Biomechanical responses to landing strategies of female artistic gymnasts

Rebecca Straker, Timothy A. Exell, Roman Farana, Joseph Hamill, Gareth Irwin

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Abstract

Inconsistencies between sexes in the landing criteria provided by the international gymnastics governing body (FIG) may predispose female gymnasts to lower extremity injury. This study aimed to investigate lower extremity biomechanics when performing the male and female landing strategy. Seven collegiate, female gymnasts (age: 20.5 ± 1.2 years, height: 1.64 ± 0.06 m, mass: 60.4 ± 10.2 kg) performed drop landings using the prescribed women’s and men’s landing strategy. Kinematic and kinetic data from 10 trials of each landing strategy were collected. Differences between landing strategy at individual and group level for key injury risk variables of the lower limb were explored. Group differences (p ≤ .05) were reported in the sagittal range of motion (ROM) at the knees and hips, with the men’s landing strategy eliciting a larger ROM decelerating the body upon impact. Large inter and intra-individual variation was apparent with different movement responses shown across individuals and demonstrating degeneracy as gymnasts satisfied the overall landing objective. These results indicate an individually favoured landing strategy to fulfil the informational constraints and hence supporting the use of a single-subject design. The current study emphasises the potential injury risk associated with the different informational constraints placed on females’ landing strategy by the FIG, whilst recognising the individual gymnasts’ task response.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Sport Science
Early online date27 Sep 2021
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online - 27 Sep 2021

Keywords

  • Injury prevention
  • impact biomechanics
  • instructional constraints
  • single-subject design

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