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Athletes in sports such as the gymnastics who perform the still rings cross position are disadvantaged due to a lack of objective and convenient measurement methods. The gymnastics “cross ”is a held isometric strength position considered fundamental to all still rings athletes. The purpose of this investigation was to determine if two small force platforms (FPs) placed on supports to simulate a cross position could demonstrate the fidelity necessary to differentiate between athletes who could perform a cross from those who could not. Ten gymnasts (5 USA Gymnastics, Senior National Team, and 5 Age Group Level Gymnasts) agreed to participate. The five Senior National Team athletes were grouped as cross Performers; the Age Group Gymnasts could not successfully perform the cross position and were grouped as cross Non- Performers. The two small FPs were first tested for reliability and validity and were then used to obtain a force-time record of a simulated cross position. The simulated cross test consisted of standing between two small force platforms placed on top of large solid gymnastics spotting blocks. The gymnasts attempted to perform a cross position by placing their hands at the center of the FPs and pressing downward with sufficient force that they could remove the support of their feet from the floor. Force-time curves (100 Hz) were obtained and analyzed for the sum of peak and mean arm ground reaction forces. The summed arm forces, mean and peak, were compared to body weight to determine how close the gymnasts came to achieving forces equal to body weight and thus the ability to perform the cross. The mean and peak summed arm forces were able to statistically differentiate between athletes who could perform the cross from those who could not (p < 0.05). The force-time curves and small FPs showed sufficient fidelity to differentiate between Performer and Non- Performer groups. This experiment showed that small and inexpensive force platforms may serve as useful adjuncts to athlete performance measurement such as the gymnastics still rings cross.

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© Journal of Sports Science and Medicine and the Authors. It was originally published in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine.