Did "Mythbusters" Ever Investigate This? (Swing Kid "Going Over The Bar"?)

As a child, I spent many a lazy summer day hanging out at the local playground.
It was always a persistent rumor that some kid managed to propel himself/herself on a swing, such that they were able to make a 360 degree trip around the support bar.
Obviously, this is impossible (unless you were propelled by a giant push-or had a jet engine attached)-still, the playground always had the story that “some kid had done it”.
Did the Mythbusters team ever investigate?

Yes they did and as you said, it took some rocket type deals attached to the swing for it to work. I don’t remember the details as I haven’t seen that episode, or any episode, in a long time but I can confirm that yes they’ve tried it.

Also,the chains make it pretty much impossible(human powered). As you slow approaching the apex, the chains go slack. It can be done with rods instead of chains. It helps if you’re a circus acrobat.

They even went to some circus aerialists to see how they got a swing to do a 360. Their swing was a cage that let them stand and use their feet to get momentum. Even on that swing the mythbusters couldn’t pull off a 360. The circus aerialists did it because of training.

Tory managed to break the swing set they built to test this one. I thought he was lucky he didn’t break his coccyx or something- he fell pretty hard.

Large wooden swings with stiff arms were common in agrarian Finland in the 1800’s and early 1900’s. One of the traditional macho stunts of young, strapping peasant men was to make the swing go all the way around. It was doable but no mean feat.

Bang Goes The Theory covered this as well


That swing also had solid metal arms, not chains.

Though I never went over myself, I did perfect the art of standing up on the swing and, when swinging forward, using a flick of my feet to propel the swing forward, and up and over my head and the bar while I jumped to safety.

Many a knee was scuffed during research but it did impress the girls*

*warning…may not actually result in the impressing of any girls at all

As in, “Don’t try this at home, kids?”

I used to fantasize about this as well when I was a child.
My elementary school had a playground set with a much higher swing set than you could have at home. It must have been 18 feet tall (though height is notoriously difficult to gauge when you are 6 years old). The chains were massive and you had to be careful not to catch your fingers between the links.

There was a hillside immediately adjacent to the giant swing and you could back up the hill with the seat of the swing under your butt to get a really great gravity assist. The best part of this was the ‘flying’ part where you would jump out of the seat at the top of the arc and ‘fly’ as far as you could. You could imagine flying all the way to the trees at the far end of the playground, but (fortunately as it turns out later) all you could do is fall a few feet outward into the pile of red clay dust and dirt that made up the surface of the field.

Good times, as they say.

My mother says she did it all the time as a child.

Mom, you got some 'splaining to do.

I never was able to get it over the bar, but I was able to get the swing high enough that when I jumped out, it felt like I was hanging weightless in midair for a split second. A second later … not so much!

It felt like that because you were. Until you hit the ground, you were in fact, weightless.

(and yes, I’m ignoring air resistance)

The professional acrobats, in the swing with solid support rods, did get the swing to go 360 with some of the gang, maybe Grant and Kari along. The Mythbusters crew found the sensation very unpleasant.

Yeah, that whole ground-hitting problem is a problem, alrighty. Mass, velocity, vector, playground sand in your face. But totally worth it!

I did manage to swing slightly higher than the bar (not over it) as a kid. After you hit peak height, you just fall straight down until there’s no more slack in the chains. It’s pretty rough just going slightly above it and I had to hold the chains tightly to avoid getting dumped out. It also takes away some of the kinetic energy. Without replacing the chains with something rigid like bars, it can’t be done.

But… but I saw some kids do it. When I was maybe eight years old or so.

Freaked me out.