Are you looking for a dynamic and engaging way to introduce your students to the concept of angular momentum in biomechanics? Look no further! In this blog post, we’ll explore how trampolining can serve as a fantastic real-world example to help your students grasp this fundamental biomechanics concept. Let’s dive right into it!

What is Angular Momentum?

Angular momentum is a concept in biomechanics that describes the rotational motion of an object. It’s similar to linear momentum but applies to objects that are spinning or rotating. Understanding angular momentum is crucial for your students as it helps them comprehend the physics behind various sports and activities, including trampolining.

Trampolining and Angular Momentum

Trampolining provides an excellent platform to illustrate angular momentum in action. When students jump on a trampoline and perform tricks, their bodies gain angular momentum as they spin or rotate. To make this concept more accessible, break it down into two key components: moment of inertia and angular velocity.

1. Moment of Inertia

Moment of inertia (I) is a measure of how spread out an object’s mass is when it’s rotating. In the context of trampolining, students can grasp this concept by considering their body position during different tricks. When they tuck into a tight ball, their moment of inertia decreases because their mass is concentrated closer to the center of rotation. Conversely, when they extend their arms and legs, their moment of inertia increases.

2. Angular Velocity

Angular velocity (ω) refers to how quickly an object is rotating. Students can relate this to how fast they’re spinning during a trampoline trick. When they initiate a twist or flip, they change their angular velocity, which has a direct impact on their angular momentum.

Angular Momentum Formula

Angular momentum (L) is calculated using the formula:

Angular momentum = moment of inertia (I) x angular velocity (w)

L = I x w

Encourage your students to apply this formula practically. For example, when they start a somersault on the trampoline, they tuck into a tight ball (reducing their moment of inertia) and simultaneously increase their spin speed (angular velocity). This combination results in a significant increase in angular momentum, making it easier for them to complete the somersault.

Conservation of Angular Momentum

A crucial aspect of angular momentum is that it’s conserved unless an external torque (a twisting force) is applied. This principle is evident in trampolining as there are usually no external torques acting on students mid-air. Consequently, their angular momentum remains constant during a trick, allowing them to perform multiple flips and twists without changing their rotation speed.

Practical Applications

Highlight to your students that understanding angular momentum is not just about physics; it has practical applications in trampolining. By manipulating their body position and spin speed, they can control their angular momentum, leading to more controlled and precise movements. This knowledge is essential for trampolinists aiming to master complex routines and tricks.

Incorporating Angular Momentum into Your Lessons

To incorporate angular momentum into your PE lessons using trampolining, consider the following steps:

  1. Introduction: Begin by explaining the concept of angular momentum and its importance in physics.
  2. Interactive Discussion: Engage your students in a discussion about how they think angular momentum applies to trampolining. Encourage them to share their insights and observations.
  3. Practical Demonstrations: If possible, arrange for a trampolining session or show videos of trampoline performances that showcase angular momentum in action.
  4. Hands-on Activities: Create simple experiments or activities where students can change their body position on a trampoline to manipulate their moment of inertia and angular velocity, thus affecting their angular momentum (full & half turns work well changing position of your arms).
  5. Problem-Solving: Challenge your students with physics problems related to angular momentum in trampolining. This can help them apply their knowledge in a practical context.


Trampolining is an exciting and relatable way to introduce your PE students to the concept of angular momentum. By connecting this fundamental physics principle to a sport they may be passionate about or familiar with, you can make learning physics not only accessible but also engaging. As they master the physics of trampolining, your students will gain a deeper appreciation for the science behind their favourite activities.

So, why wait? Consider enrolling in a trampolining course with Elite Performance Northwest to elevate your teaching to a whole new level. Your students will undoubtedly benefit from your enhanced expertise and the exciting, hands-on approach you’ll bring to your PE lessons.

Happy teaching!