Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
LE11 3TU
+44 (0)1509 263171
Loughborough University

School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

School staff

Matthew TG Pain

Dr Matthew Pain

Reader in Biomechanics

Tel +44 (0)1509 226327

Location UU.1.07


Frame from video Dr Matt Pain talks about his research

After completing his degree in Physics with Astrophysics at Leicester University, Matt obtained an MSc in Applied Geophysics from Birmingham University. He then started in the Biomechanics Lab at Birmingham University before moving to carry on his postgraduate studies in biomechanics at Penn State University in the USA where he graduated with a PhD in 1999.

Matt started as a Lecturer at Loughborough University in 2000, was promoted to senior lecturer in 2007 and Reader in Biomechanics in 2013.

His research has led to him being involved with dozens of television and radio programmes, including the Royal Institute Christmas Lectures and BBC's Horizon, and presenting his work at the Science Museum.

Whilst at Loughborough Matt developed the first MSc in Sports Biomechanics in the UK and ran it for five years.  He was then Programme director for the Sport and Exercise Science BSc for six years, and is now in charge of Education for the National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine East Midlands.

Matt's sporting interests are the martial arts in which he has been training for 30 years.


Matt's research interests are in developing a greater understanding of maximal volitional human performance during dynamic actions in sport and everyday living by studying the biomechanical, neuromuscular and neural factors that underpin such performance.  The key areas I have been working on are soft tissue motion during impacts, gross human response to impacts, maximal voluntary and stimulated muscular actions and their neural control.  These are all fundamental areas underlying performance and injury mechanisms in combat, contact and power-based sports, as well as being relevant to the neuro-muscular performance in other dynamic events such as jumping, sprinting and weightlifting.  These have led naturally to further research developing in the area of motor control, specifically in timing coordination limits and the control of balance, which are essential to dynamic human movement.

This research utilises: 3D motion measurement of intra-limb motion and whole body movements; surface electromyography and neuromuscular stimulation; iso-velocity torque measurements of strength and power; medical imaging; force and pressure measurements from human-surface interactions; and computer simulations.

Matt has published 50 peer reviewed academic journal papers, supervised 10 PhD students to completion and given dozens of invited presentations.  He has secured grant income of over £300,000 as PI and over £2.25 million as CI in the last 10 years for capital equipment and research projects and in the areas of sport, exercise, health and engineering. 

He has also worked with over a dozen sports as a consultant on a wide range of projects to monitor and improve athlete performance and been an expert witness in major criminal cases regarding the biomechanics of injury causation and human movement. 

External activities


Associate Editor Journal of Applied Biomechanics.

Reviewer for over 20 journals

Grant reviewer for: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, Leverhulme Trust, Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology, Singapore Sports Institute.

Conference committees

Programme co-chair  International Symposium in Computer Science in Sports 2015

Member of the American Society of Biomechanics post-doctoral awards committee

Member of the American Society of Biomechanics pre-doctoral awards committee

International Research Council on the Biomechanics of Impact Conference 2012

XXII Congress of the International Society of Biomechanics

The 17th Congress of the European Society of Biomechanics

International Association of Science and Technology for Development

International Congress on Sports Science Research and Technology Support


Contributor to The University of Western Australia’s secondary teacher’s program, SPICE

Contributor to CD in Edexcel A Level Science: AS Physics Students' Book, Pearson

Research Councils UK Science Learning Centre CPD courses

Featured publications

  • Voukelatos, D., and Pain, M.T.G., 2015. Modelling suppressed muscle activation by means of an exponential sigmoid function: Validation and bounds. Journal of Biomechanics, 48(4), 712-715.
  • Pain, M.T.G., 2014. Considerations for Single and Double Leg Drop Jumps: Bilateral Deficit, Standardising Drop Height and Equalising Training Load. Journal of Applied Biomechanics, 30(6), 722-727.
  • Evangelidis, P.E., Massey, G.J., Pain, M.T.G., and Folland, J.P., 2014. Biceps Femoris Aponeurosis Size: A Potential Risk Factor for Strain Injury? Medicine and Science in Sport and Exercise, 33(3), 309-319. 
  • Roosen, A., Pain, M.T.G., Thouzé, A., Monnet, T., and Begon, M., 2013.  Segment-embedded frame definition affects the hip joint centre precision during walking.  Medical Engineering and Physics, 35, 1228-1234.
  • Pain, M.T.G., Young, F., Kim J.W., and Forrester, S.E., 2013.  The torque–velocity relationship in large human muscles: maximum voluntary versus electrically stimulated behaviour.  Journal of Biomechanics, 46, 645-650.
  • Tsui, F., and Pain, M.T.G., 2012.  Utilising human performance criteria and computer simulation to design a martial arts kicking robot with increased biofidelity.  Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part P, Journal of Sports Engineering and Technology, 226, 244-252.
  • Forrester, S.E., Yeadon, M.R., King, M.A., and Pain, M.T.G., 2011.  Comparing different approaches for determining joint torque parameters from isovelocity dynamometer measurements.  Journal of Biomechanics, 44, 955-961.
  • Forrester, S.E. and Pain, M.T.G., 2010.  A combined muscle model and wavelet approach to interpreting the EMG signals from maximal dynamic knee extensions.  Journal of Applied Biomechanics, 26, 62-72.
  • Yeadon, M.R., King, M.A., Forrester, S.E., Caldwell G.E., and Pain, M.T.G., 2010.  The need for muscle co-contraction prior to a landing.  Journal of Biomechanics, 43, 364-369.
  • Pain, M.T.G., and Forrester, S.E., 2009.  Predicting maximum eccentric strength from surface EMG measurements.  Journal of Biomechanics, 42, 1598-1603.

You can view a fuller publications list on the University Publications Database.