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In-Air High Jump Mistakes and Solutions


Ok, so the last two newsletters have been about the approach and the takeoff, now it is time to talk about what to do in the air.

The first stage, which is where your head, shoulders and back begin to pass over the bar, is fairly straightforward. If you knock the bar off with your shoulders, the solution (jump further away from the bar or stop jumping towards/into the bar so much) is usually pretty obvious.

The second stage, which begins once your lower back passes over the bar, can be tricky. You see, the common conception is that you have to arch your back as much as possible. The focus, however, should be on raising your hips and pushing your hips up to clear the bar. Think about it, if you arch your back, your upper back and butt have to lower to form that arch. This creates a very small pocket for the bar to pass through.

If you raise your hips though, it creates a smooth, long curve through your entire body that will glide over the bar as your rotate around it, getting the all too common bar-knocking culprit (your butt) over the bar.

The last stage is also problematic. I have heard dozens of coaches say, "Just kick your legs." WRONG! I like to say, "Just kiss your knees." By bringing your knees to your face as quickly as possible, this will get two things out of the way in the order they pass over the bar.

First, your thighs pass over the bar, so why kick your lower legs? You need to get those thighs out of the way first! By thinking about kissing your knees, this will quickly contract your abs and get your thighs over the bar. Then, let your lower legs kick so you don't pull the bar off. Flexible quads will help here.

So, lets recap:

1) Let your natural style get your top half over the bar
2) Raising your hips is more important than arching your back
3) Try to kiss your knees instead of kicking your legs

Hopefully these tips help you get the extra edge to get a new PR. Best of luck!


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