Within biomechanics one can find multiple subdisciplines that include, for example, tissue engineering, fluid mechanics, muscle mechanics and modeling, human factors, as well as movement science. This paper will discuss the broad issue of the development of biomechanics and how this development relates to the number and types of articles that have appeared in RQES.

Biomechanics Societies and Organizations

Over the last 30 years, several organizations that incorporate biomechanics as the major focus have been organized. The International Society of Biomechanics (ISB) and the American Society of Biomechanics (ASB) were formed in 1972 and 1976, respectively. Instrumental in the organization of both societies were Richard Nelson of The Pennsylvania State University and James Hay of the University of Iowa. Both of these distinguished scientists have published in RQES. ISB holds a congress every 2 years, while ASB holds one every year. Also, in the early 1970s the Canadian Society for Biomechanics (CSB) was formed, with a principal focus on human locomotion. CSB held meetings every 2 years and in later congresses broadened the scope of the meeting. Each of these organizations published extended abstracts within their proceedings giving researchers an outlet for the work presented at these conferences. …