How exactly does torque apply to gymnastics?

• Sundown444
In summary, torque is equal to force times distance of the lever arm, meaning that the longer the lever arm or the greater the force, the more torque is applied. In gymnastics, this can be applied to rotational momentum, where tucking in while rolling reduces rotational inertia and increases rotational speed. Being tall can also provide a greater lever arm for an opponent. Somersaults rely on conservation of angular momentum, but it's also possible to gain angular momentum through friction with the floor or vaulting horse. The equations for linear and rotational motion are similar, with force being equivalent to mass times acceleration and torque being equivalent to moment of inertia times angular acceleration.
Sundown444
Well, if I have this down correctly, torque is equal to force times distance of the lever arm. The more force or the longer the lever arm, the more torque something has. If that is true, how can you apply that to gymnastics, mainly somersaults, cartwheels, flips, spins and the like?

Last edited:
You can say that applying a given force someone's head will apply a greater torque and cause a greater rotational acceleration that applying it to, say, the chest, That, though, does not seem like a realistic scenario in gymnastics.

I think the more interesting case considers rotational momentum, which is rotational inertia multiplied by rotational speed. Since rotational inertia depends on mass distribution, "tucking in" while rolling reduces rotational inertia and so increases rotational speed (because rotational momentum is conserved). You spin faster when you curl up and slow down when you spread out.

I think I first considered this learning Aikido. When I want to stop a roll quickly, I uncurl and my rotational rotational reduces (and the floor applies an opposing torque to my arms and legs. Another aspect is that being tall provide a greater lever arm for an opponent and can be easier to know down.

Somersaults usually rely on conservation of angular momentum. For example by rotating your arms in one direction your body rotates in the other direction so the net change in angular momentum is zero.

But it's also possible to gain angular momentum by interacting with the floor or vaulting horse via friction.

If you are learning about forces and torques it might help to compare the equations for linear and rotational motion...

Force = mass * acceleration
Torque = moment of inertia * angular acceleration

Power = force * velocity
Power = torque * angular velocity

Can you see the similarity?

1. What is torque and how does it relate to gymnastics?

Torque is a term used to describe the rotational force or moment applied to an object. In gymnastics, torque is important for executing movements that involve rotation, such as flips and twists.

2. How does torque affect gymnasts' performance?

Torque plays a significant role in a gymnast's performance as it helps generate the necessary rotational force for movements. It also allows for precise control and stability during complex maneuvers.

3. What factors contribute to the production of torque in gymnastics?

The production of torque in gymnastics is influenced by several factors, including the gymnast's body weight, speed of rotation, and the distance between the center of mass and the axis of rotation.

4. Can torque be used to enhance performance in gymnastics?

Yes, torque can be used to improve performance in gymnastics through proper technique and training. By understanding how to generate and control torque, gymnasts can execute movements with greater power and precision.

5. Are there any potential risks associated with torque in gymnastics?

While torque is essential for gymnastics, it can also pose a risk of injury if not properly controlled. Excessive torque or incorrect technique can lead to strains, sprains, and other injuries. It is crucial to train and execute movements under the guidance of a coach to minimize the risk of injury.

• Mechanics
Replies
2
Views
2K
• Mechanics
Replies
30
Views
6K
• Mechanical Engineering
Replies
14
Views
712
• Mechanics
Replies
10
Views
1K
• Mechanics
Replies
1
Views
2K
• Thermodynamics
Replies
127
Views
7K
• Mechanics
Replies
2
Views
773
• Mechanics
Replies
5
Views
3K
• Mechanics
Replies
16
Views
1K
• Classical Physics
Replies
18
Views
1K