Kinematics of the cartwheel in artistic and rhythmic gymnastics

Kinematics of the cartwheel in artistic and rhythmic gymnastics

L. Faccio, S.Giacomini, G. Perusi, M. Maggio, P. Zamparo1

1 Department of Neurological and Movement Sciences, University of Verona, Italy

Aim: The cartwheel is one of the basic elements of gymnastic but whereas in artistic gymnastics (AG) it is introduced as a basic skill to learn the round-off, in rhythmic gymnastics (RG) it is a basic choreographic element (Sands et al. 2011). The purpose of this study was to analyse the kinematic differences in the cartwheel performed in artistic and rhythmic gymnastics.Methods: Fourteen young female gymnasts (7 artistic and 7 rhythmic) with 5±1 years of experience participated to this study. They were asked to perform the cartwheel while being video recorded (Nikon Coolpix P520, 50 Hz). Times and distances were defined as follows: t0 and d0: initial position; t1 and d1= loading feet; t2 and d2= first hand touch; t3 and d3: second hand touch; t4 and d4: first foot touch; t5 and d5: second foot touch.Results: The movement amplitude was smaller in RG vs. AG (p < 0.05): d1-d0 = 0.49±0.12m vs.0.91± 0.45m; d2-d1 = 0.31±0.12m vs. 0.64± 0.19m; d4-d2: 0.26±0.07m vs. 0.45± 0.16m; d5-d0 = 2.13±0.26 vs. 3.08± 0.72m. The movement duration was also smaller in RG vs. AG (p < 0.05): t1-t0 = 0.85±0.24s vs. 0.54± 0.30s; t2-t1 = 0.12±0.03s vs. 0.09± 0.01s. In the loading phase (t1-t0), the knee angle was smaller (p<0.05) in RG (148.05±7.15°) than in AG (136.8±2.19°). No differences were found in thigh’s mean angular velocity (rad/s). The maximal vertical displacement of the hip (d5-d0) was smaller (p < 0.05) for RG (0.25±0.04m) than for AG (0.34±0.09m).

Conclusions: In RG the movement is “less curvilinear” than in AG: for the same angular speed, the knee angle in the loading phase is smaller and hence the vertical displacement of the hip is also smaller. As a consequence movement amplitude and duration are smaller in RG than in AG.


Sands WA, Salmela JH, Holvoet P, Gateva M (2011) The science of gymnastics. Routlegde, NY