Neuromechanics of Movement


Course Objective

- The student is able to explain the principles of neuromechanics and
the mechanisms of the different subsystems of the motor system involved.
- The student is able to describe the possibilities and limitations of
the state-of-the-art experimental methods and analytical approaches.
- The student is able to identify and critically evaluate scientific
papers on neuromechanical topics.

Course Content

In this course, students are introduced to the principles of
neuromechanics, current knowledge about its main components and the
methods applied to study it. Besides interactive lectures, this will be
achieved through reading of the primary literature, presentation of
ideas, and scholarly discussion with classmates and experts in the
field. To produce coordinated movements, skeletal muscles, sensory
receptors and the central nervous system need to interact. This involves
the bi-directional transformation of information between neural
structures and the musculoskeletal system. Neuromechanics is the study
of such interactions and transformations that give rise to coordinated
movements. Questions addressed are for example, what is the relative
contribution of musculoskeletal and neural mechanisms in the regulation
of limb stiffness, how do such contributions change with environmental
conditions, motor learning, disease or ageing. By addressing topics that
are currently studied, the student will also learn about the research
performed at the Department of Human Movement Sciences.

Teaching Methods

The course consists of a series of lectures and workshops, which are all

Method of Assessment

The exam of this course is based on a journal club paper (70%) and
presentation (30%) about a self-selected scientific article that
includes neuromechanics research.

Entry Requirements

For this course, we expect that the students have basic, BSc degree
level knowledge and understanding of musculoskeletal anatomy,
biomechanics and (neuro)physiology. It is the responsibility of the
students to fill gaps in knowledge, using for example:
• Human Anatomy. E.N. Marieb, P. Brady Wilhelm & J.B. Mallatt
(Eds.), Pearson Higher Education, 8th edition (2016), Chapters 1, 4, 9,
10 & 11.
• Kinetics of Human Motion. V. M. Zatsiorsky (Ed.), Human
Kinetics, 1st edition (2002), Chapters 1-5.
• Biomechanics of Skeletal Muscles. V. M. Zatsiorsky, B.I.
(Eds.), Human Kinetics, 1st edition (2012), Chapters 1-3.
• Physiology of Sport and Exercise, J.H. Willmore & D.L. Costill
(Eds.), Human Kinetics, 6th edition (2015). Chapters 1-3.
• Neuroscience. D. Purves et al. (Eds.), Sinaur Associates INC.
5th edition (2012), Chapter 16.


The reading material consists of scientific papers, which will all be
specified in the course manual.

Target Audience

The course is an optional part of the Research Master program
Fundamental and Clinical Human Movement Sciences and Master program
Human Movement Sciences: Sport, Exercise & Health, but also open to
students from other master specializations provided that the entry
requirements are met. Within the above described Research Master program
there are links to the courses Neurosciences, 3D Kinematics, Biophysics
of Locomotion and Mechanical and Adaptive Myology. As students learn
about the research opportunities within the Department of Human Movement
Sciences and can explore self-selected research areas, this course is an
ideal platform for finding a topic for their research internship.

General Information

Credits 3 EC
Period P5
Course Level 500
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Fac. of Behavioural and Movement Science
Course Coordinator dr. H. Maas
Examiner dr. H. Maas
Teaching Staff dr. H. Maas

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Teaching Methods Lecture, Seminar*

*You cannot select a group yourself for this teaching method, you will be placed in a group.

Target audiences

This course is also available as: