Date Approved


Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

Engineering (M.S.E.)

Degree Program

School of Engineering

First Advisor

Blake Ashby

Second Advisor

Gordon Alderink

Third Advisor

Sung-Hwan Joo

Academic Year



Previous jumping studies have examined the role of arm swing in vertical and horizontal long jump performance, but none have been found which studied the role of arm swing in standing lateral jumps. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of arm motion on standing lateral jump performance and to examine the biomechanical mechanisms that may explain differences in jump distance.

A series of lateral jump experiments was performed for two jump cases (free and restricted arms) in which six participants jumped laterally for maximum distance from two in-ground force platforms. A motion capture system collected 3D position data for lateral jumps with free and restricted arms. Inverse dynamics analyses were performed on three-dimensional (3D) models for free and restricted arm jumps and the joint angular velocities, moments, powers, and work values were compared. The mechanisms enabling any performance improvement of lateral jump performance due to free arm motion were also investigated.

Results showed that free arm motion improved standing lateral jump performance by 29%. This improvement was due to the increase in take-off velocity and increase in the lateral and vertical displacement of the center of gravity at take-off and touchdown. The improved take-off velocity and position of the center of gravity at take-off was due to a 33% increase in the work done by the body in jumps with free arm movement.This increase in work in free arm jumps compared to restricted arm jumps was found in both upper and lower body joints with the largest improvements (> 30 J) occurring at the lower back, right hip, and right shoulder.

The increase in work performed at the lower back and right hip could not be explained by joint torque augmentation resulting from the slowing of joint angular velocities due to arm movement. Other mechanisms involved in enabling this work improvement can be discovered from further investigations of this movement. For example, computer simulation studies could provide additional insight into the motor control strategies employed in lateral jumps with free and restricted arm movement.

Included in

Engineering Commons