Friday, July 2, 2010

Exploring the Body with Books - kinesiology live and in colour

After hearing so much about kettlebell swings or presses or squats, ever wondered how our bodies support these movements? How muscels, joints and tendons combine with nerves and blood supply to get it going? Me too. So wanted to offer a few pointers to some of the references i really enjoy for exploring body movement, and in particular to highlight a new one to me, the Atlas of Living and Surface Anatomy for Sports Medicine -(US Link || UK link). I'll come back to that one in a sec.
Atlas of Living & Surface Anatomy for Sports Medicine with DVD
The Power Three In writing about the shoulder last week, i referenced a couple of the anatomy/kinesiology books i like like, including the trail guide to the body and the Anatomy of movement, but especially the manual of structural kinesiology - the latter being in about it's zillionth edition.

Manual of Structural KinesiologyWhy i personally enjoy the Manual of Structural Kinesiology so much has to do with its design elegance and economy: it's a thin book that lies flat but is remarkably well packed with focused information, great illustrations and photos, and fabulous tables summarizing joint action, planes of motion, neves involved (why do i have to keep going to wikipedia to get the femoral arteries providing the blood supply to these limbs?)

The amount of information packed into this book is also fabulous, and make learning about the interconnections of body movement highly tractable. The exercises at the end of each chapter really do make testing whether i've learned anything from a chapter about joint type or specific joints a real and valuable reality check. Surprisingly, the book has the best discussion of first, second and third class levers in the body i've encountered. It's surprising how much one slim volume can do well. It also well-models analyses of all the main joints involved in physical movements from push ups to pull ups. IF one has any questions about what closed and open chain movements after this, well, read again.

Anatomy of Movement (Revised Edition)Anatomy of movement in contrast has fabulous line drawings and a greater focus on exploring exactly the relationship of movements to the joints of the body whether that's leaning back looking at the stars, or where our forearms most comfortably rotate when seated. By using recognizable movements, it also helps translate ideas like the various planes of motion, and what happens if a muscle isn't there. In fact a strength of the book is that illustrations of the movement go right beside descriptions of joint action.

What the book does not have is the kind of analytic summative pages of movements as in the Manual, but it does go into more detail it seems about the small muscles of the hands head and feet.

Trail Guide to the Body: How to Locate Muscles, Bones, and More (3rd Edition)Trail Guides to the Body likewise is without the summative tables, but is designed more particularly to help someone get hands on with the body and feel the movement of the joints doing their work. Hence the notion of trail guides: to find various physical milestones for boney bits, for instance, and likewise to find what are the optimal positionings of a limb to be in to feel or palpate where a particular muscle is.  Even so, i still have a dickens of a time separating out the adductors.

example of surface anatomy labelling 
(not from the Atlat; the Altas is WAY better )

When you just want to be Skin Deep. The book that is really blowing me away - that is fitting into an exact niche that has been missing at least for me in these other texts - including the Trail Guides -  is this aptly named "atlas of living and surface anatomy." That is, it's great to see drawings of the musculature, but since we usually deal with people in their bodies, it's useful to get a sense of what all the bits and bumps actually translate to under the flesh. The Manual of Structural Kinesiology does offer photos of people in various positions with labels of what we're seeing underneath BUT NOT ENOUGH - at least not for me.
cover art from The Atlas of Surface Anatomy illustrating the quality of the image content

The Atlas not only shows real photos of real bodies labelled, but, taking it up a notch, shows photos of real bodies under the skin. The kind,  wonderful people who have let their bodies be used for study are presented here. These folks are science heroes for sharing their reamains with us. Thank you.

Coordinating layers of Representation. It's a remarkable thing to be able to see how the various muscle tissues that in texts are highlighted abstractly in red or blue, actually just run together, not unlike white and red meat. TO be able to map x-rays to cadavers to abstract drawings is a potent combination. Some of the photos that show the real and delicate tracery of the nerves under the skin in particular especially contribute to making the physical real.   Many muscle, manipulation and palpation tests are included. Like the Manual for structural kinesiology - but here illustrated in color - we also get charts of what normal ranges of motion are for all limbs discussed. Now where's a goniometer?? A google book preview is available for the text, though not the images

I have some greater confidence now of coming to grips with where the teres major is looking at one's shoulder blade. I am making sense of the flat bits of the trapezius, that from drawings i had taken to be more full. The short head of the bicep, and the insertion of the pec major all have had "ah ha moments." I can imagine the Big Desk version of this book including pictures of peopel of various heights, weights and ages for each of these postures being the Delux learning resource.

Atlas of Human Anatomy, 4th EditionOther than Anatomy. Each of these more kinesiology-oriented books listed here, just for information, is quite different from a raw anatomy text like the amazing Netter's Anatomy. While beautiful to have for a deep reference of drilling down and into the body, the book does not provide analysis of movements supported by the limbs described. The text is rather an innert presentation.

That said, such an anatomy text is that: a full bore presentation of anatomy examining where all the tissue rests, from eyeball lenses to kidney dissections. Its concern is beyond the particular scope of movement. While important to have (and know) to put the whole body at least in context, for movement study, i do not find it as helpful as the above texts.   I'm still looking for an ultimate general physiology/anatomy text, if such a beast exists. Netter is beautiful and perhaps classic.

Summary If you are interested in getting more out of getting into how the body moves, these books are each recommended - they complement each other really well, but if you want to oh ah yourself, the Atlas is a great eye-openner - especially if you don't have a whack of bodies at your disposal to prod with a copy of any of these beside you.

1 comment:

RJ said...

Just ordered the Living and Surface Anatomy book.As A massage therapist I need something more than Trail Guide to help me know what I'm palpating.I'll let you know if it's the answer for me. Thanks for your reading list. I have about 300 books and videos. Can't get enough! Rick Johnson LMT


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