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Strategies of elite Chinese gymnasts in coping with landing impact from backward somersault

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Authors

Chengliang Wu,; Weiya Hao; Qichang Mei; Xiaofei Xiao; Xuhong Li; and Wei Sun.

Abstract

This study aimed to investigate how elite Chinese gymnasts manage the landing impact from a backward somersault. Six international-level male gymnasts performed backward somersault tests with a synchronous collection of kinematics (250 Hz), ground reaction forces (1,000 Hz), and surface electromyography (EMG) (2,000 Hz). A 19-segment human model was developed and lower extremity joints torques were calculated by means of a computer simulation. The angles of the lower extremity joints initially extended and then flexed. These angular velocities of extension continued to decrease and the joint torques changed from extensor to flexor within 100 ms before touchdown. The angles of the hips, knees, and ankles flexed rapidly by 12°, 36°, and 29°, respectively, and the angular velocities of flexion, flexor torque, and EMG peaked sharply during the initial impact phase of the landing. The angles of the hips, knees, and ankles flexed at approximately 90°, 100°, and 80°, respectively. The torques were reversed with the extensor torques, showing a relatively high level of muscle activation during the terminal impact phase of the landing. The results showed that the international-level gymnasts first extended their lower extremity joints, then flexed just before touchdown. They continued flexing actively and rapidly in the initial impact phase and then extended to resist the landing impact and maintain body posture during the terminal impact phase of the landing. The information gained from this study could improve our understanding of the landings of elite gymnasts and assist in injury prevention.

Link

Wu C, Hao W, Mei Q, Xiao X, Li X, Sun W. Strategies of elite Chinese gymnasts in coping with landing impact from backward somersault. PeerJ. 2019;7:e7914. Published 2019 Oct 25. doi:10.7717/peerj.7914

Keywords

Landing impact, Lower extremity, Peak vGRF, Joint angles, Joint angular velocity

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