The Sciences

NCBI ROFL: Double feature: swinging and pumping techniques.

DiscoblogBy ncbi roflSep 14, 2011 4:00 AM


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An assessment of swinger techniques for the playground swing oscillatory motion. Much attention has been devoted to how playground swing amplitudes are built up by swinger techniques, i.e. body actions. However, very little attention has been given to the requirements that such swinger techniques place on the swinger himself. The purpose of this study was to find out whether different swinger techniques yield significantly different maximum torques, endurance and coordinative skills, and also to identify preferable techniques. We modelled the seated swinger as a rigid dumbbell and compared three different techniques. A series of computer simulations were run with each technique, testing the performance with different body rotational speeds, delayed onset of body rotation and different body mass distributions, as swing amplitudes were brought up towards 90°. One technique was found to be extremely sensitive to the timing of body actions, limiting swing amplitudes to 50° and 8° when body action was delayed by 0.03 and 0.3 s, respectively. Two other more robust techniques reached 90° even with the largest of these delays, although more time (and endurance) was needed. However, these two methods also differed with respect to maximum torque and endurance, and none was preferable in both these aspects, being dependent on the swinger goals and abilities."

Pumping a playground swing. "In mechanical studies of pumping a playground swing, two methods of energy insertion have been identified: parametric pumping and driven oscillation. While parametric pumping involves the systematic raising and lowering of the swinger's center of mass (CM) along the swing's radial axis (rope), driven oscillation may be conceived as rotation of the CM around a pivot point at a fixed distance to the point of suspension. We examined the relative contributions of those two methods of energy insertion by inviting 18 participants to pump a swing from standstill and by measuring and analyzing the swing-swinger system (defined by eight markers) in the sagittal plane. Overall, driven oscillation was found to play a major role and parametric pumping a subordinate role, although the relative contribution of driven oscillation decreased as swinging amplitude increased, whereas that of parametric pumping increased slightly. Principal component analysis revealed that the coordination pattern of the swing-swinger system was largely determined (up to 95%) by the swing's motion, while correlation analysis revealed that (within the remaining 5% of variance) trunk and leg rotations were strongly coupled."

Photo: flickr/terren in Virginia

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