Schottenbauer Publishing

Friday, September 26, 2014

Graphs Shed Light on the Science of Gymnastics

Gymnastics is an amazing sport, which can be studied scientifically in several different ways. First of all, there is a simple physics perspective on the sport: trajectory of movement, velocity, acceleration, and force. But gymnastics is much more complicated, and must include multiple aspects of the human body in order to develop a more comprehensive understanding of its movements. Biophysics data, including joint angles, electrical activity of the muscles (EMG) and heart (EKG), heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, and lung capacity add additional perspective to the sport of gymnastics.

Real scientific data on gymnastics is now available to the public in a set of science lab books, The Science of Gymnastics, from Schottenbauer Publishing. These books, which are suitable for science classes from 7th grade through 12th grade, plus some college and university, offer a variety of samples of data from the above categories. The books can be integrated into math and science classes, plus physical education, health, and coaching sessions in extracurricular sports.

Several samples from the lab manuals (Copyright 2014; All Rights Reserved) are included below. 

Discussion Questions
1) For each graph, describe the range of x and y variables.
2) Which graph above provides the data most self-evident to observers of gymnastics?
3) On Graph 1, how many times does the gymnast bound? Is the force of bounding greater than the stretch jump? If so, why?
4) On Graph 2, what is greater, the electrical activity associated with dipping down or pushing up? What occurs after the dip has been completed?
5) On Graph 3, how high is the ankle during the V-Sit, in comparison to the ankle during the L-Sit? How long is the leg? What is the angle of the V-Sit?

Data such as those above can be obtained in several series of science and math books by M. Schottenbauer, Ph.D. The first set of books are multi-volume series of graphs. Selections from these lab manuals have also been collected into anthologies: 

Graphs & Data for Science Lab: Multi-Volume Series
  • The Science of Gymnastics
  • The Science of Athletic Training 
  • The Science of Exercise Equipment 
  • The Science of Yoga, Pilates, & Ballet 

     Each of these series contains multiple volumes, with the following content:
    • Volume 1: Force & Acceleration
    • Volume 2: Biophysics (Joint Angles, EKG/EMG, Heart Rate/BP, & Breathing)
    • Volume 3: Video Analysis

Anthologies of 28 Graphs
    • The Science of Gymnastics
    • The Science of Summer Olympic Sports
    • The Science of Physical Fitness
    • The Science of Dance & Ballet
    • The Science of Yoga