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Spiros G. Prassas

A biomechanical model of the press handstand was developed to evaluate and predict the shoulder joint torque requirements as well as the motion of a gymnast’s center of mass (CM) from an initial to a final (handstand) position. Five press handstands executed by gymnasts of differing abilities were filmed and analyzed. The results were compared to the predicted parameters of simulated presses. It was found that execution of the skill with fewer fluctuations in trunk and lower extremities angular velocity—a characteristic of skilled performance—required smoother and at times larger shoulder joint torques. Reduction of the hip joint angle by only 5 or 10° did not substantially reduce the shoulder joint torque requirements. Regarding CM motion, it was found that during performance the CM continuously elevated and remained close to a vertical line passing through the center of the wrist joint. All gymnasts, however, were found to be leaning slightly backward during the first part of the movement and slightly forward during the later phases. Modifications in wrist joint angle required to maintain each gymnast’s CM precisely above the center of the wrist joint were investigated.

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Linda S. Masser

Two studies were done to determine the effectiveness of giving “critical cues” to first-grade subjects as they learned to perform handstands and forward rolls. Both studies took place in a public school setting using intact first-grade classes randomly assigned to different groups (handstands N = 69; forward rolls N = 44). All subjects were pretested, posttested immediately following treatment, and posttested again several months later. Pre- and posttest scores were analyzed using a factorial analysis with repeated measures. Results from the two studies would seem to support the learning theory that early stages of learning motor skills are dominated by cognitive concerns. Critical cues seemed to help young learners become cognitively aware and to then concentrate on the important biomechanical action they needed to practice to achieve significant, p<.05, long-term improvement in their handstands and their forward rolls.

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Yoshiaki Takei, J. Hubert Dunn, Hiroshi Nohara, and Mamoru Kamimura

The subjects were 25 American and 28 Japanese gymnasts filmed during national championships. Performances were analyzed to determine the effect of grip technique at bar regrasp. It was hypothesized that the new outer grip technique would achieve significantly higher body angle and center of gravity (CG) than the inner grip technique at bar regrasp, qualities that are essential for successful performance of the basket to handstand mount on the parallel bars. It was further hypothesized that the new outer grip technique would achieve significantly (a) greater angular speed of arm rotation and vertical displacement of CG during the upward inverted swing and (b) higher body angle and CG at bar release. The results revealed significant differences in all of the areas hypothesized in favor of the new outer grip technique. Although the technique must be refined to control the tendency for excessive body arching at bar release, the new outer grip has the technical advantage for pursuing virtuosity points and new maneuvers.

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Maurice R. Yeadon and Grant Trewartha

The goal of this study was to investigate the control strategy employed by gymnasts in maintaining a hand balance. It was hypothesized that a “wrist strategy” was used in which perturbations in the sagittal plane were corrected using variations in wrist flexor torque with synergistic shoulder and hip torques acting to preserve a fixed body configuration. A theoretical model of wrist strategy indicated that control could be effected using wrist torque that was a linear function of mass center displacement and velocity. Four male gymnasts executed hand balances and 2-dimensional inverse dynamics was used to determine net joint torque time histories at the wrist, shoulder, and hip joints in the sagittal plane. Wrist torque was regressed against mass center position and velocity values at progressively earlier times. It was found that all gymnasts used the wrist strategy, with time delays ranging from 160 to 240 ms. The net joint torques at the shoulder and hip joints were regressed against the torques required to maintain a fixed configuration. This fixed configuration strategy accounted for 86% of the variance in the shoulder torque and 86% of the variance in the hip torque although the actual torques exceeded the predicted torques by 7% and 30%, respectively. The estimated time delays are consistent with the use of long latency reflexes, whereas the role of vestibular and visual information in maintaining a hand balance is less certain.

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Karen Murtaugh and Doris I. Miller

To determine strategies for initiating rotation in armstand back and reverse triple somersaults tuck dives from the 10-m platform, videotaped records of 17 elite male divers performing in competitions between 1995 and 1999 were analyzed. Linear and angular momenta at last contact were similar for both dives. Although the lower extremity actions were comparable, they occurred significantly earlier (p < .05) in reverse triple takeoffs, allowing divers to enter the tuck more quickly. As divers lean, the moment arm of the vertical platform reaction force increases with respect to the CG. The vertical platform reaction force moment promotes back and opposes reverse somersaulting angular momentum. Meanwhile, the horizontal platform reaction force moment promotes reverse and opposes back somersaulting angular momentum. Consequently, divers performing reverse triples maintained a more vertical trunk position during the early part of the takeoff, while those executing back triples leaned further before initiating lower and upper extremity actions to exert force against the platform. Since the strategy for reverse rotation may result in the head passing close to the platform and there is very little to gain in degree of difficulty, it is recommended that competitors execute back rather than reverse somersaulting armstand dives.

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Eric J. Sprigings, Joel L. Lanovaz, and Keith W. Russell

Backward giant swings on rings were performed by 2 elite gymnasts from both a stationary and a swinging handstand position. One of the ring cables was instrumented so that tension values could be recorded. Muscle torques and corresponding power profiles for the hip and shoulder joints were calculated and used to interpret the movement patterns displayed by the gymnasts. The hip-flexors played a primary role in preventing excessive hyper-extension of the hip joint during the downward swing. Overall, during the backward giant swing, the hip-joint flexors/extensors acted as a net energy sink for the system rather than as a source of energy generation. The piking motion that was observed to take place just past the bottom of the swing was primarily due to the momentum built up in the legs during the rapid straightening of the body during the bottom of the swing. The shoulder flexors/extensors functioned as the primary source of energy generation to the system. From a swinging handstand, with an initial handstand swing amplitude of 16°, the gymnasts were able to arrive at the next handstand position with approximately 6–7.5° of residual swing, which was close to the optimal value of 4° predicted by computer simulation.

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Michael J. Hiley and Maurice R. Yeadon

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.

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Dana Vander Wal, Brenda Potter, Shannon L. David, and Nicole German

gymnastics events approximately 13 weeks following surgery. The athlete started with nonweight bearing tumbling and progressed to basic weight-bearing tumbling (i.e., handstands and backhand springs). The athlete progressed from softer surfaces (with less impact) to harder surfaces. She progressed the bar

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Jožef Šimenko and Vedran Hadžić

. The warm-up included walking, jogging, calisthenics, and gymnastic-type of movements (forward rolls, backward rolls, handstands, handstand to forward roll, backward roll to handstand, cartwheels, round off, and headspring). That was followed by judo brake falls, uchi-komi, and nage-komi. Figure 1

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Fatih Dervent, Phillip Ward, Erhan Devrilmez, and Emi Tsuda

student ( Shulman, 1987 ; Ward & Ayvazo, 2016 ). Consider a teacher teaching gymnastics. If we asked the teacher to describe how to teach the handstand, the teacher might list a variety of task progressions beginning with animal walks and progressing to walking up a wall, and then to kicking to a