Is a single or double arm technique more advantageous in triple jumping?

2010-12-20T09:08:26Z (GMT) by Sam Allen Mark King Fred Yeadon
Triple jumpers employ either an asymmetrical ‘single-arm’ action or symmetrical ‘double-arm’ action in the takeoff of each phase of the jump. This study investigated which technique is more beneficial in each phase using computer simulation. Kinematic data were obtained from an entire triple jump using a Vicon automatic motion capture system. A planar 13-segment torque-driven subject-specific computer simulation model was evaluated by varying torque generator activation timings using a genetic algorithm in order to match performance data. The matching produced a close agreement between simulation and performance, with differences of 3.8%, 2.7%, and 3.1% for the hop, step, and jump phases respectively. Each phase was optimised for jump distance and an increase in jump distance beyond the matched simulations of 3.3%, 11.1%, and 8.2% was obtained for the hop, step, and jump respectively. The optimised technique used symmetrical shoulder flexion whereas the triple jumper had used an asymmetrical arm technique. This arm action put the leg extensors into slower concentric conditions allowing greater extensor torques to be produced. The main increases in work came at the joints of the stance leg but the largest increases in angular impulse came at the shoulder joints, indicating the importance of both measures when assessing the impact of individual joint actions on changes in technique. Possible benefits of the double-arm technique include: cushioning the stance leg during impact; raising the centre of mass of the body at takeoff; facilitating an increase in kinetic energy at takeoff; allowing a re-orientation of the body during flight.