Investigation of spinal posture signatures and ground reaction forces during landing in elite female gymnasts
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The link between static and dynamic landing lumbar postures, when gymnasts are exposed to large ground reaction forces, has not been established. This investigation aimed to (a) determine if a relationship exists between sagittal static and dynamic landing lumbar spine angles at peak ground reaction force (GRF) and (b) quantify how close to end-range postures the gymnasts were at landing peak GRF. Twenty-one female gymnasts’ upper and lower lumbar spine angles were recorded: statically in sitting and standing, during landing of three gymnastic skills, and during active end-range lumbar flexion. Pearson’s correlations were used to investigate relationships between the angles in different postures. Significant correlations (r = .77–.89, p < .01) were found between all the static/dynamic postures in the lower lumbar spine angle, while fewer and less significant upper lumbar spine correlations were reported. Thirty percent of gymnasts landed a backsault with their lower lumbar spine flexed beyond their active end-range while experiencing GRF 6.8–13.3 times their body weight. These results inform low back pain prevention and management strategies in this population and highlight areas for future research.
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