About us


Human Kinetics is organized into three divisions, each with the purpose of producing publications or educational programs. These divisions are the Academic Division, the Journals Division, and the Trade and Professional Division.


Human Kinetics leads the world in providing information related to physical activity. That information takes many forms: textbooks and their ancillaries, consumer books, journals, online courses, video, digital products, and more.

This information touches the lives of millions of people worldwide who are interested in some form of physical activity. Those people include college students and professors, personal trainers, rehabilitation specialists, athletes, coaches, physical educators, nutritionists, parents, and sedentary people who want to become active.


In 1973, Rainer Martens, then a kinesiology professor at the University of Illinois, attended the North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity conference. Recognizing the need to disseminate the conference proceedings but finding no interested publishers, he and his wife, Marilyn, created Human Kinetics in 1974. Three years later, Human Kinetics hired its first employee and published Physiology of Fitness (later titled Fitness & Health), still a leading professional fitness book and now in its seventh edition.

The leading publishers of the day saw a decline in physical education and began abandoning the field. Dr. Martens instead saw an opportunity and decided, with limited resources, to fill the niche.

Human Kinetics grew by reinvesting earnings and expanding into new areas such as coaching education. In 1984, HK began publishing educational resources for the YMCA, doubling the company’s sales. The following year, Dr. Martens left the university to work at HK full time. That same year, HK acquired Leisure Press, a sport and fitness trade publisher. As sales and opportunities grew through the years, Dr. Martens launched international offices, and the company continues to maintain offices in Canada and the United Kingdom, in addition to the headquarters in Illinois.

By 1990, Human Kinetics had sales of $6 million and 80 employees. HK expanded beyond print to publish video, software, and online education products by reinvesting earnings in new technology. By the start of the new millennium, HK had grown to over $20 million in sales and approximately 250 employees. In 2005, Dr. Martens sold HK to his employees as part of an Employee Stock Ownership Plan.

Today, with approximately 200 employees worldwide, Human Kinetics publishes more products—including books, journals, videos, and courses—than any other publisher serving physical activity disciplines.


At Human Kinetics, our mission is to increase the knowledge, enhance the performance, and improve the health and fitness of all people around the globe by developing and delivering authoritative information about physical activity and sport. To excel at this mission, we have built our business on four pillars: expertise, partnerships, service, and process.

Ownership in our work and respect for our staff and customers provide the foundation of a culture that embodies shared commitment to success. How we conduct our business sets us apart from companies that might offer similar products. HK is employee-owned under a U.S. Employee Stock Ownership Program. We are committed to remaining independent and sustaining our mission of serving the physical activity field. All staff members contribute to our growth by taking initiative, being accountable for their actions, and actively participating in the development of the company.

Our aggressive product output demands a productive staff, but the corporate mission of helping people lead healthier, more active lives also permeates the atmosphere at our headquarters in Champaign, Illinois. Fitness classes and exercise equipment draw employees to the workout room throughout the day, and rain-free days ensure pick-up basketball, pickleball, or tennis games in the courtyard. Other employees frequently join together to walk, and most take advantage of healthy subsidized meals in our cafeteria.

Employees are empowered to run an Employee Ownership committee, which strives to foster appreciation and to establish a shared sense of purpose for all staff by developing stronger connections and access to quality education, training, and resources. A cross-department working group called the Customer Experience Team (CX Team) strives to incorporate a culture of service across HK by collaborating to ensure that information is easy to find, products are easy to use, purchasing is hassle-free, and our customer and technical support is exceptional.


Human Kinetics is the premier information provider to the physical activity field. We have achieved that status not only because of what we do but also because of how we do it. We select authors and partners with the highest authority and respect in their industries around the world. In fact, more than 25% of our book authors are from outside the United States.

Our authors include professors from the most prestigious university programs, championship coaches and trainers, internationally renowned researchers, and credentialed practitioners in every facet of physical activity.

We partner with the most respected organizations that serve physical activity fields on several continents, including top scholarly institutions and the highest-caliber professional and Olympic organizations. Our partnerships ensure cutting-edge product development and effective distribution of information.