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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 pole.

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.