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Biomechanics of technique selection in womens' artistic gymnastics

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posted on 04.08.2022, 11:51 authored by Michelle Louise Manning

Technique selection is fundamentaltoWomen’s Artistic Gymnastics with rapidly evolving difficulty and complexity; a result of changes in the scoring system and apparatus design. The aim of this research was to increase knowledge and understanding of the biomechanics underpinning female longswing techniques to determine effective technique selection. Five progressive   themes   addressed   this   aim;   contemporary   trend   analysis,   biomechanical conceptual  approach,  method  validation,  biomechanical  musculoskeletal  approach  and biomechanical energeticapproach. Elite competition provided the basis to the thesis with a strongecologicallyvalid  trend  analysis  reporting  the  straddle  Tkachev  as  the  most frequently  performed  release  skill  preceded  by  three  distinct  longswing  techniques;  arch, straddle,  pike.  Quantifying  each  technique  through  a  biomechanical  conceptual  approach enumerated differences  observed and examined their influence on key  release parameters. Significant differences (p≤0.05) were reported in the initiation and joint angular kinematics within the functional phases; however not for release parameters. Further examination into the joint kinetics and energetic demands of the gymnast were required to explain technique selection. Non-invasive methods of joint kinetic data collection are challengingwithin the elite competitiveenvironment;  therefore  indirect  methods  were  validated  to  provide confidence in the subsequent musculoskeletal approach. Inverse dynamic estimations were most   sensitive   to   kinematic   inputs   with   field   versus   lab   comparisons   highlighting systematic  differences  in  joint  moments  (0.8%RMSD  in  consistency).  Joint  kinetics provided   new   knowledge   of   the   underlying   biomechanics   of   varying   techniques, specifically   greater   shoulder   joint   moments   and   hip   joint   powers   during   the   pike longswing. Examining gymnast energetic contribution to the total gymnast-high-bar energy system  developed  anoveleffectiveness  score  highlighting  the  potential  energy  excess available  to  the  arch  (30%)  and  straddle  (2%)  techniques,  indicating the  potential  to develop  more  complex  versions  of  skills.  This  research  providescoaches  and  scientists with specificphysical  preparation  requirements  for  varying longswing techniques  and insight into the need for customised technique selection. 



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