Edited by Dwight Normile
FORCE always acts in the precise straight-line direction in which it is applied. Consequently, any
body in motion as a result of applied
force tends to travel its same
straight-line path, and accelerates at
a rate proportional to that force’s
magnitude. The only factor which can
alter this is the introduction of one or
more additional forces.
During the descent phase of the
overgrip giant, the force of gravity tends to accelerate the performer’s mass downward in a straight line. The body’s mass
center, however, does not travel straight downward, but
instead, circles relative to its fixed axis (bar).
The action of the gymnast pulling against the bar causes a
simultaneous reaction of the bar pulling against the gymnast.
Because this action-reaction is equal in magnitude and opposite in direction, the effects would seem to cancel out. Yet this
is not the case, for the action of the gymnast pulling against
the bar cannot possibly move the apparatus. However, the
reaction of the bar pulling against the gymnast does possess
sufficient magnitude to produce continuous change in direction of the gymnast’s light mass. The observed effect of this
action-reaction scenario is a circular pattern of the total body
unit about the bar.
ILLUSTRATION: JAMES STEPHENSON
Tangent-release: If the gymnast were to release her hand-grasp at any time while circling about the bar, this mutual
force relationship would cease to exist, and her body would
be projected away from the bar in a straight-line at an angle
perpendicular to its radius of rotation. Once airborne, the
body’s mass center would then travel a perfectly regular,
curved path (parabolic trajectory). This is precisely what
occurs in the double-flyaway dismount shown in the illustration at right.
Effective use of this principle requires a clear understanding of the intended direction and objective of the skill’s airborne phase, so the release can be timed accordingly.
Adapted from “Championship Gymnastics” by Gerald S. George,
Ph.D. For more information, visit www.winninggymnastics.com.
When a gymnast releases the bar, her center
of mass will be projected at a right angle to its
radius, and then follow a parabolic trajectory.
Exceptions to the parabolic trajectory outcome: If the gymnast lets go at the 3 o’clock
or 9 o’clock position, her body would be projected either straight up or straight down.
2010 Rotterdam World Championships: New Elements (men)
Handspring 1.5 salto forward to stand: D
Matteo Morandi (Italy)
Back lever press to inverted cross: F
Kip to V-cross: D
Giant salto-half to support
(bent or straight arms): E
Tkatchev-half turn to
regrasp in elgrip: E
• SR: From inverted hang, felge
backward slowly with straight arms
and straight body to L-sit (B)
Federico Molinari (Argentina)
• PB: Giant to handstand on 1-bar
with no turn of body (D)
• PB: Bhavsar to upper arms (C)
Mahmoud Alsadi (Qatar)