I’m pretty into gymnastics – I trained and competed as a kid and kept working out through college. Now, sports in general can be pretty geeky – what with all the physics and biology involved, and all the statistics to follow. However, I think gymnastics is one of the geekiest at all. This sport exploits the rules of physics, although you don’t hear much about that. Have you ever thought of all the biomechanics involved in those crazy body movements that they do?

The Japenese have. In fact in their documentary about the men’s Olympic all-around champion, Kohei Uchimura, there’s an entire segment on the biomechanics of his twisting. Most gymnasts are classified as either flippers or twisters. Flippers are the ones you see performing double and triple flips. Twisters generally perform single flips but add another axis of rotation to do from single all the way to quadruple flips. Uchimura is definitely a twister.

In the video, they break down the science of Kohei’s twisting as compared to less successful gymnasts. It’s really interesting, but it’s also in Japanese. Now I don’t speak the language, but I used YouTube’s caption translate feature – and it worked fairly well. You get some interesting translations, but you can get the gist of it.

So check it out, even without words the graphics are pretty cool.

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