Loughborough University
Thesis-2015-Burke.pdf (3.56 MB)

The mechanics of the contact phase in trampolining

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posted on 2015-02-16, 16:41 authored by Dave Burke
During the takeoff for a trampoline skill the trampolinist should produce sufficient vertical velocity and angular momentum to permit the required skill to be completed in the aerial phase without excessive horizontal travel. The aim of this study was to investigate the optimum technique to produce forward somersault rotation. A seven-segment, subject-specific torque-driven computer simulation model of the takeoff in trampolining was developed in conjunction with a model of the reaction forces exerted on the trampolinist by the trampoline suspension system. The ankle, knee, hip, and shoulder joints were torque-driven, with the metatarsal-phalangeal and elbow joints angle-driven. Kinematic data of trampolining performances were obtained using a Vicon motion capture system. Segmental inertia parameters were calculated from anthropometric measurements. Viscoelastic parameters governing the trampoline were determined by matching an angle-driven model to the performance data. The torque-driven model was matched to the performance data by scaling joint torque parameters from the literature, and varying the activation parameters of the torque generators using a simulated annealing algorithm technique. The torque-driven model with the scaled isometric strength was evaluated by matching the performance data. The evaluation produced close agreement between the simulations and the performance, with an average difference of 4.4% across three forward rotating skills. The model was considered able to accurately represent the motion of a trampolinist in contact with a trampoline and was subsequently used to investigate optimal performance. Optimisations for maximum jump height for different somersaulting skills and maximum rotation potential produced increases in jump height of up to 14% and increases of rotation potential up to 15%. The optimised technique for rotation potential showed greater shoulder flexion during the recoil of the trampoline and for jump height showed greater plantar flexion and later and quicker knee extension before takeoff. Future applications of the model can include investigations into the sensitivity of the model to changes in initial conditions, and activation, strength, and trampoline parameters.


British Gymnastics



  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences


© David John Burke

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This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.


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