The history of the institution dates back to 1933, when the Regulations on the Central Research Institute of Physical Culture were issued, approved by the Presidium of the Central Executive Committee of the USSR on November 17, 1933.
From the very first days, the Institute took an active part in the development of scientific problems of the GTO (Ready for Labor and Defense) complex, methods of therapeutic physical culture, which appeared to be extremely helpful for the country during the Great Patriotic War. Scientists of the Institute developed an original system of gymnastics at the workplace, prepared a number of theoretical and methodological works on the problems of athletic training, the physiology of athletic activities, sports healthcare and physical education at school.
In 1936, under the guidance of the founder of Russian sports medicine, S.P. Letunov, a laboratory of sports healthcare was established. It produced research on such topical issues as the health-improving value of motor activity, the impact of physical culture and sport on health, diagnosis of the state of fitness, medical and pedagogical observations, etc.
Bright pages in the history of the Institute are associated with the works of N.A. Bernstein. His ideas formed the basis for the creation of biological cybernetics and the theory of complex motor control, in particular, improvement of the technical skills of athletes. In 1948, N.A. Bernstein’s research paper «On the construction of movements» was awarded the State award.
In the postwar years, the scientific problems of athletic training (general methodological basis of athletic training, physiology and clinical picture of preparedness, biodynamic studies in sports) were greatly developed. A significant contribution to the development of these areas of scientific research was made by I.A. Kryachko, G.V. Vasiliev, N.G. Ozolin, D.D. Donskoy, R.E. Motylyanskaya.
In 1966, the institution was renamed the All-Union Research Institute of Physical Culture (VNIIFK).
In the 1970s, VNIIFK developed the model of a system for elite athlete training, introduced the concept of “model characteristics of the strongest athletes”, which nowadays form the basis of integrated control in high performance sport. A methodology for constructing model characteristics of the strongest athletes in the main groups of sports was created.
In 1970–1980, scientific research activity of the Institute got ahead of practice in a number of issues. An example of this is research results that made a significant contribution to the formation of topics of adaptation, health science, diagnostic methods and medical and pedagogical observations. During this period, the Institute initiated complex research development in the field of rehabilitation and improvement of sport performance using pedagogical, psychological and medical means.
During the Soviet Union period, the Institute stood at the origins of theoretical and methodological work on the problems of athletic training, the physiology of athletic activities, sports healthcare, the GTO complex, diagnostics of the state of preparedness, the foundations of biological cybernetics and the theory of complex motor control. The Institute created a solid scientific base, which underpinned the USSR victories at the Olympic Games.
Thus, over the long period of its work, VNIIFK developed a scientifically based system of physical education in the country, covering various aspects of physical culture and sport. For the first time in the world, physical culture was integrated into the labor process, a system of mass sport events and recreational activities was created, a centralized system of athlete development and training was developed and put into practice, which is borrowed and applied today by specialists in many countries worldwide.
In 1993, based on the order of the Committee of the Russian Federation on Physical Culture dated May 26, 1993 No. 77, issued in pursuance of the Decree of the Council of Ministers — the Government of the Russian Federation dated March 19, 1993 No. 449-r, the All-Russian Research Institute of Physical Culture and Sport was established on the basis of the Russian Research Institute of Physical Culture (RNIIFK) and the Central Research Institute of Sport (TsNIIS) of the Committee of the Russian Federation on Physical Culture.
Central Research Institute of Physical Culture
All-Union Research Institute of Physical Culture
All-Russian Research Institute of Physical Culture and Sport
Federal Science Center of Physical Culture and Sport
VNIIFK scientists have played an important role in the development of sport science in many countries around the world, as well as in organizing and holding major international sport science events.
In 2011, the institution was renamed the Federal State Budgetary Institution «Federal Science Center of Physical Culture and Sport» (FSC VNIIFK).