The Biggest, Most Common High Jump Mistake I See


If you will indulge me, I think I can illustrate the most common high jump mistake with something as simple as a forward slash, backward slash, and a vertical line. This mistake costs the average jumper 4" - 8" of height...if not more.

Draw a line right down the middle of your body, from your head to your belly button. Now, imagine the high jumpbar to the right of these symbols:
| = Your body line when you plant
/ = Your body line when you takeoff

Do you see the problem? If you are standing still and want to jump as high as you can, would you jump straight up or jump forwards and up at the same time? Straight up, of course. So why would you take off leaning towards the bar? To get rotation, right? You go from almost straight up at plant and then try to drop your shoulder and head as you take off to start a flipping motion.

Let's redraw this setup with the correct motion:
\ = Your body line when you plant
| = Your body line when you takeoff

What's the different? Well, you are going from a lean to vertical (to cause the flipping motion) but, instead of taking off on an angle with your shoulder and head dropped ("diving" over the bar"), you are jumping straight up getting maximum height.

If you are jumping under 6'3", record yourself jumping, and watch carefully. Chances are, right as you plant your legs are still on an angle, but your body is straight up. Then, as you takeoff, to get the rotation over the bar, you have to drop your shoulder and head to try to get the flipping motion as you takeoff.

What you should be doing is planting with your body in a straight, leaning line away from the bar. Then, right as you takeoff your body rotates to straight vertical allowing you to jump straight up, but also giving you the flipping motion necessary to clear it.

In the next email we'll talk about how to get that perfect lean with a good, smart approach.


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