46 The Anti-Gravity Lean

GIF animation of the “anti-gravity lean” maneuver in which a person wearing shoes that attach to the floor can lean  forward with straight legs and then return to a standing position. Image Credit: Asanagi via Wikimedia Commons


The structures discussed in the previous chapters were resting on the support base, which was not attached to the support surface (such as your feet and the ground). Therefore only normal force and friction were available to cancel torques caused by gravity and maintain equilibrium. When the support base is attached then tension can help cancel out gravitational torques and the structure can remain in equilibrium even when the center of gravity moves outside the area of support. Such structures are known as cantilevered structures. The animation above shows someone performing the “anti-gravity lean” during which the body is momentarily a cantilevered structure.  The maneuver requires that the heels of the shoes be attached to the ground in order to provide a tension force. Cantilevered structures can generate especially large stress and strain on the materials in the structure. For example the Achilles' tendon is severely stressed during the anti-gravity lean. When stress becomes too great then rupture may occur. The following unit will apply what we have learned about static equilibrium to determine the size of forces acting on and withing the body when it isn’t moving. The unit after that will calculate forces on the body when it is moving.



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