Gymnastics Essay

737 Words 3 Pages
In gymnastics, the physics involved in energy, Newton’s Laws of Motion, and angular momentum each contribute immensely to being successful in the Olympics. Learning how to master these physical science concepts can aid in becoming a strong olympic gymnast. To begin, there is the running start; this is where energy plays a major role. During a gymnast’s running start for a vault, she gains kinetic energy, which is, simply put, the energy of motion. Looking at the equation for kinetic energy (KE = (½) mv^2), you can see that the more velocity produced during the gymnast’s initial run, the more kinetic energy she will have for the rest of the vault. Once the gymnast is at the top of her skill, for example, a handstand position at the top of bars, …show more content…
Next, three of the most influential factors in gymnastics are Newton’s Laws of Motion. Newton’s first law of motion states, “Objects in motion will stay in motion unless acted upon by an outside force,” this is applicable to when the gymnast is running toward the vault, as well as, when the gymnast is in the air. Gymnasts use their own force to propel themselves around the bar when performing the uneven bars event and will remain in motion unless acted upon by an outside force, and, in this case, the outside force would be gravity pulling the gymnast downward. Newton’s second law of motion states, “Mass and acceleration are directly proportional in regards to force,” or, “F = (m)(a).” In reference to gymnastics, this means that the more mass and acceleration a gymnast has while running, the greater the force produced on the vault. Because a gymnast’s mass is relatively stable, she must work to reach her maximum acceleration during her run in order to produce her maximum …show more content…
The force she exerts on the ground is given right back to her, lifting her off of the ground for twists and tumbling. Lastly, angular momentum is the physics concept that applies most to the creations of flips and twists that gymnasts perform. The more vertical angle produced by a gymnast, the greater the force will be in order to propel her higher into the air. Once in the air, the gymnast can no longer create momentum and must work with the amount she has created; this is the Law of Conservation of Momentum embodied by Newton’s First Law of Motion. The greater angular momentum a gymnast has created by pushing off from a surface at an angle, the more potential she will have for flips. You can find a gymnast’s angular momentum with the formula: L = (r)(m)(v). By analyzing the equation, you can determine that, while the mass (m) and angular momentum (L) are considered a constant, lowering the distance of the body from the axis of rotation (r), will lead to an increase in velocity (v), this velocity allows for the gymnast to attain the maximum amount of force, leading to more potential for twists and flips while in the

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