Components of Body Movements: Locomotor, Nonlocomotor & Manipulative

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  • 0:03 The Fundamental Body Movements
  • 1:00 Locomotor Movements
  • 2:31 Nonlocomotor Movements
  • 3:07 Manipulative Movements
  • 4:12 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Ashley Dugger

Ashley has a JD degree and is an attorney. She has extensive experience as a prosecutor and legal writer, and she has taught and written various law courses.

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:

  1. Locomotor
  2. Nonlocomotor
  3. Manipulative

Let's take a closer look at each.

Locomotor Movements

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:

  1. Walking
  2. Running
  3. Hopping
  4. Leaping
  5. Jumping

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:

  1. Skipping
  2. Galloping
  3. Sliding

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

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:

  • Bending
  • Flexing
  • Stretching
  • Extending
  • Lifting
  • Raising
  • Twisting
  • Rotating
  • Swinging
  • Swaying
  • Turning
  • Shaking
  • Wiggling

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