Biomechanical evolution of the Tkachev on uneven bars in female gymnastics

Gareth Irwin, Timothy A. Exell, Michelle L. Manning, David G. Kerwin

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The development of joint kinematics and kinetics is fundamental to the successful performance of complex flight skills in gymnastics bar routines. Biomechanical understanding of these skills can provide coaches and scientists with key information to make training safe and effective. The Tkachev is a complex and popular gymnastics skill with many different variations. Recently, a new version has been performed, which has become popular with elite female performers. This study examined the key biomechanical characteristics of this skill and contrasted these to the earlier versions reported. Elite female gymnasts (n  =  5) were recorded and manually digitised using twin video cameras (50 Hz) at the 2007 World Gymnastics Championships. Three-dimensional (3D) DLT was used to reconstruct the real world coordinates. Individualised inertia characteristics were calculated and used to determine mass centre kinematics. Inverse dynamics analysis was used to calculate joint kinetics at the hips and shoulders from the known values at the toes. The results of this study showed an increased flight time and rotational capacity during the aerial phase for the toe-on Tkachev, as well as a more simple movement pattern and joint kinetic demand with single power impulses at the hips and shoulders compared with previous versions. The key finding of this study was that the toe-on version appeared to be less physically demanding than that the inward and outward techniques, and provide the opportunity to perform more complex aerial phase body positions. These results can help coaches to physically prepare their gymnasts and biomechanists in terms of understanding the demands of these skills.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-28
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Biomechanics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 28 Nov 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • biomechanics
  • joint kinetics
  • skill development


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