Optimization of the felge on parallel bars
2013-01-17T14:52:28Z (GMT) by
The felge, or undersomersault, 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 felge must be performed without demonstrating the use of strength to achieve the final handstand position. Two male gymnasts each performed nine trials of the felge 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. The technique used by each gymnast was optimized using a computer simulation model so that the final handstand position could be achieved with straight arms. Two separate optimizations found different techniques identified in the coaching literature that are used by gymnasts. Optimum simulations resulted in improved performances through a combination of increased vertical velocity and height of the mass centre at release. Although the optimum technique found close to the gymnasts' own technique was more demanding in terms of the strength required, it offered the potential for more consistent performance and future developments in skill complexity.