Kinesiological approach as methodology of modern sports science and practice


Dr.Hab., professor L.I. Lubysheva1,2
Associate professor, Ph.D. A.I. Zagrevskaya2
1Russian State University of Physical Culture, Sport, Youth and Tourism, Moscow
2Tomsk State University, Tomsk

Keywords: methodology, meta-scientific knowledge, kinesiology, sport science, sportization.


Fast progress of many modern sports is coming to the focus of new theoretical models striving to analyze and comprehend this social phenomenon. Many scholars apply different philosophical and ideological concepts and revise the traditional visions and interpretations to explain the reasons for the radical changes in the beliefs and traditional thinking models as to the modern athletes, athletic competitions and their governing principles and the general attitudes of people to physical culture. In our past research works we have made attempts to explore the problem of how the available knowledge base could be integrated into the modern physical culture theory under development and tried to analyze the culturological fundamentals of modern sports. Of special interest for the scholars in their attempts to explain the growing demand for sports in the modern society are the toolkits of the science called “kinesiology” that may be viewed as the meta-science focused on the knowledge of the human motor activity.

Objective of the study was to give scientific grounds for methodology of the kinesiology-based approaches in the sport science and practice.

Study results and discussion

Kinesiology is a relatively new research subject, education discipline and therapeutic preventive practice (known as applied kinesiology) that emerged on the junction of many sciences including sport medicine, physiology, morphology, biomechanics, bio-ergonomics, sport training theory and recreational physical culture. The new science has been rapidly recognized by the specialists mostly for its ability to integrate on a new basis the available scientific knowledge of the human movements and motor actions, the knowledge development being of special interest for medical specialists in biological sciences; and for different education specialists, including tutors, teachers, coaches, social workers; law-enforcement service specialists and, on the whole, for everybody who is not indifferent to own health, health of his/ her children and to the nation’s health in general (V.K. Bal'sevich, 2009).

It was N.A. Bernstein who used to say that “movements live and develop” and was the first to note that the research of the developmental motor system transformations in man and the motor function evolutions in the animal phylogenesis are of extraordinary high promise and benefit for science. Pursuant to the methodology-setting line of the N.A. Bernstein’s creative heritage, V.K. Bal'sevich took efforts to shape up a new integrative scientific and technological branch of knowledge geared to study the fundamental regularities of developmental motor system transformations in man. Knowledge of these regularities is expected to give the means to develop non-contradictory nature- and society-harmonizing technologies for improvements in different phases of the human ontogenesis and in multiple forms of physical activity. V.K. Bal’sevich referred to this area of kinesiology as the “human ontokinesiology” [1].

As things now stand, a few branches of kinesiology are being actively developed, including the applied kinesiology, onto-kinesiology, sport kinesiology, education kinesiology and pedagogical kinesiology (Table 1).

Table 1. Main branches of kinesiology under development at present

Branch of kinesiology

Research subject

Research goals and mission

Leading researchers and developers

Applied kinesiology explores interrelations of muscles, meridians and organs to detect and correct different disorders

Influences of motor actions on the physiological systems of a human body

Improve health based on the knowledge of its interrelations with the mental, emotional, moral and spiritual aspects of human existence

D. Gudhardt,

P. Dennison,

G. Dennison et al.,

I.R. Shmidt,

J. Shafer

Sport kinesiology strives to design an optimal motor action/ technique model


Sport motor activity

Improve the sport motor skills mastering technologies based on their semantic image being integrated with the visual and kinesthetic images

N.A. Bernstein,

V.B. Korenberg,

V.K. Bal’sevich,

H.H. Gross et al.

Educational kinesiology makes an emphasis on the interrelation of motor activity with the cognitive domain of a personality

Application of the kinesiology-based tools and technologies in education process

Develop individual abilities for education, including improvements of the reading/ writing skills, memory, thinking patterns etc.

H.H. Gross

D. Gudhardt,

P. Dennison,

G. Dennison

V.N. Irhin,

O.V. Pol’shikova et al.

Ontokinesiology focused on nature- and society-harmonizing mobilization of the human kinesiological potential

Fundamental regularities of the developmental motor activity transformation in man

Improve the human motor action performance at different stages of human ontogenesis

N.A. Bernstein,

V.K. Bal’sevich

Pedagogical kinesiology based on a socio-cultural theory of motor actions

Psycho-semantics of action-control consciousness

Semantic design of motor activity

H.H. Gross,

Yu.K. Gavardovskiy,

S.V. Dmitriyev,

D.D. Donskoy,

V.L. Utkin

It is the philosophic interpretation of the kinesiology-generated knowledge that effectively unites all the above branches of kinesiology.

“Kinestase” means the philosophical category that refers to the body movement being realized by a man in his/her consciousness. To put it in other words, kinestase, as precisely defined by M.M. Ibragimov, means the internal thirst for movement predetermined by nature or God, for the reason that everything in nature and human life is subject to changes [2].

Kinesiology may be defined as a science designed mostly to explain the close interrelations between muscle movements and a human spirit.

In a broader sense, kinesiology is normally interpreted as a science focused on movements and impulses of feelings, thoughts and muscles of a human being. As far as sport philosophy is concerned, kinestase means mostly the spiritual sources of body physical activity viewed as an integral part of the universal cosmic order. Modern philosophers tend to believe that a sense of any sport activity is to objectify the vital power of the human spirit in terms of its bodily creative workability (M.M. Ibragimov, 2014). An athlete may be viewed as an essentially self-sufficient human living a full-blooded life and never feeling inferior or deprived in the world. He or she feels that the world is personified in him/ her. Sport experience helps accumulate the treasures of the historic and traditional spiritual and body-improvement practices. An athlete needs to keep his feelings within a reasonable frame both to get effectively prepared for the upcoming sport events and to suppress instinctive aspirations for the momentary benefits. Sport philosophers tend to believe that too high aspirations of an athlete for objective material success in sport may undermine the primary natural intention of the human consciousness and the latter may soon be substituted by the animal survival instincts.

Therefore, we can only support the notion of M.M. Ibragimov who said that when it comes to sales of sport talents, it effectively means that their sport careers are coming to an end. A developing human being is always in the process of self-identification going through tests and trials throughout his life. Nobody can shape up as a fully-fledged and self-sufficient person unless finds his/her true mission in and service to the human society. An elite athlete is normally a highly developed and motivated personality since he/ she is always on the crossroad to either success or defeat, and the first thing he/ she has to do is to learn how to cope with the joy from the wins and frustration from the defeats on the way. Sport mission provides an athlete with ample opportunities to acquire these indispensable self-control qualities. Any sport activity is associated with extreme pressures that make the athlete take high efforts mobilizing both the spirit and body. Sport activity normally models different conflict situations and makes the physical, mental and ethical health of the athlete subject to harsh tests. In every sport discipline health risks are rapidly growing with the growing speeds, more and more complicated performance techniques and growing requirements to the artistic performance qualities. By encouraging more and more extreme and high-risk performance models and standards, sport applies to and exposes extremes in the human feelings. And it is a great challenge for sport scientists to explore human capacities that may give the means to comfortably adjust to and exist in the world of modern sports.

It should be mentioned in this context that sport science has already achieved some success in highlighting the methodology development avenues that may be of promise for the sport theory and practice coming closer to the effective employment of the kinesiological resources of a human nature. Having reconsidered the traditional standards of the training process structuring and management, we feel the need for an innovation paradigm for sport science with due consideration for the kinesiological knowledge and, in our opinion, it is the kinesiological approach that could become a key methodological instrument of modern sport science.

In the ontological terms, the kinesiological approach will be based on the ideas of anthropo-cosmism, noospheric thinking (developed by V.I. Vernadsky, V.N. Sagatovsky, K.E. Tsiolkovsky et al.) and on the notions of pedagogical anthropology on the integrity and indivisibility of the spiritual and biological aspects of the human nature; on the unity of general, specific and unique aspects in every human being; and on the balanced integration of the intellectual, ethical and physical qualities in its development process (as provided by the works of P.F. Lesgaft, N.I. Pirogov, K.D. Ushinsky); the process being designed on the principle of harmony with nature through the humanity in human nature being mobilized; and through developing communication, understanding and dialogue fostering tools being applied in the education/ training and development process to create favourable conditions for self-discovery and self-improvement based on the kinesiological potential being mobilized to help the person make success in the selected social role and professional activity.

In the axiological terms, the kinesiological approach will be based on the cultural-and-historical development concept by L.S. Vygotskiy that assumes that the natural human psychical functions transform to the superior-development-level cultural functions in the process of the human civilization values being learnt and adopted by the person, including the values of the physical culture domain; on the ideas of P.F. Lesgaft on the psycho-physical unity of a human nature and the priority of thinking process in motor action performance patterns; on the humanity-centred mission of culture that covers and shapes up the spiritual and physical development content of the physical culture systems that are formed based on the cultural-harmonization principle through conscious physical culture and sport activity of a person being developed with an emphasis on the culture-driven transformations of the individual mental and body movement patterns.

In the methodological terms, the kinesiological approach will be based on, first of all, the N.A. Bernstein’s theory of level structure of movements and on the P.K. Anokhin’s body functional systems control theory; in the second place, on the V.K. Bal’sevich concept of the developmental body motor activity evolution in man; and in the third place, on the socio-cultural theory of human motor actions (by D.D. Donskoy and S.V. Dmitriev) that assumes that human motor activity plays the role of a system-forming fundamental for the personal psychic setup on the one hand and culture on the other hand; that means that it integrates in itself the natural-scientific and humanitarian knowledge about movements and human motor activity; with the subject approach being implemented based on the principle of harmonized spiritual and bodily foundations of the human nature.

In the praxiological terms, the kinesiological approach will be based on the life-through education concept with the relevant personal-activity-centred and competency building approaches and will be implemented based on the relevant anthropic education technologies designed to develop the reflexive personal culture viewed as a variety of abilities, instruments and strategies giving the means to rethink the personal experience and the individual activity styles through more emphasis being made on the practical aspects of the physical-culture-and-sport education and proactive mastering of the education curriculum; with the good theoretical-and-practical fitness plus the good mental-and-body-motor fitness criteria being indicative of the practicability and success of the physical-culture-and-sport education activity design [3,5].

It is the meaning of the kinesiological potential of a human nature that needs to be considered within the frame of the above described kinesiological approach, viewed as a result of psycho-motor model, physical fitness and individual motor skills and techniques development process.

Kinesiological methods are designed based on the knowledge of the ability of muscles to respond to the slightest changes in the individual mental condition; and are focused on studies of interrelations of the following three levels: (1) perception of the world, including the notions of a person about him/herself and own system of beliefs; (2) positive and negative emotions experienced by the person; and (3) physical effects on the body level, including the personal memory and past life experience.

In view of the promise of the above approach, more emphasis should be made on the health promotion system formation in the physical culture education environment of the underage children, school and university students. The above kinesiology-based approach may be considered successfully implemented in the technological aspect when the existing physical culture system is duly sportizated (i.e. made sport-centred) based on the following recommendations:

  • In the sport-driven physical education design and management model, top priority should be given to the sport/ general conditioning/ recreational training technologies to foster the relevant adaptation mechanisms through application of rated exercises differentiated with due regard to the sensitivity periods and the individual (including typological) specifics of the trainees so as to ensure due interrelation of their mental, physical and intellectual aspects in the balanced development process;
  • The primary sport training component of the sportization system needs to be designed to develop mostly the motivation for and interest in the sport practices based on the target formation of the axiological aspects of the personality that could give the means to the gifted children to develop and excel in the vocational sport discipline;
  • Different forms of the sportizated physical education are to be designed as duly tailored to the individual gifts, abilities and personal mindsets of every student to help students develop his/her own individual sport culture.
  • The physical education sportization technologies provide means to form special training groups based on the similar interests, needs, aspirations, mental and physical fitness levels and biological maturity specifics and degrees of the trainees [4].


The study demonstrates that the kinesiology-based approach in the sport science and practice development process views the science of kinesiology as a meta-objective scientific knowledge of the movement and human motor activity based on the ideas of anthropo-cosmism and   pedagogical anthropology on the integrity and indivisibility of the spiritual and biological aspects of a human nature; on the unity of general, specific and unique aspects in every human being; on the balanced integration of the intellectual, ethical and physical qualities in the personal development process; on the human-creativity-centred culture formation concept; and on the concept of age-related motor activity evolution in man; with the knowledge being put into practice through the relevant anthropic sport-and-education technologies. 


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