The 8 types of coordination (and their main characteristics)

The human musculoskeletal system is made up of the junction between the muscular system and the osteoarticular system, that is, muscles and bones that not only protect our organs, but also allow movement and locomotion.

We have over 650 muscles which, when contracted, cause different movements of the body, thereby training bone mass and being aided by ligaments, tendons, cartilage and joints. Muscles are the functional organs of the locomotor system and thanks to them we have the function of locomotion.

The ability of muscles to contract and relax is mediated by the nervous system and requires precise and harmonious timing so that we can perform all kinds of movements. In order for us to move, both to move and to pick up objects, we need muscle coordination.

This coordination can be given in different ways, involving different physical skills, then we will talk about which main classes. Let’s see what are the types of muscle coordination.

    What is coordination in the human body?

    In anatomical terms, we can define coordination as the ability of the body’s skeletal muscles to synchronize in trajectory and movement to perform a technical gesture.

    This ability is a product of the harmonic synchronization between the nervous system and the muscles, sometimes our brain sends commands that travel through the spinal cord, reach the peripheral nerves and, in turn, reach the muscles, setting the skeleton in motion. . Thanks to this balance, we can control our muscle tone and make fine and precise movements.

    Related to this idea, we can talk about neuromuscular coordination, a capacity that can be impaired in about 8% of school-aged children. Children with neuromuscular disorders may have problems with motor education and, due to their motor coordination problems, may have an unsteady gait, be prone to trip, crash very often, or have the ability to hold well. certain objects.

    Motor coordination can be learned and improved, which is why it is so important for boys and girls to participate in physical sports. in which they will practice their motor skills and automate movements. While it is true that human beings are born with a certain natural capacity for musculoskeletal coordination, it is always advisable to do everything possible to improve it and be more suited to physical tasks.

    As we develop from an early age, it will give us the tools that, on the nervous level, will allow us to make movements in an organized, directed, precise and synchronized manner.

      Types of muscle coordination

      Now that we understand what muscle coordination is in general terms, let’s take a look at what types of motor synchronization there are. Although all of the movements we perform involve our muscles, which are all controlled by the nervous system, the same muscles and skills are not involved when, for example, we play soccer as when we dance ballet.

      1. Dynamic coordination

      Dynamic or general coordination is a type of motor synchronization that it allows us to move different parts of the musculoskeletal system without interfering with each other. That is, this type of coordination allows us to move the body efficiently, without the movement of some parts hampering the movement of others.

      In this type of coordination all parts of the body participate and for this reason we say that a global synchronization is necessary, in which each locomotor region performs its function in a particular way but as a whole, without interfering or hindering the motor. . activity in other regions.

      Dynamic coordination is what gives us stability when moving dynamically, that is, when we involve many different muscles but each one performs a specific movement in order to perform a well-coordinated complex action, such as walking or to run.

        2. Spatial coordination

        Spatial coordination this is what we apply when we organize our muscle movements to adapt our general movement to a trajectory or to the space of others.

        Thanks to this type of motor synchronization, we can adjust our muscle activity to the movement of a moving object in our environment, in order to be able to perform the necessary technical action.

        We have an example of this in baseball batsmen and volleyball players, sports in which the movement of the body must be coordinated with that of the ball to reach and hit it.

          3. Intramuscular coordination

          Intramuscular coordination is the ability of our muscles to contract when they receive commands from the central nervous system via peripheral nerves.

          Muscle cells, called myocytes, contain actin and myosin filaments that are activated when muscles receive electrical impulses, and allow myocytes to contract, making the biomechanical action of muscles possible. .

            4. Intermuscular coordination

            Intermuscular coordination is the overall ability to activate different muscles while doing physical activity.

            It is not limited to the contraction of a specific muscle, but of several that are activated synchronously to perform more or less complex locomotor actions, which is why it is called intermuscular, i.e. between the muscles.

            An example of intermuscular coordination is when we hit a golf ball, involving in this action different muscle groups that must be coordinated with each other.

              5. Segmental coordination

              Segmental or segmented coordination is one that involves an increase in physical condition for specific areas of the body. Unlike dynamics, which are based on an overall increase in the overall synchronization of the musculoskeletal system, segmental promotes coordination reactions specific to the anatomical area.

              The sense of sight plays a key role in this mode of coordination. In fact, segmental synchronization works from the relationship between vision and the different parts of the human locomotor system involved. Being specific to each region, we can distinguish three main forms of segmental coordination: manual oculus, oculopedic and oculocap.

              5.1. Eye coordination

              Hand-eye coordination, also known as eye-hand coordination or screw-motor coordination, is the type of segmental coordination where motor skills they are involved in the use of the hands, thus having the synchronization between the visual and the manual.

              This type of coordination is what allows us to manipulate our hands based on what we see and we can see it in everyday activities such as typing on a computer, writing with a pen, or throwing a stone in the lake.

              5.2. Oculopedic coordination

              Oculopedic coordination is the segmental coordination modality in which the use of the feet is involved, synchronizes the visual with the pedic.

              This type of coordination allows us to properly manage our feet based on what we perceive through the sense of sight, being a classic example of how we use our feet while playing soccer.

              5.3. Oculocap coordination

              In oculus-head coordination the motor skills in which the use of the head is required, including it as an anatomical region are involved.

              This type of coordination is what allows us to move our head according to what we see, adapting to the needs of our environment. An example also related to football would be to finish the ball with the forehead.

              6. Static coordination

              Static coordination is the type of musculoskeletal synchronization which has the particularity of achieving “non-movement”. It is motor skills that allow us to be physically still when we are standing, have control and stability of our posture.

              7. Good coordination

              Fine coordination is the type of motor synchronization that it allows us to make very precise movements, in which the fine muscles are involved.

              This coordination is based on the development of locomotor skills to coordinate light, small and highly controlled muscle movements. An example would be knitting, writing, riding a pattern …

                8. Rough coordination

                Finally we have coarse coordination, antagonistic to that which we saw in the previous point.

                This type of motor synchronization does not lead us to be able to make very precise muscle movements, but to perform locomotor tasks in which large biomechanical regions of the body are involved.

                Coarse coordination is what can be seen in movements that do not require too much precision, such as jumping.

                Bibliographical references

                • Bansal, G., Bhatia, D., Joshi, D., et al (2011) “Coordination between lower limb muscles in different locomotion activities”. International Journal of Biomedical Engineering and Technology.
                • Bertran-Prieto, P. (sf) The 10 types of coordination (and their characteristics). MetgePlus. Retrieved from:
                • de Rugy, A., Loeb, GE, Carroll, TJ (2012) “Muscle coordination is habitual rather than optimal.” The Journal of Neuroscience: The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience.
                • Herzog, W., Powers, K., Johnston, K., Duvall, M. (2015) “A new paradigm for muscle contraction”. Frontiers in physiology.
                • Horowitz, A., Menice, CB, Laporte, R., Morgan, KG (1996) “Mechanism of smooth muscle contraction”. Physiological reviews.
                • Hug, F., Tucker, K. (2017) “Muscle coordination and the development of musculoskeletal disorders”. Journals of exercise and sport science.
                • Nayak, NK, Khedkar, CC, Khedkar, CD, Khedkar, GD (2016) “Skeletal muscle”. Elsevier.
                • Physiotherapy. (sf) Coordination exercises. Physiotherapy. Retrieved from:
                • Prilutsky, B. (2000) “Muscle coordination: the discussion continues”. Engine control.
                • Shaffer, F., Neblett, R. (2010) “Practical Anatomy and Physiology: The Skeletal Muscular System”. Biofeedback.

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