Pole Vaulting Workouts

The science of pole vaulting mimics that of a coiled spring. Force is applied to a vaulting pole that bends at the impact, springs back and releases an equal force. In a 2008 article published in “Popular Science” magazine, State University professor Peter McGinnis says the energy built up by vaulters racing toward the bar accounts for over 60 percent of the height gained. Pole vaulting workouts isolate areas of the body needed to increase your vaulting height by maximizing strength and speed.

Stride IncreasingPole vaulting requires speed to transform kinetic energy — energy of motion — into potential energy, or its stored form. Increasing speed is really a matter of increasing stride by strengthening and stretching muscle fibers, according to sports website SportsCoach. To increase your stride, stand with your right leg bent behind your left knee and lower your body until the tip of your right toes touch the ground. Slowly lift yourself until your leg is again straight and then repeat for the opposite side.
StrengtheningTo optimize your take-off, strengthening exercises are needed to condition your back and shoulders for the extra weight of the vaulting pole. A secondary goal of strength training is to stretch and strengthen the ankles and feet for push-off, or the initial jump of the vaulting approach. This is usually achieved by adding barbells to your shoulders during leg squats and jumping back into an upright position. Vertical jumps that allow two to three approach steps before push-off are also beneficial, according to Soviet trainer V.G. Alabin.
Core FlexibilityMuch of the energy accumulated when sprinting to the vault will be absorbed by the pole once your body weight lifts toward the bar. The muscles in your torso need to be strong and flexible enough to keep your body on track to its goal: up and over the bar. Work your core muscles in three-second intervals by lying flat on your back with your knees bent and raising your hips until they are aligned with your knees and shoulders.

By: Li St. Michael


Pole vaulting
Pole vaulting


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