If you ever thought it was landing from jumps that caused your feet to take a pounding in class, think again. A recent study from biomechanics specialists in the Department of Kinesiology, California State University, has revealed just what forces are put through the body when dancers leap through the air.
The researchers used three-dimensional motion analysis software and force plates to collect movement data while experienced dancers performed a series of Saut de Chat leaps (also known as Grand Jete Developpes).
Analysis of the data showed that the feet are actually under most strain during takeoff, with significant braking forces being exerted through the metatarsophalangeal joints as the forward momentum of the dancer is suddenly slowed, and translated into upward momentum. In contrast, landing places the greatest kinetic demands on the hips, as the force of the landing travels upwards, towards the body’s centre of gravity.
So, remember. When you are preparing for a leap, controlling your take off is just as important as controlling your landing.
Stay safe! Stay strong!
Beth Jones, PhD xxx
Source: Jarvis & Kulig. Med Probl Perform Art. 2016;31:211-217 - Lower Extremity Biomechanical Demands During Saut de Chat Leaps