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The control of non-twisting somersaults using configuration changes

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posted on 22.01.2013, 13:57 authored by Fred YeadonFred Yeadon, E.C. Mikulcik
Theoretical analyses have shown that rotations of a rigid body about the principal axis cor- responding to the intermediate principal moment of inertia are unstable. This poses a potential problem for gymnasts who perform double somersaults without twist in a layout configuration. A computer simulation model is used to investigate configurational strategies for controlling such move- ments. It is shown that the build up of twist is not reduced by abduction of the arms but can be controlled by adopting a configuration with sufficient body flexion. For somersaults with a straight body, control in the form of asymmetrical arm abduction accelerations, based upon twist angular velocity and angular acceleration, is capable of preventing a build up of twist providing that the feedback time delay is less than a quarter somersault.



  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences


YEADON, M.R. and MIKULCIK, E.C., 1996. The control of non-twisting somersaults using configuration changes. Journal of Biomechanics, 29 (10), pp.1341-1348.


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This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in the Journal of Biomechanics. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published at: