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Biomechanics

Analysis and Comment (16)

Cyclists in the Monash Wind Tunnel are able to measure the effects of their gear on wind resistance. Cyclists in the Monash Wind Tunnel are able to measure the effects of their gear on wind resistance. Monash University

The aerodynamics of a Tour de France time trial

As the Tour de France approaches its final days, teams will be looking to place their top riders in the best possible position for the all-important individual time trial in the penultimate stage, where…
Australia’s Cate Campbell transitioning from the on-block phase to the flight phase of a swimming start. Australia’s Cate Campbell transitioning from the on-block phase to the flight phase of a swimming start. EPA/Juanjo Martin

Take your marks … the science behind the perfect swimming dive

The swimming events of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games are among the first on the schedule. Australia and the UK tend to do quite well in the swimming events – as does Canada – so it’s an excellent opportunity…
Nick Kyrgios' blistering serve has attracted the attention of tennis fans around the world. Nick Kyrgios' blistering serve has attracted the attention of tennis fans around the world. AAP/Julian Smith

Smashing success: the science behind Kyrgios' serve

A big serve proved its value as part of Australian wild card Nick Kyrgios’ game yesterday, with 37 aces in his fourth round Wimbledon victory over world number one Rafael Nadal. Kyrgios, the first player…
Mo Farah ‘tip toeing’ last year. Mo Farah ‘tip toeing’ last year. Anthony Devlin/PA

Is there an optimum style for running the marathon?

Most of the brave and hardy runners in Sunday’s London Marathon will have put themselves through a lengthy training programme to build up strength and stamina as well as physical and mental fitness. They…
Following the leader has its benefits. Following the leader has its benefits. Markus Unsöld

Doing maths on the fly, birds form V for efficiency

Across the globe, hundreds of species of birds can be seen flying in V-formations. We have long suspected that these formation might help birds fly with less effort. Yet the precise mechanics have remained…
Simple, yet so effective – a fish’s swimming motion removes the trade-off between stability and manoeuvrability. Simple, yet so effective – a fish’s swimming motion removes the trade-off between stability and manoeuvrability. Mell P

Mullet over: how robotics can get a wriggle on with fishy locomotion

Teaching a robot to walk – even poorly – requires huge investment into computational resources. How is it that even the simplest animals are able to achieve far more sophisticated feats of manoeuvrability…
How can fast bowlers, such as Australia’s Mitchell Starc, minimise the likelihood of injury? How can fast bowlers, such as Australia’s Mitchell Starc, minimise the likelihood of injury? AAP//Dan Peled

Fast bowlers can reduce injury risks and inflict pain in the Ashes

Another Ashes cricket series is upon us and, once again, all the talk is about who has the most potent bowling attack. But, of course, injuries can thwart the best laid plans – so how can biomechanics…
Andy Murray’s coach Ivan Lendl (left) has led the Scot to great success … so what makes a great coach? Andy Murray’s coach Ivan Lendl (left) has led the Scot to great success … so what makes a great coach? EPA/Barbara Walton

Keep your eye off the ball: the secrets of elite tennis coaching

Every January the Australian Open attracts the world’s best tennis players to Melbourne in a bid to become champion of the Asia-Pacific Grand Slam. While the players are undoubtedly the main draw card…
Ceilings on physical ability are there – sometimes – to be broken. Ceilings on physical ability are there – sometimes – to be broken. EPA/Hannibal

Is there a limit to athletic performance?

We once thought no-one could run a mile in less than four minutes – and yet the current world record stands at three minutes, 43 seconds. So will records keep tumbling as people get fitter and technology…
Shane Perkins is just one of the Australians going for gold at the world championships. Shane Perkins is just one of the Australians going for gold at the world championships. AAP Image/David Crosling

Track Cycling World Championships – the making of modern sprinters

Today in Melbourne the 2012 UCI Track Cycling World Championships get underway. Results from the five-day competition will determine which riders represent the various national track cycling teams at the…
Last year’s Australian Open women’s runner-up Li Na in action at the Sydney International this week. Last year’s Australian Open women’s runner-up Li Na in action at the Sydney International this week.

Australian Open: returning a 200km/h serve is easy when you know how (but not really)

Australia’s summer of tennis is a great opportunity to see the world’s best players up close, hitting hard and serving big. Many elite players hit first serves at over 200km/h with great precision and…
With more than 3,000 kilometres to cover, technique is only part of the equation. With more than 3,000 kilometres to cover, technique is only part of the equation. Nicolas Bouvy/EPA

The science of elite cycling: Tour de France (stages 1 to 11)

This weekend, approximately 200 of the world’s best cyclists will begin competing in one of the most challenging sporting events in the world: Le Tour de France. Le Tour is widely regarded as the most…
It’s important to change your running style to adapt to running without shoes. It’s important to change your running style to adapt to running without shoes.

Sole survivors: the secret to barefoot running

There’s a growing interest in barefoot running, especially in relation to running long distances. Research articles, opinion pieces, and websites have argued both for and against the efficacy of running…
The AFL set-shot is as much about consistency as it is about the right technique. The AFL set-shot is as much about consistency as it is about the right technique. AAP/Martin Philbey

Centimetre-perfect: a quest for flawless goalkicking in the AFL

When the AFL has a weekend of inaccurate goal-kicking, media attention invariably turns to why set-shot goal-kicking hasn’t improved while other areas of footy have. As a footy fan, I have an interest…

Research and News (3)

Research Briefs (1)

Bigger doesn’t always mean faster

Larger animals with longer legs aren’t always the fastest when sprinting, but then neither are smaller animals. Researchers…