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Maximising forward somersault rotation in springboard diving

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journal contribution
posted on 04.02.2019, 14:16 by Mark KingMark King, Pui W. Kong, Fred YeadonFred Yeadon
Performance in the flight phase of springboard diving is limited by the amounts of linear and angular momentum generated during the takeoff phase. A planar 8-segment torquedriven simulation model combined with a springboard model was used to investigate optimum takeoff technique for maximising rotation in forward dives from the one metre springboard. Optimisations were run by varying the torque activation parameters to maximise forward rotation potential (angular momentum x flight time) while allowing for movement constraints, anatomical constraints, and execution variability. With a constraint to ensure realistic board clearance and anatomical constraints to prevent joint hyperextension, the optimised simulation produced 24% more rotation potential than a simulation matching a 2½ somersault piked dive. When 2 ms perturbations to the torque onset timings were included for the ankle, knee and hip torques within the optimisation process, the model was only able to produce 87% of the rotation potential achieved in the matching simulation. This implies that a pre-planned technique cannot produce a sufficiently good takeoff and that adjustments must be made during takeoff. When the initial onset timings of the torque generators were unperturbed and 10 ms perturbations were introduced into the torque onset timings in the board recoil phase, the optimisation produced 8% more rotation potential than the matching simulation. The optimised simulation had more hip flexion and less shoulder extension at takeoff than the matching simulation. This study illustrates the difficulty of including movement variability within performance optimisation when the movement duration is sufficiently long to allow feedback corrections.


This study was supported by the International Society of Biomechanics under the Matching Dissertation Grant Program.



  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

Published in

Journal of Biomechanics




157 - 163


KING, M.A., KONG, P.W. and YEADON, M.R., 2019. Maximising forward somersault rotation in springboard diving. Journal of Biomechanics, 85, pp.157-163.


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