Extensive research in exercise, a subcategory of physical activity, has been conducted with the aim of instructing the individual in the proper techniques when performing specific aerobic and anaerobic forms of exercise. This past research, however, does not answer the basic question of how to specify an exercise motion mathematically. This is the first part of a two-part paper that presents a new approach to defining specific exercise motions by using a segment-joint model of the human body. This model makes use of kinematic equations used in robotics and visually represents various exercise motions using a 3-D virtual reality human manikin. In this first part of the paper, we introduce the segment-joint model and how this is utilized in combination with a systematic methodology in order to define specific exercise motions. Part II is concerned with providing a complete validation of the proposed segment-joint model approach.

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