Back swing connections during gymnastics acrobatic series considerably influence technical performance and difficulties, particularly in the back somersault. The aim of this study was to compare the take-off’s kinetic and kinematic variables between two acrobatic series leading to perform the backward stretched somersault (also called salto): round-off, flic-flac to stretched salto versus round-off, tempo-salto to stretched salto. Five high level male gymnasts (age 23.17 ± 1.61 yrs; body height 1.65 ± 0.05 m; body mass 56.80 ± 7.66 kg) took part in this investigation. A force plate synchronized with a two dimensional movement analysis system was used to collect kinetic and kinematic data. Statistical analysis via the non-parametric Wilcoxon Rank-sum test showed significant differences between the take-offs’ variables. The backswing connections were different in the take-off angle, linear momentum, vertical velocity and horizontal and vertical displacements. In conclusion, considering that the higher elevation of the centre of mass in the flight phase would allow best performance and lower the risk of falls, particularly when combined to a great angular momentum, this study demonstrated that the optimal connection series was round-off, flic-flac to stretched salto which enabled the best height in the somersault. Analysis of the results suggests that both connections facilitate the performance of single and double (or triple) backward somersaults with or without rotations around the longitudinal axis. Gymnasts could perform these later while gaining height if they chose the round-off, flic-flac technique or gaining some backward displacement if they choose the round-off, salto tempo.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.