Term of Award

Spring 2023

Degree Name

Master of Science in Kinesiology (M.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Health Sciences and Kinesiology

Committee Chair

Jessica Mutchler

Committee Member 1

Samuel Wilson

Committee Member 2

Barry Munkasy


Tumbling requirements and expectations of heightened difficulty of tumbling skills has grown to become a vital component in competitive collegiate cheerleading. Acceleration patterns during tumbling skills has been previously explored in gymnastics, with a floor routine being the most similar in nature, but not completely transferable considering differences in tumbling surface, execution strategy, and setting. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate acceleration patterns during different tumbling passes in collegiate cheerleading athletes. Fifteen female collegiate cheerleaders (age = 19.6 + 1.50) participated in the study. Each participant completed a max of seven different tumbling passes (two standing, 5 running) with a tri-axial accelerometer attached via headband. Peak resultant linear acceleration (PRLA) and peak resultant rotational velocity (PRRV) were tracked and analyzed. Separate repeated measures ANOVAs were used to compare differences in PRLA across tumbling passes and between participant background, and PRRV across tumbling passes. For PRLA, there was a significant main effect for skill (p < 0.001), and a significant skill by background interaction (p =0.045). For PRRV, there was a significant main effect for skill (p <0.001). The hypothesis of the study was supported. The intermediate standing and running skills showed a significant lower PRLA and PRRV compared to advanced and elite standing and running skills. This supports previous research regarding contact hits from heading a soccer ball and non-contact acceleration patterns during gymnastic floor routines. The most common pattern in timing of PRLA and PRRV was during landing for standing tumbling skills, during the skill for intermediate running tumbling, and during the transition skill for advanced and elite running skills. The current study supported previous literature on task demand and acceleration patterns in tumbling, while expanding that literature to competitive cheerleading. Providing evidence that some skills generated less mechanical load on the body may assist with practice structure and safer injury management in competitive collegiate cheerleading. Future research should investigate acceleration patterns in competitive cheerleading at a larger scale involving multiple collegiate programs across the nation as well as expanding to youth cheerleading and all-star programs.

Research Data and Supplementary Material