Upper and lower limb impact loading during artistic gymnastics foundation floor tumbling skills

Rhiannon A. Campbell, Elizabeth J. Bradshaw, Nick Ball, Adam Hunter, Wayne Spratford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The floor apparatus is associated with the highest rate of injury for male and female gymnasts in training and competition. This study aims to determine the magnitude of the upper and lower body impact loading when performing foundation floor tumbling skills and sequences. Fourteen sub-elite artistic gymnasts (male, n = 9; female, n = 5) performed eight tumbling skills and sequences while wearing four inertial measurement units (IMU; upper back, lower back, forearm, and tibia). The peak resultant acceleration (PRA) during all ground contacts was calculated. The forearm and upper back PRA were analyzed for hand contacts, while the lower back and tibia PRA were analyzed for foot contacts. Descriptive statistics (median and inter-quartile range), Wilcoxon signed-rank tests and Friedman's ANOVA were calculated between IMU positions and gymnastics skills. Distal IMUs (forearm and tibia) recorded significantly higher loading than proximal IMUs (upper and lower back) for all ground contacts. Proximal IMUs experienced dampening due to shock attenuation properties of the human body, as these positions are located further away from the impact site. Additionally, some foundation skills exposed gymnasts to higher loading when the skill was performed separately, while other skills exposed gymnasts to higher loading when the skill was performed in a tumbling sequence. Training foundation skills separately and as a part of a tumbling sequence exposes the upper and lower body structures to high levels of impact loading. These results can be used by coaches to help in the design of safe training programs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)385-394
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Sport Science
Volume24
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2024

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