Technique Analysis Of The Kip On The Parallel Bars Perfonned By Elite Gymnasts

  • Spiros G. Prassas
Keywords: technique, gymnastics


Within the sport of gymnastics, where hundreds of skills exist, few movements could be considered fundamental. The kip, performed frequently on several apparatuses by both male and female gymnasts, is one of the fundamental skills. With obvious resulting benefits in improving performance, increasing efficiency of performance and decreasing the incidence of injuIy, one would expect extensive study of the skill in question. Review of the literature, however, reveals that the related research is limited and confined to either the kip on the high bar or on the uneven bars. The kip on the parallel bars, chosen as a required skill in compulsory competition, has .not yet been studied. Although similarities between the mechanics of the kip in all apparatuses would be expected, the similarities cannot be conclusive until relative data becomes available. It was, thus, the purpose of this investigation to study the mechanics of the kip on the parallel bars and to identify the differences in technique between the most and least skilful kips. Thirty seven kips, recorded during the 1990 Winter Nationals and 1990 United States Gymnastics Federation Championships with a NAC 400 HSV camera operating at 200 Hz, were analyzed utilizing the Ariel Performance Analysis System (APAS). Two dimensional position data of 4 (for kips without knee or elbow joint flexion) to 6 (kips with elbow andlor knee joint flexion) body points were digitally smoothed before being submitted to further analysis. Results indicate that in addition to differences in the magnitude of several of the kinematic variables studied (segmental angles to horizontal, shoulder and hip joint intersegmental angles and angular velocities, center of mass displacement and velocity), timing differences between the most and least skilful kips in joint and segmental motion exist. Furthmore, there are indications that the timing differences between the kips might be more critical than the differences in magnitude.