Exploratory Investigation of Impact Loads During the Forward Handspring Vault

by Gabriella Penitente, William A. Sands

Published in the Journal of Human Kinetics

The purpose of this study was to examine kinematic and kinetic differences in low and high intensity hand support impact loads during a forward handspring vault.

A high-speed video camera (500 Hz) and two portable force platforms (500 Hz) were installed on the surface of the vault table.

Two-dimensional analyses were conducted on 24 forward handspring vaults performed by 12 senior level, junior Olympic program female gymnasts (16.9 ±1.4 yr; body height 1.60 ±0.1 m; body mass 56.7 ±7.8 kg).

Load intensities at impact with the vault table were classified as low (peak force < 0.8 x body weight) and high (peak force > 0.8 x body weight). These vaults were compared via crucial kinetic and kinematic variables using independent t-tests and Pearson correlations.

Statistically significant (p < 0.001) differences were observed in peak force (t(24) = 4.75, ES = 3.37) and time to peak force (t(24) = 2.07, ES = 1.56). Statistically significant relationships between the loading rate and time to peak force were observed for high intensity loads. Peak force, time to peak force, and a shoulder angle at impact were identified as primary variables potentially involved in the determination of large repetitive loading rates on the forward handspring vault

That’s posted on Dr. Sand’s website – The Advanced Study of Gymnastics.

And it’s also available on the  Journal of Human Kinetics website.

Click through if you’d like to see their conclusions.

NY Times – Laís Souza documentary

… At 25, Souza was one of Brazil’s best gymnasts, a tiny two-time Olympian, and she had just heard exciting news: She had qualified for yet another Olympics. But this was the 2014 Winter Games, something completely new, and it gave her accomplishment an added resonance. In less than a week, Souza would be traveling to Sochi, Russia, to compete in aerial skiing, a sport she had never even heard of before taking it up seven months earlier. …

Celebrating the announcement, Laís, her coach and teammate Josi Santos, another gymnast, went skiing. On a black diamond run, Laís somehow fell into the trees.

She was paralyzed. :-(

Click PLAY or watch the documentary on YouTube. It’s honest. And Laís is making progress.

NY Times – SPORTS | A Life in Motion, Stopped Cold

South African gymnast Brandon Beack

… In August 2012, Brandon’s goals changed dramatically. He had a bad dismount at gymnastics training and fell on his head and back. He compressed his 6th and 7th vertebra which has left him paralyzed from the chest down.

He is working hard daily to regain some/all of his physical ability.

Walking with Brandon

Click PLAY or watch his story on YouTube. (17min)

Artistic & Rhythmic Seminar Brazil

Oct 2-3, 2015
São Paulo

The IV International Seminar on Competitive Artistic and Rhythmic Gymnastics is a scientific-academic event that includes conferences, debates and scientific works presentations.

The event is organized by the three public university of São Paulo State: USP, Unesp and Unicamp. Those institutions are responsible for the qualification of a great deal of researchers, professors and coaches who work in the area of gymnastics. …


Brazil Seminar

genetic testing for sports injuries


A new review article published in the Journal of Sports Medicine concludes that genetics play a key role in a person’s risk of suffering from sports injuries. That holds true for athletes of all ages and all abilities, from weekend warriors to Olympians. …

Get Injured Often? It Could Be In Your Genes.

Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine – The Dawning Age of Genetic Testing for Sports Injuries

Science of Gymnastics Journal

“With this issue (17th) we cross the threshold of 100 published articles which is quite a significant number for a highly specialized journal,” editor Ivan Cuk writes …

Cuk, who sits on the Faculty of Sport at the University of Ljubljana (SLO), has been the editor-in-chief of the journal since its first publication in 2009 …

The February 2015 edition of the journal includes six articles on varying topics, including “Low Back Pain and the Possible Role of Pilates in Artistic Gymnastics” and an analysis of “Landing Characteristics In Men’s Floor Exercise at the 2004 European Championship” as well as historical notes on Larissa Latynina (USSR), Vera Caslavska (CZE) and Viktor Cukarin (USSR). …

Download the entire Journal on the publication’s website here.


click for larger version
click for larger version

Damian Jeraj and Thomas Heinen

(via FIG)

National Injury Database

Dr. Bill Sands as put up some preliminary data from his proposed crowdsourced national injury database for gymnastics.

Only 103 injury reports, so far, but here’s a sample graphic showing the kind of visuals that can be produced.

sample data

See other graphs like this here.

The more injury reports submitted, the better. If you’ve got some injury stats from your club, please click over to gymnasticsinjurydata.com and contribute. It’s completely anonymous. This could be very valuable.