Biomechanics

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Usain Bolt surprisingly synchronised his steps with Tyson Gay (left) when he broke the world record at the 12th IAAF World Championships in Athletics in 2009. AAP/Christophe Karaba

The secret to Usain Bolt’s speed may lie in synchronicity

Synchronising his steps with the next fastest runner may have helped Usain Bolt win the world record in the 100 metre sprint.
Record breaking. EPA/Christophe Karaba

Can a human ever run 100m under nine seconds?

It is never easy to run 100m in less than ten seconds, as the recent Commonwealth Games demonstrated. However, as the world record stands at 9.58 seconds, the attention in recent years has turned to whether…
Javelin throwers make it look easy, but there’s more to the action than you might think. David Davies/PA Wire

Science of the spear: biomechanics of a javelin throw

The Commonwealth Games women’s javelin finals were held overnight, with Aussies Kim Mickle and Kelsey-Lee Roberts picking up gold (plus a Games record) and bronze respectively. Seven-time British champion…
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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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? 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? 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…

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