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The Yurchenko layout vault is the base vault from which more advanced forms of the Yurchenko family of vaults have evolved. The purpose of the study was to predict an individual’s optimal Yurchenko layout vault by modifying selected critical mechanical variables. The gymnast’s current performance characteristics were determined using the Peak-Motus video analysis system. Body segment parameters were determined using the elliptical zone mathematical modeling technique of Jensen (1978). A 5-segment computer simulation model was personalized for the gymnast comprising the hands, upper limbs, upper trunk, lower trunk, and lower limbs. Symmetry was assumed, as the motion was planar in nature. An objective function was identified which translated the subjective points-evaluation scheme of the Federation of International Gymnastics (FIG) Code of Points to an analytic expression that was mathematically tractable. The objective function was composed of performance variables that, if maximized, would result in minimal points being deducted and bonus points being allocated. A combined optimal control and optimal parameter selection approach was applied to the model to determine an optimum technique. The predicted optimal vault displayed greater postflight amplitude and angular momentum when compared with the gymnast’s best trial performance. Increased angular velocity, and consequently greater angular momentum at impact and greater shoulder flexion angle at impact with the horse, were related with this optimum technique. The impact phase therefore serves to increase the angular momentum during horse contact. Since the optimized parameters at impact with the horse were within the accepted physical capacity limits observed for the individual, the predicted vault is viable.
Dept. of Human Movement and Exercise Science
Centre for Applied Dynamics and Optimisation, Dept. of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Western Australia, Perth, WA, Australia
Physical Education and Sports Science Academic Group, National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.