Pole Vault – Preparation
By Luis M. Rosiles, USATF Lv. II
The art of pole vaulting has so many articles and books written from beginners to master vaulters. It is safe to say that pretty much all generally say the same thing: the run, the pole carry, the plant, the drive, the swing, the turn around and the release.
I would like to start on the preparation for pole vaulting. So many styles and techniques require different approaches to train for each. If a vaulter has weakness in a phase, there are drills to correct and improve. A vaulter must be mentally and physically ready.
We must educate what to expect and what is required to achieve such goals. The highs and lows that will accompany this sport.
In the past I have found to get the body ready for pole vaulting requires many repetitions of basic drills like running with and without the pole.
The key is how well you run and carry the pole down the run way. Proper posture, tall and proud, high knee with a strong contact with the ground to feel your hip move down the runway. A strong stride without reaching for each step. There are many drills to accomplish this: 20,40, 60, 80 yd sprints.
Then there is the billed up sprints 100 and 150’s . Again, what are you trying to accomplish “Form running“, speed or quickness?
The strength that is going to be required can be done several ways. I prefer the “Isometric Method“. For years I have found it effective versus weight lifting. In general terms, applying “Force” to an immovable object at different positions for a prolong period. For instance, a basic pushup (an immovable object, the floor) chest 1” off the floor for ten seconds then 3” off the floor for ten seconds then 6” etc. until you reach full extension, repeat going back down. Another example is two athletes, one at each end of any pole vault pole with a third vaulter at the center of the pole, brings the pole to military press position and stance.
When the center vaulter is set and pole at his chest, the other two vaulters hold the pole at that position. The center vaulter will apply pressure on trying to lift, maintain pressure for 10 seconds or longer stop. Now the center vaulter raises the pole 4” from his chest, the two end vaulters adjust and hold, center vaulter repeats applying pressure for ten seconds etc. until the center vaulter’s arms are fully extended up. The same can be done, leg squats, center vauter holds the pole between his legs in squat position 1” off the ground, two end vaulters hold the pole in position, center vaulter begins to lift using legs (not back) hold applied pressure for ten seconds, repeat now at 4”, then 8” then 12” etc.
There are so many positions where you can apply a constant pressure At AN ATHLETE’S MUSCLE TOLERENCE thus making the WHOLE Muscle stronger at every position. In weight lifting the majority of lifting requires momentum to move the weights.Maintain Maximum pressure,adjustment to positions only. After such workout requires Flexibility Drills such as a Gymnastics. ISOMETRIC METHOD creates strength without muscle bound and risk of injury. After weeks of this Method, results can be measured by free weights.
Isolate the muscle groups that are going to be used in Pole Vaulting and begin to stress these muscles to its maximum tolerance. Better yet your whole body muscle groups.
Luis M. Rosiles
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