Crafting the Perfect High Jump Approach


It's time to talk about the approach, and you'll be amazed how simple it is. But first, before I forget, I have received a half dozen emails over the last week about training programs. Not necessarily high jump training programs, but vertical jump improvement programs. I had heard about a few, so I spent my evenings this week checking high and low for as many vertical jump systems as I could find, I emailed the creators of each one and asked them specific questions about how their systems applied to high jumpers. There is good news and bad news...

Let's start with the bad. The by far best one was 1) expensive ($97) and 2) had a long, hyped up sales letter (which I can't stand).

The good news is that from what they said and some of their customers said, the system is pretty much ridiculously good and should work incredibly well for high jumpers. I mean, they've got a friggin' testimonial for their system from the guy that actually invented jump soles. Crazy. Another nice thing is that they offer a double money back guarantee which means they either have a failproof product or they're stupid. If you want to check it out, here is the link:

Ok, onto the good stuff...

The approach is made up of two parts, the straight away and the curve. The straight away is for accelerating, the curve is to create the lean.

Let me say that again...the straight away is when you should accelerate. Once you have started your curve, there should be no more changes in speed. You should glide through your curve, leaning, maintaining your speed so you can focus on takeoff.

Question 1: How fast should I go then?
Speed is key, you need speed because you want to convert as much horizontal momentum into vertical motion as possible using your leg strength. However, length strength varies. So, the answer? Whatever you feel comfortable with. However, as you get stronger, you will be able to increase your speed and, thus, your vertical jump.

Question 2: How tight should my curve be?
You curve creates the lean away from the bar that creates the rotation over the bar as you plant and drive straight up, as we talked about last week. So, the answer is this. Try a curve and see where you land in the pits and where you knock the bar off. If you aren't landing high on your back/neck or are knocking the bar off with your legs, tighten the curve to increase your lean, which will increase rotation over the bar. If you are spinning out of control over the bar, open up your curve a bit.

Question 3: How long should it be?
The straight away should give you enough time to get up to speed and then about two steps before you start your curve. The curve will vary depending on how tight you make it. Don't be intimidated by other people's approaches. Everyone has a different length and curve radius. Once you find a mark to start from, measure it, and bring the measuring tape to the next meet. Meets are NOT the time to be fiddling with your curve.

I may talk more about this in the next email, but I'll leave it at that for now. Best of luck this week everyone!


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