Pole vaulting uses a wide range of body muscles. Much like gymnasts, pole vaulters need a high power-to-weight ratio in order to power up from the ground with their pole and over the bar. Elite female pole vaulters reach speeds of 26.9 feet per second while carrying a large pole down the runway. If you want to reach your peak performance as a pole vaulter, you need to work on training for speed, power and flexibility.
Much of the power from a pole vault comes from gaining speed while running during the approach. High knee runs help teach proper technique along with building up your muscles. Run 40-yard sprints while driving your knees up to waist level and kicking your heels back toward your rear. Stay upright during the run without leaning back while pushing off from your toes. Running sessions should be 10 sprints per workout. You can also run in place as fast as you can for 10 seconds to improve your quickness down the runway.
Working out core muscles like the abdominals helps to create flexibility and power when twisting over the bar after releasing from the pole. Performing situps on a regular basis will help you to strengthen your abs. Lie on your back with your feet under a bar or other support and your knees bent. With your hands behind your back, bend your hips to lift your upper body off the ground while twisting and moving your right elbow toward your left knee. Return to your original position and perform the situp with the other side. You can also toss a medicine ball with a partner or against the wall to work on your abdominal muscles.
Arm pullovers strengthen muscles including the pectorals, triceps and deltoids that are used in lifting off of the ground and pushing off of the pole to launch over the bar. Lie on a weight bench with your upper back perpendicular to the bench. With your hips slightly bent, grab a dumbbell that is directly behind your head and pull it over your body until it is over your chest. Keep your elbows slightly bent while lifting. Return the dumbbell to behind your head and repeat the lift.
Strength for Jumping
Performing jumps with minimal run-up helps you to explode off the runway and toward the bar. Improve your height by taking a step on your right foot and leaping as high as you can with your left foot. Repeat the drill by starting with a left-footed step. You can also work on long jumps into a pit using no more than eight steps.
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