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Alison Sheets

Ph.D Candidate, Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering



B.S. (2000), Cornell University
  • Sports Biomechanics Lab
    Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering
    University of California, Davis
    Davis, CA 95616-5294
  • Phone: (530) 752-2163
  • email:


Research :

Historically gymnastic skills have been conceived and understood through trial and error methods.  Although this pragmatic approach has been effective in developing the high level of gymnastics that is performed today, there can be a more efficient and safer approach.  The aim of this research is to advance the understanding and performance of gymnastics skills on the uneven parallel bars through the use of computer modeling, simulation, and optimization techniques.

The initial focus of this research is the optimization of the joint torque time history for a giant swing followed by a dismount with maximal revolutions.  It is then possible to use the release position and velocity simulation outputs to calculate how the gymnast could change her body shape during flight to accomplish maximum revolutions and land balanced with the largest margin of error.  One of the more interesting aspects of the dismount problem is deriving mathematical approximate models of impact and balance that can predict when the gymnast will be able to land balanced.  Finally, a new gymnastic maneuver that has never been performed will be developed using the modeling, simulation and optimization techniques perfected in the previous simulations.

Online papers and abstracts:


Development and understanding of gymnastics skills using multi-body dynamics and computer simulation

Effects of low bar avoidance and gymnast size on high bar dismount performance

Approximation of balanced landings in gymnastic dismounts


Other Interests:

UC Davis Women's Lacrosse Club
UC Davis Gymnastics Club
UC Davis Triathlon Club

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