Biomotor Abilities in Physical Movements

Almost all physical movements incorporate, to a certain extent, the elements of force, quickness, duration, complexity and a range of movement. Further, one may distinguish individual motor aspects as well as physiological components like strength, speed, endurance and co-ordination. From the training point of view, there will likely be more interest in perfecting the athlete via these physiological components, more commonly referred to as biomotor abilities, rather than in perfecting the skill.
The ability of an individual to perform an exercise is considered to be the cause, white the movement itself is just the effect. Therefore, the ability to control the cause in order to perform a successful effect is required. The biomotor abilities which are the foundations of a cause are largely genetic, or inherited abilities. Therefore, in this chapter one’s ability to perform an exercise will be referred to as a basic, natural ability and the outcome of the combination of certain biomotor abilities. Although flexibility is not a natural ability but rather an anatomical quality of the locomotor organ, it will also be considered since it has high importance in training.
A biomotor ability is strongly linked with and dependent upon its quantitative sphere, where the magnitude of the strength, speed, and endurance levels limit physical work given the qualitative demands. Each exercise has a dominant ability, and when the ioad is maximized it is called a strength exercise. When in a given exercise quickness and high frequency is maximized it is called a speed exercise. Furthermore, when distance, duration or the number of repetitions is maximized one is exposed to an endurance exercise. And finally when in a given exercise a high degree of complexity is required it is known as a co-ordination exercise. However, in training an exercise is rarely dominated by only one ability. Rather a movement is often the product or combination of two abilities. As illustrated by figure 99, 
99. An illustration of the interdependence between the biomotor abilities.

when strength and speed are almost equally dominant, as in jumping and thro wing, events in athletics, or spiking in volleyball, the product is called power. Furthermore, the combination of endurance with strength produces muscular endurance (swimming, canoeing, wrestling and others). The product of endurance and speed (events around 60 seconds) is often called speed-endurance or endurance of speed, while in some sports the highly acclaimed agility is a combination of speed, power and co-ordination. And finally, when agility and flexibility join together the result is called mobility, or the quality of performing a movement quickly, well timed and co-ordinated throughout a wide range of movement (in diving, floor exercises in gymnastics, karate, wrestling, and learn sports).

100. A graphical illustration of the relationship between the main biomotor abilities, where strength (a), speed (b) and endurance (c) are dominant (from Florescu et at., 1969).

Among strength, speed and endurance there is a relationship of high methodical importance. During the initial years of involvement in training, all abilities have to be developed in order to build a solid foundation for specialized training. This latter phase is specific, to national level and elite athletes whose program aims for a precise, specialized training effect Thus, as a result of employing specific exercises, the adaptation process occurs in accordance with one’s specialization. For elite class athletes the relationship between the magnitude of strength, speed and endurance, as the three more determinant and difficult to develop biomotor abilities, are dependent upon the particularities of the sport and the athlete’s needs. Figure 100 illustrates such a relationship, where in each example strength or force (F), speed (S), or endurance (E) is dominant. In each case when one biomotor ability is strongly dominant the other two do not share or participate to a similar extent. However, the above example is just pure theory, which may only be directly applied to a very few sports. In the vast majority of sports the combination between the three biomotor abilities leads to a different outcome in which each ability has a greater input Figure 101 exemplifies a few sports where the circle represents the dominant composition between strength, speed and endurance.

101. The dominant composition between the biomotor abilities for various sports.
The contribution of the biomotor abilities to the attainment of high performance is determined by two factors:
1.    the ratio between them as a reflection of the specifics of the sport; and.
2.    by the level of development of each ability according to its degree of participation in performing the sport/event.
Therefore, the appropriate selection of the means of training to meet the needs of the sport is crucial. This refers to both the selection, in relationship to the dominant composition of biomotor abilities, and phase of training. The exclusive utilization of technical elements or specific skills leads to a correct composition of abilities, but the improvement of each ability to the required level of high performance is slow. The ratio of such a development is much higher when the biomotor abilities are developed by employing specific exercises.
The development of a biomotor ability is very specific and related to the method employed. However, even when a dominant ability is developed (eg., strength); it has an indirect effect upon the other abilities (speed and endurance). Such an effect depends strictly on the degree of resemblance between the methods employed and the specifics of the sport. Thus, the development of a dominant biomotor ability may have a positive or negative transfer. When one attempts to develop strength there may be a positive transfer to speed, and to a certain degree evern to endurance. On the other hand, a weight training program designed to develop maximum strength may have a negative transfer to the development of aerobic endurance such as the one required in marathon running. Similarly, a training program aiming exclusively to develop aerobic endurance, under certain circumstances (i.e., training for marathon) may have a negative transfer to strength and speed, while specific training for speed always has, what Florescu et al (1969) calls a “neutral effect”
In the area of biomotor abilities there is a vast amount of information referring to both the scientific foundations and the methodology of their development. The methodology of developing the biomotor abilities concerned training specialists for centuries. The first information regarding these abilities were written in the methodical literature (Uhov, 1875; Lagrange, 1892; Schmidt, 1925; Novikov, 1941 and others) and only later on did the physiologists attempt to investigate them. Since such an enormous amount of information exists, and considering the objective and size of this book, this chapter will be reduced to a minimum possible size. However, the area which will be stressed in particular is the practical or methodical area which may be the most beneficial to a coach.
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