31670 - Theory and Methodology of Human Motion

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2019/2020

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course, students will have the basic knowledge required to analyse and describe the mechanical effects of muscle activation in the kinetic chain; they will know the principles of skilled human performance, the basic elements of the analysis of physical fitness and the relationship between qualities, physical abilities and motor activity.

Course contents

Module I

Terminology used to describe movement

Definitions. Function of movement. Reference axes and planes.

Components and structure of movement

Postural schema (stations and attitudes)

Basic motor schema

Dynamic motor schema

Skilled motor performance

Principles of skilled motor performance

Motor abilities: motor coordination abilities and physical performance capacity

Motor skills

Mechanics of movement

Types of movement (linear, rotational, curvilinear)

Units of measure

Composition and decomposition of forces, in particular musculo-skeletal forces


Properties and structure of muscle

Mechanism of contraction

Types of muscle contraction

Metabolic processes related to muscle action

Neurological bases of movement

Role of central and peripheral nervous systems in control of movement

Proprioceptors and reflexes

Motor learning

Methodology relating to movement for specific purposes

Methods and techniques of evaluation of movement in various motor and sporting activities

Motor activity and physical fitness

Organization, programming, and role of exercise in physical education, rehabilitation, fitness and sports training

Module II

Analysis of human movement

Definition of human movement

Study methodology and didactic integration with use of literature, using PubMed

Kinesiological axes and planes

Kinetic relationship between muscles and joints

The forces involved in the production of the movement

Influence of gravity on muscle contraction

Centre of gravity and support polygon

Kinetic chains (open and closed)


Biological levers

Joint physiology

Properties of joints (mobility, stability, confricabilità, proprioceptivity)

Detailed examples: shoulder, hip, knee, ankle

Functional and structural postural alterations

Postural evaluation, both manual and using new technologies

Practical exercises

Analysis of the movements of the human body and kinesiological evaluation of exercise; examination of static and dynamic posture, kinesiological “stations” and “attitudes”.


Teaching materials made available online and notes taken during classes.

Suggested supplementary texts:

A.I. Kapandji - Anatomia funzionale (3 volumes). Maloine-Monduzzi

F. Casolo - Lineamenti di teoria e metodologia del movimento umano. Vita & Pensiero

B. A. Gowitzke , M. Milner - The scientific basis of human motion human - second ed. EMSI – ROME

R.A. Schmidt and C.A. Wrisberg - Apprendimento motorio e prestazione. Società Stampa Sportiva

Teaching methods

Module I


Module II

Lectures. The first part of the lesson is dedicated to explaining the topic in the program. The teaching part is always integrated with practical demonstrations supported by video and photographic material. At the end of the lesson time is always reserved for students’ questions and further clarifications concerning the topics discussed.

Practical group exercises

Practicals are undertaken by students divided into three groups. Each group participates in 4 practicals of 2 hours each.

They are held at the “Garden Sporting Center”, Rimini.

The timetable for practicals will be announced by the lecturer during classes.

Assessment methods

The student must pass a preliminary exam to register for the final exams of the integrated course 72562.

Written preliminary exam to test knowledge of:

  • definitions of movement terminology
  • description of a figure (global posture and alignment, and relative position and movement of body segments, holds, movements of single joints)
  • analysis of axes and planes of movement of a figure

Final written exam to test knowledge of material not tested by the preliminary exam, and to check students' comprehension of various aspects of the subject and their interconnections.

Theory and Methodology of Human Movement I (duration 90 minutes)

  • Part 1 – Multiple choice quiz (18 points)

The student must respond correctly to a minimum of 12 questions in order to obtain the maximum score. Marks will be reduced in proportion to the number of incorrect responses.

  • Part 2 – open response questions (18 points)

The student can obtain the maximum score by answering three questions (3 x 6 marks) from a choice of six. If the student attempts to answer more than three questions, the three best responses will be used to calculate the final marks.

Theory and Methodology of Human Movement II (duration 45 minutes)

The test includes two parts:

  • Part 1 – Multiple choice quiz (15 questions)

Each correct answer is evaluated 1 point and serves to evaluate the general learning of the subject.

  • Part 2 – open response questions (3 questions)

Each answer is evaluated from 1 to 5 points based on the completeness, critical ability and ability of the student to individualise their answer.

Teaching tools

Module I

Lessons will be accompanied by visual aids.

Module II

The lessons are always accompanied by video and photographic material. Educational material (including anatomical models/skeleton) is used when necessary.

The use of bibliographic search engines is illustrated, using PubMed as an example (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/).



Any students with specific learning difficulties are requested to contact the lecturer as early as possible, to discuss possible modifications or additions to teaching materials, as well as assessment methods.

Office hours

See the website of David Neil Manners

See the website of Francesco Pegreffi