The upstart is a fundamental skill in gymnastics, requiring whole body coordination to transfer the gymnast from a swing beneath the bar to a support position above the bar. The aim of this study was to determine the solution space within which a gymnast could successfully perform an upstart. A previous study had shown that the underlying control strategy for the upstart could be accounted for by maximizing the likelihood of success while operating in a noisy environment.1 In the current study, data were collected on a senior gymnast and a computer simulation model of a gymnast and bar was used to determine the solution space for maximizing success while operating in a noisy environment. The effects of timing important actions, gymnast strength, and movement execution noise on the success of the upstart were then systematically determined. The solution space for the senior gymnast was relatively large. Decreasing strength and increasing movement execution noise reduced the size of the solution space. A weaker gymnast would have to use a different technique than that used by the senior gymnast to produce an acceptable success rate.
Michael J. Hiley and Maurice R. Yeadon are with the School of Sport, Exercise & Health Sciences at Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK.