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Modelling a viscoelastic gymnastics landing mat during impact

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journal contribution
posted on 24.11.2010 by Chris Mills, Matthew Pain, Fred Yeadon
Landing mats that undergo a large amount of area deformation are now essential for the safe completion of landings in gymnastics. The objective of this study was to develop an analytical model of a landing mat that reproduces the key characteristics of the mat-ground force during impact with minimal simulation runtime. A force plate and two high-speed video cameras were used to record the mat deformation during vertical drop testing of a 24 kg impactor. Four increasingly complex point mass spring-damper models, from a single mass-spring-damper system, Model 1, through to a 3 layer mass-spring-damper system, Model 4, were constructed using Matlab to model the mat’s behaviour during impact. A fifth model compromised of a 3 layer mass-spring-damper system was developed using visual Nastran 4D. The results showed that Models 4 and 5 were able to match the loading phase of the impact with simulation times of less than one second for Model 4 and 28 seconds for Model 5. Both Models 4 and 5 successfully reproduced the key force time characteristics of the mat-ground interface, such as peak forces, time of peak forces, inter-peak minima and initial rates of loading and could be incorporated into a gymnast-mat model.



  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences


MILLS, C., PAIN, M.T.G. and YEADON, M.R., 2006. Modelling a viscoelastic gymnastics landing mat during impact. Journal of Applied Biomechanics, 22 (2), pp.103-111.


© Human Kinetics Publishers, Inc.


AM (Accepted Manuscript)

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This article was published in the serial, Journal of Applied Biomechanics [© Human Kinetics Publishers, Inc.]. The definitive version is available at:






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