TAN, J.C.C. and YEADON, M.R., 2005. Why do high jumpers use a curved approach? Journal of Sports Sciences, 23 (8), pp.775-780.
Currently all elite high jumpers use the Fosbury Flop technique with a curved approach.
This suggests that the curved approach presents some clear advantage although there is no
general agreement upon the mechanism or the mechanics. This study aimed to determine the
characteristics of the approach curve and to investigate how it contributes to the generation
of somersault rotation. A simple theoretical model was used to demonstrate that a tightening
approach curve would change the inward lean towards the centre of the curve into outwards
lean. Three-dimensional video analysis was conducted on performances of two elite male
high jumpers in competition. It was found that in each case the radius of the approach curve
and the inward lean angle both decreased towards the end of the approach (p < 0.01). The
amount of outward lean angular velocity generated was shown to be a major proportion of
the required somersault angular velocity for a jump. It was concluded that the main
advantage of a curved approach was that it resulted in the generation of somersault velocity
providing the curve tightened towards the end of the approach.