Force of flight: BYU skating device measures impact of jumps and landings


When a figure skater lands a jump, she lands with about five to eight times
her bodyweight in force. Those high magnitude forces are due to
the fact that she’s moving really quickly. She’s landing from a height. She doesn’t
have time to absorb those forces through the body, so
that force just gets transmitted straight from the ice up through her lower
extremities up to the back. When we look at the high speed video, we can see not only how is the body absorbing
the forces but also how the body works to generate these forces. A skater may do
between 50 and 60 jumps on a day where they’re preparing for
competition. A lot of skaters by the time they’re 20, 30, 40, have double
hip replacements from all the pounding and the damaged. You just feel
old really young. They have a lot of force that they’re landing with over and over again and this contributes
to overuse injuries. So we’ve been designing a device that we can attached to a figure
skate. It’ll be unobtrusive to the skater, and it will measure the impact
forces on takeoff and landing. This is really the first time that
actual forces are measured on ice. In the lab testing, we’ve been having a skater jump onto a
force plate. This is really set up to get some baseline data initially. Wer’e collecting data from three
different spots: in the front, in the middle, and on the back part of the skate, and that’s what the six different lines
are we see on the screen. Right here where the large lines are is where she actually impacts. So we want to be able to
measure forces as small as six pounds and as great
as a thousand pounds. When someone jumps
on the ice, those tensions compress about one millionth of an inch. That’s about one thousandth of the width a
human hair. So very, very small compressions. It’s a whole body workout. You can see just how much
strength it really takes to do the skill. When you do a figure skating jump
landing, you always land on a toe and then rock back to the heel.
That toe impact is not where the highest impacts are. You
get a pretty high impact there. Then you rock back to the heel, and
that’s where you get up to 5 to 8 times body weight. That happens
really quickly. It’s within 50 to 125 milliseconds. Comparing that to
running where you land with maybe two to three times your body weight in each step you take, we can see that these
magnitudes are really high. The skating route provides very little
protection. In general, coaches and skaters may not
talk about landing forces all that often. It’s just kind of a necessary evil. This
is what happens. You know you land a jump, and you have these
high magnitude forces. U.S. figure skating is
really interested in this research because they
want to be able to keep skaters healthy. They
want to be able to keep their elite skaters performing at a
high level, and then keep skating safe as a sport for any participant.

23 thoughts on “Force of flight: BYU skating device measures impact of jumps and landings”

  1. Skaters definitely deal with extreme forces when they come down on jumps. They are not landing on an incline, snow, dirt, or mat or anything else that absorbs shock. Also, coming down on one foot after completing rotational forces is said to be more stressful than just doing a straight up and down jump of the same height with no rotation. And falls on rotational jumps can be very traumatizing. On throw jumps in pairs skating, the girl sometimes comes down from 5 feet in the air on throw triples and quads. That takes a strong landing leg.

  2. It's sad that age 30 is considered  old in the figure skating world. Your body can only take so much :/ 

  3. it is sad to see 373 years after the birth of Newton ,
    new engineers
    not knowing to calculate the impact force of a falling object !
    then I challenge you to tell me the impact force in kg of a falling 1kg iron ball dropped from 1 meter height on a steel plate (with the calculation note)

  4. It's so unfortunate skating is barley considered a spot, let alone one that scientists care about research for unlike football head injuries and such. My coach who was an amazing pair skater and figure skater many years ago is now 52, and teaching me things became hard a while ago, he still has all that knowledge it's just harder for him to show me certain things. It's become an inside joke when it comes to his legs not working like they used to. I'm happy we're trying to revolutionize stuff that will help.

  5. Well, we only get to know about the problem from this video. But what is the solution? They say they want to keep skaters safe while they continue to skate in high level competitions, but they didn't say how. Anybody know more on the subject? Did they implement something new in the shoes, may be?

  6. Edea has light skates and a shock absorbent undersole. Might switch from Reidell to Edea. Looking to get the Piano skates when I get to doubles because they have two built in shock absorbers so that plus the undersole will help a lot.

  7. 1- I would love to see how much changes from single to double/triple/quad jumps. 2- I would also love to have someone measure us roller skaters.

  8. BYU spin at 2:23 looks like Legacy profile blades with steel frames. Instrumented stress strain shots look like skate blade is a Matrix Legacy. Ie With aluminum frame an steel runner. The BYU research paper mentions the Matrix Legacy blade ie aluminum frame with steel runner. Thus i wonder if the shot at 2:23 is with her normal blades? ( or another skater?)

  9. So if I've rolled my ankle in gymnastics twice really bad, I was considering this sport to learn how to land properly….my right ankle is the weaker/shorter leg I always roll, and in this sport you land everything on your right leg.

    Ppl saying your body only takes so much, but I'd think if you rest and recover and cross train and strengthen both sides to avoid asymmetries in strength, you should be good.

  10. They should do that with the russian top skaters, not with these amateurs. They would get a whole different load of numbers, believe me.

  11. Why is it always “she” in the beginning? You guys figure skate too, it’s already considered a sport for girls, don’t push it

  12. 5x8x body weight!! Even at 100 lbs., a skater is landing between 500-800 lbs. on ONE foot! I absolutely ADORE all aspects of figure skating!! Hands down, best Olympic sport to watch!! I have a newfound respect ✊🏼 to ALL ice skaters ⛸ who even attempt greatness!!!

  13. Isn't a lot of it absorbed by strong hips? Like if I can do a 315 lb squat…I think I can land on one leg bodyweight.

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