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The biomechanics of twisting somersaults. Part II: contact twist

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posted on 17.09.2009, 13:36 by Fred Yeadon
A simulation model and a rigid body model are used to investigate twisting initiated during the takeoff or contact phase. It is shown that it is possible to produce a full twist solely by building up angular momentum in the arms during the contact phase. This method is only half as effective as building up momentum in the whole body during contact. The introduction of twist into a somersault changes the somersault rate by less than 1%. By timing arm adduction appropriately, it is possible to take advantage of nutation and boost the initial value of the tilt angle and so obtain a greater twist rate. Twist may be stopped by the action of piking, since the motion changes from the twisting mode to the wobbling mode of rigid body motion. Transition to and from these two modes can be used to increase or decrease the tilt angle and twist rate.



  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences


YEADON, M.R., 1993. The biomechanics of twisting somersaults. Part II: contact twist. Journal of Sports Sciences, 11 (3), pp. 199-208


© Taylor & Francis


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This article was published in the serial, Journal of Sports Sciences [© Taylor and Francis]. The definitive version is available at: