Michael graduated from Loughborough University in 1993 with a Joint Honours degree in Sport Science and Mathematics. He then gained his PhD in the computer simulation of gymnastics skills, also at Loughborough University.

As a Research Fellow within the School of Sport and Exercise Science, Michael worked on the British Gymnastics World Class Performance Programme, providing mechanics support to all disciplines of gymnastics. He moved to the Research and Teaching job family in 2012 and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in Sports Biomechanics and Motor Control in 2015.

Michael teaches both biomechanics and motor control within the School and is module leader for Motor Control and Motor Learning (PSB723), Acquiring Movement Skills (PSB763), and Advanced Motor Control of Sports Movements (PSC725). Michael is the Programme Director for Joint Honours programmes with Sport Science and is also the Director of the Centre for Gymnastics Research.

Michael’s research interests are in the areas of biomechanics and motor control, investigating the mechanics of technique and how it is influenced by the human control system. Specifically, he has used computer simulation modelling to investigate the interaction between the gymnast and the gymnastics equipment. He is particularly interested in how aspects of motor control influence and limit human performance.  Michael is interested in all aspects of gymnastic performance and equipment and contributes to coach education materials on behalf of British Gymnastics. 

PhD Students Supervised and Projects

Graduated PhD/MPhil Students

  • Laurence Warren-West, Quantifying the nature and the response to deceptive movements, 2021
  • Idrees Afzal, Optimal badminton smash technique, 2021
  • Mohsen Sayyah, Variability in springboard diving, 2018
  • Emma Payne, Characteristics of Gymnastics Landing Mats, PhD, 2016
  • Glen Blenkinsop, Postural Control: Leaning to Balance and Responses to Mechanical and Sensory Perturbations, 2014
  • David Burke, The mechanics of the contact phase in trampolining, 2014
  • Yanjia (Michael) Gu, Limits to Temporal Synchronisation in Fundamental Hand and Finger Actions, 2014
  • Monique Jackson, The Mechanics of the Table Contact Phase of Gymnastics Vaulting, 2010
  • Helen Jaques, Determining and Modelling the Forces Exerted by a Trampoline Suspension System, MPhil, 2008

Current PhD Students

  • Cormac Nolan, The effect of expertise and slope of golf technique and performance
  • Tracy Bye, Posture and balance in horse riders
  • Nuha Alkhalaf, Biomechanics of the layup shot in basketball



Selected External Research-Related Roles


  • Journal of Biomechanics
  • Journal of Applied Biomechanics
  • Human Movement Science
  • Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
  • Journal of Sports Sciences
  • Sports Biomechanics

Selected Invited Conference Keynote and Speaker Presentations

  • 2021: Invited Speaker, ISB symposium, Motor Control and Performance Sport
  • 2020: Invited Speaker, American Society of Biomechanics, Atlanta
  • 2015: Keynote Speaker, Computer Science in Sport Conference, Loughborough, UK
  • 2014: Invited Speaker, World Congress of Biomechanics, Boston, USA
  • 2013: Invited Speaker, Sport Sciences for the Promotion of Active Life conference, Tokyo, Japan
  • 2011: Keynote Speaker, Sport Measure & Simulation Conference, Poitiers, France

Selected Recent Research Projects and Sources of Funding

  • 2020: Aspects of driver-car interactions. Mercedes Benz Grand Prix Limited, £14,100.
  • 2019: Optimum performance in the badminton smash. Badminton World Federation, £26,000.
  • 2011: Biomechanics of elite gymnastics skills. British Gymnastics, £81,000.

Featured publications

Featured publications

  • Sayyah, M., King, M.A., Hiley, M.J., Yeadon, M.R. 2020. Functional variability in the takeoff phase of one metre springboard dives.  Human Movement Science, 72.
  • Hiley, M.J., Yeadon, M.R. 2020. Control of a whole-body task with uncertain initial conditions: Application to the upstart on bards. Journal of Motor Behavior, 53, 287-295.
  • Hiley, M.J., Schmid, N., Yeadon, M.R. 2019. How do technique and coordination change during learning of a whole-body task: Application to the upstart in gymnastics. Journal of Sports Sciences, 37, 2374-2380.
  • Yeadon, M.R., Hiley, M.J. 2019. The limits of aerial and contact techniques for producing twist in reverse 1½ somersault dives. Human Movement Science, 66.
  • Liang, Y., Hiley, M.J., Kanosue, K. 2019. The effect of contact sport expertise on postural control. PLOS ONE.
  • Sayyah, M., Hiley, M.J., King, M.A., Yeadon, M.R. 2018. Functional variability in the flight phase of one metre springboard forward dives. Human Movement Science, 59, 234-243.
  • Yeadon, M.R., Hiley, M.J. 2018. The limits of aerial techniques for producing twist in forward 1½ somersault dives. Human Movement Science, 58, 97-107.
  • Blenkinsop, G.M., Hiley, M.J., Pain, M.T.G. 2017. Balance control strategies during perturbed and unperturbed balance in standing and handstand. Royal Society Open Science, 4(7).
  • Yeadon, M.R., Hiley, M.J. 2017. Twist limits for late twisting double somersaults on trampoline. Journal of Biomechanics, 58, 174-178.
  • Hiley, M.J., Yeadon, M.R. 2016. What governs successful performance of a complex whole body movement: the Kovacs release-regrasp on horizontal bar. Journal of Biomechanics, 49, 3971–3976.
  • Blenkinsop, G.M., Pain, M.T.G., Hiley, M.J. 2016. Evaluating feedback time delay during perturbed and unperturbed balance in handstand. Human Movement Science, 48, 112-120.
  • Hiley, M.J., Yeadon, M.R. 2016. The role of functional variability in a whole body co-ordinated movement: application to high bar giant circles. Human Movement Science, 49, 95-103.
  • Hiley, M.J., Yeadon, M.R. 2015. Investigating optimal technique in the presence of motor system noise: application to the double layout somersault dismount on high bar. Journal of Sports Sciences, 34(5), 440-449.
  • Hiley, M.J., Jackson, M.I., Yeadon, M.R. 2015. The influence of touchdown conditions and contact phase technique on post-flight angular momentum in the straight handspring somersault vault. Human Movement Science, 42, 117-131.
  • Hiley, M.J., Yeadon, M.R. 2014. Determining the solution space for a co-ordinated whole body movement in a noisy environment: application to the upstart in gymnastics. Journal of Applied Biomechanics, 30, 508-513.
  • Yeadon, M.R., Jackson, M.I., Hiley, M.J. 2014. The influence of touchdown conditions and contact phase technique on post-flight height in the straight handspring somersault vault. Journal of Biomechanics, 47(12), 3143-3148.