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Forces in Gymnastics

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Abby Sullivan

on 10 December 2013

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Transcript of Forces in Gymnastics

Forces in Gymnastics
This law states that an object in motion or at rest will stay that way, unless acted on by another force.
If your coach is spotting you as you do a skill, the force from them to you, will make it easier for you to complete the skill.
Some examples of this law are:
-you cannot do a back handspring without getting force from pushing down into the floor.
-you can’t swing on the bar without the bar giving any force to move, as in the picture.
-when vaulting, if you didn’t get any torque (block) from the horse, you wouldn’t be able to do anything off the horse flipping wise.

Newton's First Law
There are two types of friction mainly seen in gymnastics. They are static and sliding friction.
Static: You have to push down into the floor to get acceleration to move. The more more you put into the floor, the higher you will be in the skill.
Sliding: Once you overcome static friction, you will be doing any skill because you will be in motion. To prevent sliding friction on for example, vault, gymnasts may put chalk on their hands or on the vault to prevent sliding off.
As you can see in the picture, the gymnast, Gabby Douglas has grips on her hands. Your grips prevent friction from going directly on the bar, so that you don't get blisters. Chalk actually increases friction, but helps your grip on the bar and gives a smoother glide.

An object's acceleration depends on the mass of an object and the amount of force applied to it.
Male gymnasts are very powerful and muscular, so they will usually have greater mass than female gymnasts. They will usually be able to swing faster and jump higher because of this.
The more mass a gymnast has, the more force is needed for them to do certain skills.

Newton's Second Law
Newton's Third Law
The amount of force you put on the equipment will give you the same amount back.
If you put more force of the floor, for example, the higher you will flip. Quoting from the Math 2033 article on gymnastics, "In gymnastics, gymnasts use their first sequence of moves to gain momentum."
This will help you build up speed so that you have enough force to do the skill.
Gymnasts defy gravity by flipping through the air in ways people never thought would be possible. As said in the ESPN Sport Science video, the best athletes in the world may just be gymnasts. When a gymnast flips, gravity is actually pushing down on them. To get enough height when they flip, gymnasts have to use enough force and acceleration to reach that. You need less force to do a cartwheel, than you do for a backflip. This means less gravity will act against you on the carwheel, and more on the backflip.

Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. (forces come in pairs)
The amount of force you put on the floor will give you that same amount back. In the Youtube video titled "Physics of Gymnastics", it talks about McKayla Maroney's vault and states as she lands: "Opens her body as gravity pulls her down, and she bends her knees to absorb the shock of the landing as external force applies to her body." This is saying that the mat is putting an equal force back onto her, preventing the gymnast from going through it. In the picture, the gymnast is putting a force on the vault. It will give her that same amount of force back, but in the opposite direction. If she didn't put enough force on the vault, she could fall on the skill.
The equipment in gymnastics has changed very much over the years. In 2001, the vault was changed to allow gymnasts to perform harder vaults in a safer way. The bars have also changed greatly. They used to be two mens parallel bars set at two different heights, like in the picture. Now they are much safer, and a lot farther apart. Lastly, as surprising as it may seem, the balance beam used to be finished wood, with no padding. Now, it has covering allowing a gymnast to do harder skills without getting injured.

Technological Advances
Full transcript