The Effect of Cost Function on Optimum Technique of the Undersomersault on Parallel Bars

in Journal of Applied Biomechanics
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  • 1 Loughborough University
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The undersomersault, or felge, to handstand on parallel bars has become an important skill in Men’s Artistic Gymnastics as it forms the basis of many complex variations. To receive no deductions from the judges, the undersomersault must be performed without demonstrating the use of strength to achieve the final handstand position. Two male gymnasts each performed nine undersomersaults from handstand to handstand while data were recorded using an automatic motion capture system. The highest and lowest scoring trials of each gymnast, as determined by four international judges, were chosen for further analysis. Three optimization criteria were used to generate undersomersault technique during the swing phase of the skill using a computer simulation model: minimization of peak joint torques, minimization of horizontal velocity before release, and maximization of angular momentum. The techniques used by both gymnasts could be explained using the second optimization criterion which facilitated further skill development. The first optimization criterion generated a technique advocated for beginners where strength might be expected to be a limiting factor. The third optimization criterion resulted in a different type of undersomersault movement of greater difficulty according to the FIG Code of Points.

Michael J. Hiley (Corresponding Author) and Maurice R. Yeadon are with the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, Loughborough University, Loughborough, U.K.

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