Pole Vault by Advantage Athletics
Pole Vault Swing
Compared to the Gymnastics Horizontal Bar Swing
by Tim Werner
This frame by frame pictured comparison between a gymnast and a pole vaulter
demonstrates the best and most efficient action of the trail leg in the pole
vault. This is the move as performed by a world class gymnast from the World
Gymnastics Championships and a world class pole vaulter from the World Track
and Field Championships. This move is done by gymnasts and pole vaulters
alike. The move helps load and get the most thrust out of the horizontal bar
or pole vault pole. The gymnast and pole vaulter both lift the trailing
feet, or trail leg, then drive them down to get full extension of the body
from the hands to the feet. This not only loads energy into the bar or pole,
but for the pole vaulter, it creates a long lever to lift against the length
of the pole. That is to say that when that long lever is lifted, it helps
keep the pole compressed. If the pole stays short, it will continue to roll
over the top of the box. It also gives the vaulter more time to cover the
top of the pole with his body (see The Pole Vault Rockback). In the vault,
the pole vaulter never wants the shoulders to pass the top hand, until after
he/she is fully extended and inverted. That's how the body covers the top of
The Take Off Point: Full extension at the plant.
The Drive: Driving the torso through the hands and feet,
keeping the torso parallel with the trail foot under the top hand.
The Load: Lifting the trail foot and letting the hips slide
to line up with the top hand and shoulders and feeling the body swing from the top hand.
Full Extension: The hands, shoulders, hips and trail foot are in a straight fully extended line.
That line is at a 45` angle to the runway and pointed at the box.
The Lift: The shoulders driving back and down while the
trail leg lifts and rotates around the hips. DO NOT force the top hand forward. It must stay behind the shoulders.
The Bubka Drill: (see Rockback) DO NOT "power out" of this position.
Extend the body smoothly and in time with the pole while driving the
shoulders down and back.
Fly Away: Using the Tap can make the body fly much higher
than the bar or pole.