Push up, explosive push up and free fall tests to evaluate the upper body power: A preliminary study in aerobic gymnastics
Aerobic gymnastics is a competitive sport originating from traditional aerobics in which complex, high-intensity movement patterns and elements of varying difficulty are performed to music. A fundamental technique in this sport is the Push Up performed with different variations, in an explosive way and as a landing position from a jump. Given the importance of this technique and therefore of the strength of the upper limbs, the aim of this study is to apply the jump tests normally used for the evaluation of the lower limbs to the upper limbs. The study involved two gymnasts (age 16) Gold level of Italian Gymnastics Federation. Three specific tests have been performed: Push Up Jump Test (PUJT); Explosive Push Up Test (EPUT); Free Fall Test (FFT). Two force platforms were used to obtain the vertical component of the ground reaction force (GRF). Peak force (Fmax), rate of force development (RFD), symmetry index (SI), contact time (CT) and flight time (FT) were calculated. This type of analysis can provide useful information on the way in which the force is expressed by the upper limbs, furthermore the comparison between the two limbs can help to identify any asymmetries in pushing or in the management of the impact on landing. It is necessary to carry out further studies on a larger sample aimed at validating this type of test, however the information obtained can be used both to prevent injuries and to monitor and improve performance.
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