Biomechanics Research Group


connect, collaborate, and discuss with us:


lab director

Prof. Werner Nachbauer


Phone number: (+43) 0512 507 45890

Team MembersInternships - Team publications - Current research projects - Research methodologies

Mission statement

The main focus of the Biomechanics Research Group at the Institute of Sport Science is on alpine sports with special emphasis on Alpine and Nordic Skiing and other outdoor sports taking place in the mountains. The aim is to contribute to the sport science community, improve performance and prevent injuries by developing and evaluating research questions based on a biomechanical point of view. 

The biomechanical laboratory is equipped with basic dynamic, kinematic and friction measurement systems. In order to analyze large-scale outdoor movements, special measurement systems have been developed, e.g. ski dynamometer or co-pivoting video analysis systems. In addition to experimental recordings of movements, computer simulations and inverse dynamics are also used for performance optimization, musculoskeletal load analysis and sports equipment development. 

Using different approaches based on engineering, simulations or human kinematics, our group has the opportunity to work within various research scopes. For example, the development of an electronic ski safety binding to prevent knee injuries or  to support the alpine squad of the ÖSV by measuring pressure distribution or conducting video analyzes, wind tunnel measurements, or glide tests. Computer simulation of cut and slid turns in alpine skiing or biomechanical jumping technique analyzes at BergIsel are also part of our research. 

Other projects deal with the further development of a satellite navigation system for the analysis of large-scale movements - increased recording frequency and improvement of the spatial accuracy. Moreover, dynamic ski behavior - measurement with accelerometers, ski dynamometer and strain gauges are performed in our lab. 

Movement science

The field of movement science deals with motor control processes and muscular / conditional prerequisites for successful movement execution. Motor learning and the course of human motor development are further core topics. The Institute of Sports Science in Innsbruck has a long tradition, founded in the early 70s by em. Prof. Friedrich Fetz in the development and evaluation of specific sport motor test procedures.

New developments of such test procedures are further used and investigated after their evaluation especially in the field of training science and training support. The development of a test profile for the survey of general trait levels was started for adolescents and has been used in recent years, especially for questions of gender-specific and sport-specific expression in 14-year-old adolescent squad athletes. Many diploma theses at ISW Innsbruck dealing with questions of motor performance in school age and adulthood provide a broad overview of the changes during the last decades.

New in the focus of movement science research at the institute are questions about movement variability, adaptation of movement coordination under the influence of fatigue or under altitude exposure. 

Team Members




Dr. Werner Nachbauer

Research interests:

  • Biomechanical performance optimization and injury prevention in winter sports
  • Friction on snow and ice



associate professors


Dr. Kurt Schindelwig

 Research interests:

  • Safety aspects in skiing
  • Friction of skis on snow
  • Determination of mechanical properties of devices in skiing



assistant professors


Dr. Dieter Heinrich

Research interests:

  • Computer methods in biomechanics
  • Musculoskeletal modeling and simulation
  • Motor control



postdoctoral fellows


Werner Jud, PhD

Research interests:

  • Unraveling the mysteries of ski-snow friction
  • Measurement of snow wetness and proof of liquid water formation at the snow surface after ski passage




Dr. Martin Mössner:

Research interests:

  • Sports Biomechanics
  • Winter sports (Modeling, Safety, ...)
  • Snow and ice Frcition
  • Musculoskeletal Modeling


Contact: Martin.Mö 


Ryo Ueno, PhD:

Research interests:

  • Anterior cruciate ligament injury mechanism in sports
  • Musculoskeletal and finite element modeling
  • Injury prevention




Felix Wachholz, PhD:

Research interests:

  • Friction of outdoor-shoe soles
  • Influence of tread profiles on movement and the coefficient of friction
  • Changes in motor control due to different sole-shapes



phd students


Lorenz Immler, MSc:

Research interests:

  • Ski boot stiffness
  • Outdoor Shoes




Daniel Sedlacek, MSc:

Research interests:

  • Development of a capacitive sensor for snow moisture measurement
  • Experimental methods in materials science with focus on polymers       
  • Aging and cut resistance of climbing ropes 



master students


Benjamin Pichler

Thesis title: Einfluss unterschiedlicher Druckverteilungen eines Langlaufskis auf dessen Gleitfähigkeit




If you are interested in working with our group as an intern, please contact Prof. Nachbauer via email.

Team publications:

Heinrich, D., van den Bogert, A. J., Csapo, R. & Nachbauer, W. (2020). A model-based approach to predict neuromuscular control patterns that minimize ACL forces during jump landing. Computer Methods in Biomechanics and Biomedical Engineering, 1-11.

Heinrich, D., van den Bogert, A. J. & Nachbauer, W. (2018). Peak ACL force during jump landing in downhill skiing is less sensitive to landing height than landing position. British journal of sports medicine52(17), 1086-1090.

Nachbauer, W., Mössner, M., Rohm, S., Schindelwig, K. & Hasler, M. (2016). Kinetic friction of sport fabrics on snow. Lubricants4(1), 7.

Hasler, M., Schindelwig, K., Mayr, B., Knoflach, C., Rohm, S., van Putten, J. & Nachbauer, W. (2016). A novel ski–snow tribometer and its precision. Tribology Letters63(3), 1-9.

Schindelwig, K., Reichl, W., Kaps, P., Mössner, M. & Nachbauer, W. (2015). Safety assessment of jumps in ski racing. Scandinavian journal of medicine & science in sports25(6), 797-805.

Mössner, M., Hasler, M., Schindelwig, K., Kaps, P. & Nachbauer, W. (2011). An approximate simulation model for initial luge track design. Journal of biomechanics44(5), 892-896.

 Current Research

For an overview of current research projects, please visit our ResearchGate group page:

Current projects can be found here.

Research methodologies


The friction between different objects or surfaces is of high relevance in many different kinds of sport, such as skiing, roller-skating, or even during hiking when stepping on a wet rock. To evaluate the coefficient of friction and other parameters is the goal of using a highly precise and large scaled tribometer in our lab. Here we have the ability to measure with different surfaces like ice, snow, solid or loose rock. We can assess the dynamic friction on a 30m drive-way as well as the staic friction of different materials at different temperatures. An article which describes some of the capabilities of our tribometer can be found here


Simulation of Biomechanical Forces (Muscles, Bones, Tendons)

Estimation of individual muscle forces during human movement can provide insight into neural control and tissue loading. However, direct measurement of muscle forces is generally not feasible, and non-invasive methods based on musculoskeletal modeling should therefore be considered. 


In our group, we use musculoskeletal modeling to simulate injury mechanisms during landing and turning maneuvers in alpine skiing. Our aim is to identify modifiable risk factors, deduce injury prevention strategies and to develop dedicated intervention and training programs. Further applications are in the fields of movement analysis and performance optimization in athletes.

Digital Microscopy

To determine and better understand the interaction between different surfaces on a microscopic level is the aim of using digital microscopes for research purposes. In our group, we use theses high-tech devices e.g. to get an idea of the contact area between skis and snow at different temperatures. Another approach is to understand the roughness parameters of e.g. shoe-soles or outdoor-textiles and how these parameters influence the coefficient of friction. This is of high importance when it comes to matters of safety, e.g. talking about slips or falls in an outdoor environment. We mainly use a Keyence VHX 5000 in our lab. 


Load Cells or In-Soles to measure Forces during Activity

The distribution of force is a valuable indicator to understand movements and underlying mechanisms which may lead to false movement patterns or even injuries. To measure these forces, we use load cells with different capacities as well as more specialized devices like In-Soles, which are capable of measuring the pressure distribution in a shoe. Therefore, it is possible to investigate the distribution of pressure e.g. during gait, running or even during skiing. 

3D motion analysis

We can use 3D motion analysis to record and reconstruct the three-dimensional movements of all body segments during a certain task and find out how the neuromuscular system controlled this movement task. Our group uses two different technologies to carry out 3D motion analyses: Vicon and XSens. The Vicon system consists of nine infrared cameras which film the movement of small reflective surface markers. One advantage of Vicon is that it is highly accurate, which comes with the downside of requiring time-consuming preparations and post-processing of data. The XSens system uses inertial sensors distributed across body segments to reconstruct the body's movement and allows movement analyses outside of the lab. Therefore it is highly applicable to measurement of sportive movements in a natural environment. Of course, there is always a trade-off between ease of use and measurement accuracy. The pictures above were taken during a validation study to compare the 3D movement reconstructed from Vicon and XSens measurements.

Force plates

A rather basic, yet very powerful method is to analyze ground reaction forces using force plates. They can be used to analyze e.g. gait, stance, or certain movement tasks where the resultant forces on the ground play a crucial role. Information gathered using this method, propose a deeper insight in the movements, which can be used in injury prevention, performance improvement and technical analysis programs. In our lab, we use Kistler,a s well as AMTI force platforms.

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