Fundamental body movements are the building blocks necessary for physical activities like sports and dance. This lesson explains the components of three fundamental body movements: locomotor, nonlocomotor, and manipulative.
The Fundamental Body Movements
You may not think much about simple body movements like walking, bending, or kicking a ball; however, fundamental body movements are the building blocks necessary for more complex physical activities. Playing sports, exercising, and dancing all require a command of simple, fundamental body movements.
For that reason, students should master these movement concepts during early childhood development and elementary school physical education. Studies show that students are more likely to stay active when fundamental body movements are mastered at that age. When fundamental body movements are not mastered at a young age, students are unable to participate in certain physical activities as they grow older. For example, a student who never learns to dribble a ball cannot later participate on the middle school basketball team.
There are three main categories of fundamental body movements:
Let's take a closer look at each.
Let's start with locomotor movements. Locomotor refers to body movements that move the body from one place to another. They cause the body to travel. There are eight main locomotor movements. They are categorized as either even or uneven movements. Even rhythm movements consist of equal, unvarying actions. These movements include:
Keep in mind that we're referring to the physical education definition of these movements. Students sometimes confuse the movements and terminology. A hop is technically defined as a springing from one foot and landing on that same foot. A leap is a springing from one foot but landing on the other foot. Leaping movements are commonly used when people jump over objects, like jumping over a rain puddle.
Uneven rhythm movements consist of unequal actions. They also sometimes incorporate alternating actions. These movements include:
Note that a gallop is defined as stepping forward and pushing up with one foot, while the other foot follows. The student lands on the trailing foot. You might think of it as a rudimentary skip that toddlers do. A slide is similar, but the lead foot glides forward or sideward while the other foot follows. The lead foot does not step or push off into the air. Sliding movements are used in skating and skiing.
Nonlocomotor movements are also sometimes called axial movements. They are movements of certain body parts, or even the whole body, without causing the body to travel. For example, swinging your arms back and forth. Notice that nonlocomotor movements are often combined with locomotor movements, such as walking and swinging your arms.
There are many different nonlocomotor movements:
Lastly, let's examine manipulative movements. They are movements involving both the body and an object. The object is typically a ball used in a sports game. Manipulative movements are more complex than locomotor and nonlocomotor movements and so are the most difficult of the three fundamental body movements for students to master.
There are seven main manipulative movements:
Notice how these skills are necessary for more advanced physical activities and participation in sports. For example, catching involves receiving and controlling an object, like a ball or Frisbee. The student must learn to visually track the object and move his or her body into the appropriate position to receive the object. Students must learn proper catching skills in order to participate in baseball, softball, basketball, football, Ultimate Frisbee, lacrosse, dodge ball, and many other games and sports. When students master manipulative movements, they have the tools necessary to participate in a lifetime of recreational sports and other physical activity.
There are three categories of fundamental body movements, which are the building blocks necessary for more complex physical activities. Locomotor movements are those that incorporate traveling from one point to another. Some locomotor movements are even rhythm, or equal, unvarying actions, like hopping, defined as springing from one foot and landing on that same foot, or leaping, defined as springing from one foot but landing on the other foot. Others are uneven rhythm, or unequal actions, like galloping, defined as stepping forward and pushing up with one foot, while the other foot follows, or sliding, defined as the lead foot gliding forward or sideward while the other foot follows.
Nonlocomotor movements are body movements without travel, such as bending, swaying, or wiggling. Manipulative movements involve both the body and an object. They are the movements most associated with games and sports. Manipulative movements include throwing, dribbling, and kicking.