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Biomechanical evaluation of circles with a suspended aid Open Access


Other title
pommel horse
reaction force
training aid
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Fujihara, Toshiyuki
Supervisor and department
Gervais, Pierre (Physical Education and Recreation)
Examining committee member and department
Misiaszek, John (Occupational Therapy and Centre for Neuroscience)
Irwin, Gareth (Cardiff School of Sport, Sports Biomechanics, University of Wales Institute Cardiff)
Maraj, Brian (Physical Education and Recreation)
Baudin, Pierre (Physical Education and Recreation)
Chiu, Loren (Physical Education and Recreation)
Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
The objective of this thesis was to biomechanically examine the potential usage and limitations of a suspended aid for practicing circles on a pommel horse. The first study examined the influence of a suspended aid on the pommel reaction forces. Twenty gymnasts performed three sets of 10 circles with and without a suspended aid on a pommel horse under which two force plates were set. The results confirmed that the aid could reduce the magnitude of the pommel reaction forces during circles while maintaining the general loading pattern. The second and third studies analysed circles performed by 18 gymnasts with and without the aid from kinematic and kinetic standpoints, respectively. Three-dimensional motion analysis was conducted based on the coordinates of anatomical landmarks, the pommel reaction forces, and the cable tension in the suspended aid. The results demonstrated that circles with the aid actually appeared to be more desirable in terms of the movement amplitude. However, the slowness of circles was inevitably involved with the use of the aid. Also, the net hip joint moments were altered during circles with the aid due to the external force applied from the aid to the leg segments. Finally, the fourth study tested how circles with a suspended aid would vary depending on the gymnast’s level of expertise. Based on the scores given by four judges, the gymnasts were classified into the expert and intermediate groups. Additionally, a developing group of eight gymnasts performed three sets of 10 circles with the suspended aid. They could perform circles on a training apparatus, called a mushroom, but not on a pommel horse. This study revealed that the suspended aid could be used in a progressive manner depending on the gymnast’s level of expertise. Taken together, a suspended aid could function as kinematic assistance to let gymnasts experience a desired movement pattern or reduce the pommel reaction forces for a purpose such as control of training volume or rehabilitation. We suggest that practice of circles with a suspended aid should emphasize (1) shorter total duration, (2) larger shoulder rotation, and (3) greater hip joint stability.
License granted by Toshiyuki Fujihara ( on 2011-07-07T07:09:44Z (GMT): Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of the above terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis, and except as herein provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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File title: 11 PHD final 2 after FGSR review
File author: Toshiyuki Fujihara
Page count: 166
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