Areas of Expertise

Exercise and Sport Biomechanics


PhD, Arizona State University 1994
BA, College of Wooster 1987


Assistant/Associate Professor
Iowa State University
August 01, 1994 - May 01, 2001
Department of Health & Human Performance

Teaching Philosophy

Too often, teaching is viewed as one of the jobs a university professor must perform. I choose to view teaching as a privilege and as the most important job a professor performs. Teaching takes on many different forms. It occurs in the classroom, office, and laboratory and it involves students and colleagues as well as oneself. Teaching may be structured, as it is in most classroom settings, or it can be largely independent where the teacher provides guidance and information as is typically done when overseeing research projects. Teaching may also be unstructured where the student and teacher work together, investigating and learning to simply broaden their horizons. To these ends, teaching involves the communication of knowledge. This communication is most effective when the student is actively involved in learning. To involve students, a teacher must understand the nature of students, how to adapt knowledge to interest them, and how to structure effective participation experiences. I am convinced that students are better able to comprehend and utilize knowledge when they participate in well-designed learning experiences. As a result of my belief that learning is understanding how to use knowledge, not simply memorizing facts, my teaching style emphasizes student participation. I choose to use a problem-based learning approach so as to challenge students to develop thinking skills appropriate to understanding the scientific material in my classes. The following describe some of the methods that I use. First, I strive to help students develop the ability to formulate and ask questions in class. This is a skill that many students simply don?t have. Exercises related to this have included writing questions for submission to magazines (several of which have been published), a required question submission component for my introductory class (the ?muddiest point? option), and developing a question and related hypothesis for semester research projects. Second, I permit open discussion in class. I encourage the students to ask questions regarding the material, question my thinking or rationale in my lectures, or offer personal insights related to the topics. Third, I plan small group (2-4 people) learning sessions in class where students work to solve problems or to discuss issues. This has included mathematical problem solving, hypothesis writing, and participation in team-oriented games. Finally, I require the students to communicate their knowledge in oral and written form. Beyond the traditional exams and assignments, each student will make a presentation to the class as well as turn in at least one formally written paper. Beyond participation, I believe that developing the link between concepts and application is an important aspect of teaching. I attempt to help students understand the integral role research plays in developing and utilizing knowledge. To help understand that process, students in my classes complete a semester long research project. Each student participates in a small group (2-4 students) to conduct a simple research project using the steps of the scientific method. They must formulate a question and develop associated hypotheses, collect data, analyze these data, and report their findings. I view these projects as an opportunity that most undergraduates do not receive, particularly in introductory classes. In this advancing age of technology, I feel that it is important to expose students to new technologies and to require students to gain experience with these technologies. One avenue for developing these skills is the semester research project. Students use state-of-the-art equipment in our laboratory to conduct human movement analyses. This work requires the students to acquire and use research and computer skills. Although a major time commitment on the part of the student as well as the teacher, this experience demonstrates to the student how the knowledge they are gaining in the classroom can be applied in the real world. Often the students begin their projects by believing that the questions they ask are mundane or too simple to be considered for a research project. After completing the project the students generally are much more aware of the time, effort, and care needed to conduct a research project. They have also developed a better understanding of the concepts presented in class. I use every opportunity to incorporate technology into classes. For instance, my lectures include the use of computer generated slides. This enhances my ability to present complex ideas using intricate graphics, equations, etc. in a systematic manner. I also require homework assignments using the computer. For example, one assignment pertains to using the internet to locate information specific to the topic of the class. Finally, a large portion of the class laboratory is conducted with the aid of technologically advanced equipment. Introductory courses often challenge a teacher because of the diversity of students? backgrounds, uncertainty in career choices, and, depending on the material, potentially intimidating information. To this end, it is necessary to remove any barriers the students may perceive in relating to me as a person early in the teacher-student relationship. I attempt to clearly describe my expectations of the students at the very start of our relationship. At the same time, I work hard to learn about the students in my classes. This information allows me to tailor the class to meet the students? needs. It is important for me to arrive early to class and to hold office hours immediately following class so that students can access me while questions are fresh in their minds. I believe that an ?open-door? policy is essential to establishing an effective communication link to students, and, I strive to be accessible for them at hours that accommodate their schedules. I also think that it is important to take an interest in the students? activities outside of the classroom. As a result, I try to attend various student events and talk with them about things that are important to them. Knowing the students and understanding their responsibilities is as important to me as for them to understand my expectations of them. In summary, I believe that to effectively teach my courses I must encourage the students to take an active role in their education. It is my responsibility as a teacher to develop participation in the class as well as provide effective approaches to learning the material. Success in these endeavors will produce students who have achieved an understanding of the field both in concept and application.

Previous Courses

Biomechanics Human Anatomy Motor Control and Learning Exercise Prescription Fundamentals of Movement Analysis Tissue Mechanics FYS Paideia



Sport and Exercise Biomechanics

My interest in sport and exercise biomechanics focuses on swimming. I am actively working in several areas within swimming with the underlying goal of understanding what factors influence performance in competitive swimming. Specifically I am studying the effect of buoyancy on aquatic performance, the influence of biomechanical, physiological, and psychological factors on variability in swimming performance, the factors that best predict success in swim starts, development of stroke and turn characteristics with training, and the effect of equipment on swimming performance.

Neuromuscular Control of Movement

My interest in neuromuscular aspects of movement centers on the performance of bilateral and unilateral tasks under maximal and submaximal conditions. Bilateral or bimanual tasks are an important aspect of everyday activities. Evidence suggests that strength decreases in a given limb when that limb is activated simultaneously with the contralateral limb. This is known as the bilateral deficit. Much of this research has focused on investigating this phenomenon using maximal effort exertions but few if any activities are normally performed at maximal levels of exertion. Therefore, I am investigating the existence of the bilateral deficit at submaximal intensities by studying the physiological and cognitive components of the bilateral deficit.

An application of this work has been to study everyday bimanual tasks (e.g., sit-to-stand tasks) with the goal of developing approaches (training and/or techniques) that may reduce or eliminate the effect of the bilateral deficit. Recent work has included work on balance training to improve proprioceptive function using novel training equipment.

Professional Work

United States Olympic Committee - Research Consultant

USA Swimming - Member of High Performance Network and Research Consultant


  1. McLean, S.P., Vint, P.F., and Stember, A.J. (2005). Submaximal expression of the bilateral deficit. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport (accepted 8/2005).
  2. Stodden, D. F., Fleisig, G. S., McLean, S. P., Lyman, S. L., & Andrews, J. R. (2005). Relationship of shoulder and elbow kinetics to baseball pitching velocity. Journal of Applied Biomechanics, 21(1), 44-56.
  3. Roberts, B.S., Kamel, K.S., Hedrick, C., McLean, S.P., and Sharp, R.L. (2003). Effects of FastSkinTM Competitive Swim Suit on Physiological and Biomechanical Responses During Submaximal Freestyle Swimming. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 35(3), 519-524.
  4. Marsolais, G.S. McLean, S.P., Derrick, T.R., and Conzemius, M.G. (2003). Kinematic comparison of swimming and terrestrial motion in normal dogs and dogs stabilized for cranial cruciate ligament rupture. Journal of American Veterinary Medicine Association, 222(6), 739-743.
  5. Hernandez, J.P., Nelson, N.L., Franke, W.D., and McLean, S.P. (2003). Bilateral Index Expressions and iEMG Activity in Older vs. Young Adults. Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences, 58(6), M536-541.
  6. Derrick, T.R., DeReu, D., and McLean, S.P. (2002). Impacts and kinematic adjustments during an exhaustive run. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 34(6), 998-1002.
  7. Vint, P.F., McLean, S.P., and Harron, G.M. (2001). Electromechanical delay in isometric actions initiated from non-resting levels. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 33(6), 978-983.
  8. Stodden, D.F., Fleisig, G., McLean, S.P., Lyman, S.L., and Andrews, J.R. (2001). Relationship of pelvis and upper torso kinematics to pitched baseball velocity. Journal of Applied Biomechanics, 17, 164-172 .
  9. McLean, S.P., Holthe, M., Vint, P.F., Beckett, K.D., and Hinrichs, R.N. (2000). Addition of an approach to a swimming relay start. Journal of Applied Biomechanics, 16, 343-356.
  10. Franke, W.D., Boettger, C.F., and McLean, S.P. (2000). Effects of central command and muscle mass on cardiovascular responses to isometric exercise. Journal of Clinical Physiology, 20(5), 380-387.
  11. McLean, S.P. and Hinrichs, R.N. (2000). Influence of arm position and lung volume on the center of buoyancy of competitive swimmers. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 71(2), 182-189.
  12. McLean, S.P. and Hinrichs, R.N. (2000). Gender, buoyancy and swimming performance. Journal of Applied Biomechanics, 16, 248-263.
  13. McLean, S.P. and Reeder, M.S. (2000). Upper extremity kinematics of dominant and non-dominant side batting. Journal of Human Movement Studies, 38, 201-212.
  14. McLean, S.P. and Hinrichs, R.N. (1998). Sex differences in the centre of buoyancy location of competitive swimmers. Journal of Sports Sciences, 16(4), 373-383.
  15. Hinrichs, R.N. and McLean, S.P. (1995). NLT and extrapolated DLT: 3-D cinematography alternatives for enlarging the volume of calibration. Journal of Biomechanics, 28(10), 1219-1224.
  16. McLean, S.P. and Marzke, M. (1994). Functional significance of the fibula: Contrasts between humans and chimpanzees. Folia Primatologica, 63(2), 107-114.
  17. Hinrichs, R.N. and McLean, S.P. (1991). A Mathematical Model of Competitive Swimming in Pools with Currents. International Journal of Sport Biomechanics, 7, 163-174.
  18. Hinrichs, R.N., Morrison, B.J. and McLean, S.P. A Comparison of Buoyant Forces and Center of Buoyancy in Competitive Swimmers Wearing Conventional and Full Body Swimsuits. Submitted to Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.


  1. Vint, PF, Hinrichs, RN, Riewald, SK, Mason, RA and McLean, SP (2009). Using Handles and Foot Incline in a Swimming Track Start. Submitted to XXVII International Society for Biomechanics in Sports Annual Meeting, Limerick, Ireland.
  2. Hinrichs, RN, Vint, PF, McLean, SP, Riewald, SA, Mason, RK (2009). Comparison Of Swim Starts Using Side Handle And Front Handle Grip Techniques. Poster presentation at the 55th Annual Meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine, Seattle, WA.
  3. McLean, SP, Havriluk, R. and Brandt, S. (2008). Effect of Adding a Dolphin Kick to the Breaststroke Pullout. Poster presentation at the 55th Annual Meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine, Indianapolis, IN.
  4. Long, L.A., Vint, P.F., and McLean, S.P. (2007). Effect of Induced Functional Asymmetry on the Bilateral Deficit. Poster presentation at the 54th Annual Meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine, New Orleans, LA.
  5. Lovorn, J.L., Bartholomew, J., and McLean, S.P. (2006). Effect of over-training on psychology, physiology, and Biomechanics of Collegiate Swimmers. Poster presentation at the 53rd Annual Meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine, Denver, CO.
  6. Long, L.A., McLean, S.P., and Smith, J.C. (2006). Estimating exercise VO2 using backward extrapolation of post-exercise VO2. Poster presentation at the 53rd Annual Meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine, Denver, CO.
  7. McLean, S.P., Palmer, D., Ice, G., Wiskera, R., Truijens, M., and Smith, J. (2004). Effect of Stroke Rate Manipulation on Oxygen Uptake in Constant Speed Swimming. Presented at the 15th FINA World Sports Medicine Congress. Indianapolis, IN.
  8. McLean, S.P., Vint, P.F., Hinrichs, R.N., DeWitt, J.K., Morrison, B., and Mitchell, J. (2004). Factors affecting the accuracy of 2D-DLT calibration. Presented at the 28th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Biomechanics. Portland, OR.
  9. Hinrichs, R.N., Vint, P.F., DeWitt, J.K., Morrison, B., Mitchell, J. and McLean, S.P. (2004). Predicting out-of-plane point locations using the 2D-DLT. Presented at the 28th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Biomechanics. Portland, OR.
  10. McLean, S.P., Stember, A.J., and Vint, P.F. (2003). Perception of unilateral and bilateral isometric efforts. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 35(5-Supplement), S287. Presented at the 50th Annual Meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine, San Francisco, CA.


American College of Sports Medicine (1990-present)

International Society of Biomechanics in Sports (2000-present)

Texas Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine (2001-present)

Allied Health and Education Representative (2005-2009)

President-Elect (2009-2010)