What is a force plate?
Therefore, in order to understand what a force plate is, it is first necessary to define what the moment of a force is. It consists of any cause capable of modifying the state of inertia or motion of a body, and manifests itself in the reciprocal interaction of two or more bodies.
In summation, a force plate is an instrument that allows to detect and measure the forces that are produced during physical exercise, in order to optimize the athletic gesture and to "ground" all the power of an athlete, even in relation to a project of rehabilitation or recovery after injury.
What a force plate can measure
The force plate measures direction, strength, reactive muscle activation time and other parameters and forces produced during specific movements of a sporting activity, like walking, running or jumping. In essence, it analyses motor patterns, applying kinematics to dynamics.
Together with other instruments, the strength platform is fundamental in the evaluation and improvement of the athletic gesture, correcting flaws resulting from an incorrect posture or wrong athletic technique.
How the force plate is used
As far as performance measurement is concerned, on the other hand, the exercises on the force plate involve various types of jumping and extension, to measure parameters such as power and height of the jump, or more basic locomotion movements, such as sprints, walks or agility drills.
In addition, it is very difficult to cheat any kind of test on a force plate, either to mask an injury or pain or to appear stronger, faster, or more powerful than one really is, for the simple fact that you cannot cheat physics.
In which sports is the force plate useful?
Putting all the strength we have on the ground correctly is in fact fundamental both for the result and for the prevention of injuries, as already pointed out, but also for the correct delivery of physical effort.
These data, generated by the pressure of the two feet on the force platform, the gait and the direction of the step in space, can provide a complete view of the distribution of the load on each foot and the symmetry of the body due to injuries or postural imperfections.
That said, force plates are still hard to use and expensive to manufacture, meaning that their application in the world of sports and rehabilitation is still limited to selected sport and medical facilities.