The need for a cardiovascular base

A forum to discuss overall training techniques, nutrition, injuries, etc. Discussion of actual pole vault technique should go in the Technique forum.
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The need for a cardiovascular base

Unread postby EIUvltr » Wed Apr 07, 2010 12:10 am

...or lack of a need.

I've seen it too many times. Kids running distance to "get in shape" for pole vaulting. First of all, you shouldn't ever be out of shape, stop slacking in the off-season. Second of all, YOU DON'T NEED A CARDIOVASCULAR BASE! The pole vault is not cardiovascular. The pole vault lasts 8 seconds in which your muscles contract too hard to allow blood flow anyway so even if you had the strongest heart on earth, and the most capillary development in your legs EVER, it still wouldn't help you one bit. A pole vaulter should be able to have a great burst of energy, then great recovery and be ready to vault again. A few months ago I picked up a pole and vaulted for the first time in probably two years. Not only that, but it was probably the first time I sprinted in two years as well... and I jumped like 13'6"-14' eyeballing a 3 left in jeans. I seriously couldn't run around a 200m indoor track right now without passing out, but I can still vault higher than 99.9999% of marathon runners, think about it.
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Re: The need for a cardiovascular base

Unread postby VaultPurple » Wed Apr 07, 2010 1:01 am

I believe your legs need some kind of over training to build strength, but nothing along the lines of running cross country (and we have had that argument plenty of times).

If you are going to train like an elite vaulter with sprinting work outs, then you need some kind of base at the beginning of the year so that your legs strengthen up and you reduce the risk of injury later in the year.

You just can't start the first day of the season running repeat sprints as hard as you can or you are most likely going to get hurt.

As far as cardiovascular endurance I would say that is not needed, but I do know that at the first practice I can not go run 9 lefts as hard as I can and keep my form all the way to the last step.

But as far as building a base at the beginning of the year, my best thought would be for the first few weeks to just have long warm ups, like a 10 min warm up jog, then a long series of running drills that are not very explosive or stressful on the body but build good running form and strength (like skips and lunges). Then build up to moderate paced repeat 100s and 200s (these are not speed work, but to concentrate on holding good running technique the whole way through so your legs are stronger and can handle longer runs). Then as the season progresses you can start doing sprints faster, and move into all out 30-40m sprints to really work on getting your feet quick.


side note: I also think a lot of athletes think they need to be in perfect shape and have really low body fat, and they see that is what runners have, so they think that if they want to cut weight they need to go run miles. But running long distances kills your speed, so if anyone thinks they need to cut fat or get in some more cardio, either hit a swimming pool, or a stationary bike. I really like chair style stationary bikes because my knees come higher like a running motion and I can peddle at a pretty high RMP for over 30 minutes, so I do not feel like I am moving slow and losing any strength.

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!

Unread postby KirkB » Wed Apr 07, 2010 1:41 am

EIUvltr wrote: ... YOU DON'T NEED A CARDIOVASCULAR BASE! ... The pole vault lasts 8 seconds in which your muscles contract too hard to allow blood flow anyway ...

I'm really surprised at your opinion here, EIU. I was thinking that maybe you're not a vaulter, so you just don't know. But reading on, I see that you ARE a vaulter ... so you should know that a practice or a meet lasts a helluva lot more than 8 seconds!

You need the stamina and endurance to last out the REALLY BIG meets ... when there's more than a dozen competitors. It just so happens that these BIG meets are the most important ones ... so ya gotta be ready for it ... it's gonna last several hours.

Practice is similar. You should be good for at least a dozen jumps per practice. If you tire after only 6, you're just not getting in enough reps in to improve your technique.

Not that you should normally take 12 jumps in a meet ... but it could happen. You need to be prepared. I think Hooker took about that in the Beijing Olympics.

Even if you only take 6 jumps in a meet, you still need to stay WARM and pysched thru the entire competition. That's a lot of striding, and a lot of stretching. You can't let yourself get stone cold and then warm up all over again. It doesn't work that way. Once you warm up, you have to STAY warm. If you don't have the endurance to last thru a 3-hour meet, then you haven't fully prepared yourself.

Just my opinion.

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Re: The need for a cardiovascular base

Unread postby Pogo Stick » Wed Apr 07, 2010 1:49 am

EIUvltr wrote:...or lack of a need.

I've seen it too many times. Kids running distance to "get in shape" for pole vaulting. First of all, you shouldn't ever be out of shape, stop slacking in the off-season. Second of all, YOU DON'T NEED A CARDIOVASCULAR BASE! The pole vault is not cardiovascular. The pole vault lasts 8 seconds in which your muscles contract too hard to allow blood flow anyway so even if you had the strongest heart on earth, and the most capillary development in your legs EVER, it still wouldn't help you one bit. A pole vaulter should be able to have a great burst of energy, then great recovery and be ready to vault again. A few months ago I picked up a pole and vaulted for the first time in probably two years. Not only that, but it was probably the first time I sprinted in two years as well... and I jumped like 13'6"-14' eyeballing a 3 left in jeans. I seriously couldn't run around a 200m indoor track right now without passing out, but I can still vault higher than 99.9999% of marathon runners, think about it.


What is your opinion about this statement from Blanka Vlasic:
"It is much easier to do this job when you feel that at any time of the year you can jump two meters. Nobody work like us. We are the pioneers of this work. We will not be be back in the spring to basic training, I did them when I was 15-16. I am doing now only specific preparation. I can't make even one push-up, but I can jump two meters."
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Re: The need for a cardiovascular base

Unread postby bel142 » Wed Apr 07, 2010 8:29 am

Not going to lie, for someone who puts "BS in ExSci and ACSM personal trainer" in your experience, saying you don't need a cardiovascular base for the pole vault is kind of naive. In the off season, you should be training, and you also should be "out of shape". This is in terms of body composition, weight training and activity. You should be out of pole vault shape in the off season, but your general fitness may be better. After your championship season you need to take time off to detrain so you can set up the next season. Athletes are generally in better shape before championship time, neurologically they are going to be peaking at championship time, and this is the point in peaking, most likely their general fitness has diminished leading up to their most competitive competitions.

In terms of a D1 collegiate vaulter, if you start training in August, and go through may/june, you have only a few months to let your body de train and before you re start again with tiny breaks in that cycle. In terms of a Macroscale of training, you cannot keep up vaulting shape over the course of 12+ months and expect to be competitive when you compete. Specifically if you are building up within a 4-5 year Macroscale of training. Yea, as a collegiate vaulter I can eye ball 13' off three, but who cares... I sure as shoot can't jump 5m+' in August/September without training for it. Yea the kids at pole vault camp are impressed but 13' off three is not going to place you within the top 500 in the country....

In the off season, I play touch rugby and soccer. Both have a much higher energy demands of cardio than is needed for track and field. But that is the point. As of now in my season I can't/shouldn't play and my Vo2 has taken the hit, but I can run 20mineuts without falling over. The punch line, is no... you don't/shouldn't train for a distance event in season. Really there is no cross over in terms of energy demands however... an athlete absolutely needs to have and maintain general cardiovascular fitness throughout the season for much of the reasons posted above.

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Re: The need for a cardiovascular base

Unread postby Lax PV » Wed Apr 07, 2010 2:07 pm

I think everyone is actually on the same page here, and are just getting all up in arms.

My humble opinion--

Do you need cardio and endurance, yes, to a point. Do you need to be able to run a marathon, god no.

If you have the energy to last 2 hours, and 12 jumps--at a high level--be that 13' or 18' (whatever your ability) you are in shape to vault. Does this mean you need to be able to train and be able to do things like this in September? No. I always tell my athletes, 'Nobody cares how fast you are in October.' That said, the training is set up to peak in May--or August depending on your schedule. So what kind of things can you do for this 'modified' cardio? How about, 20m of a sprint drill, wait 20 seconds, then 20m of another, then 20 seconds, then another... for say... 30 to 40 minutes? This satisfies quick, explosive AND repeated bouts of work... I believe it fits.

My guys will tell you I am definitely not against 150-200m repeats. But there is a time and a place for them. After the first of the year, most of that is gone, and they are focusing on maybe 75m accels up to 90%, long workouts of 40m repeats (say 12-14 reps with 2:00 recovery).

I don't think anyone here believes you need to run a marathon, but being in shape, yes. Being in 'the best shape' year round, thats going to be a hard thing to keep up with... unless you are superman (which would be pretty neat I guess).

Thoughts?

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Re: The need for a cardiovascular base

Unread postby EIUvltr » Wed Apr 07, 2010 4:06 pm

VaultPurple wrote:I believe your legs need some kind of over training to build strength


over training? I don't think you mean this. And cardio doesn't build strength, it actually hinders strength.

If you are going to train like an elite vaulter with sprinting work outs, then you need some kind of base at the beginning of the year so that your legs strengthen up and you reduce the risk of injury later in the year.


Right aka conditioning. You would do this via tempo training/intervals. Running ~100-400m with partial rest.

You just can't start the first day of the season running repeat sprints as hard as you can or you are most likely going to get hurt.


Of course, I never suggested this.

As far as cardiovascular endurance I would say that is not needed, but I do know that at the first practice I can not go run 9 lefts as hard as I can and keep my form all the way to the last step.


Right, however that is due to a lack of strength, neuromuscular capacity and lactic acid build-up.

But as far as building a base at the beginning of the year, my best thought would be for the first few weeks to just have long warm ups, like a 10 min warm up jog, then a long series of running drills that are not very explosive or stressful on the body but build good running form and strength (like skips and lunges). Then build up to moderate paced repeat 100s and 200s (these are not speed work, but to concentrate on holding good running technique the whole way through so your legs are stronger and can handle longer runs). Then as the season progresses you can start doing sprints faster, and move into all out 30-40m sprints to really work on getting your feet quick.


Yup.

side note: I also think a lot of athletes think they need to be in perfect shape and have really low body fat, and they see that is what runners have, so they think that if they want to cut weight they need to go run miles. But running long distances kills your speed, so if anyone thinks they need to cut fat or get in some more cardio, either hit a swimming pool, or a stationary bike. I really like chair style stationary bikes because my knees come higher like a running motion and I can peddle at a pretty high RMP for over 30 minutes, so I do not feel like I am moving slow and losing any strength.


I think the key is to never allow yourself to gain this much weight. I don't think I've ever had more than 10% body fat my entire life. It's a lot easier just to not get fat in the first place. I would recommend against a bike though. Bikes are notorious for strengthening the rectus femoris along with other muscles in a different portion of the ROM compared to running. This can hinder strength and screw up motor patterns.
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Re: !

Unread postby EIUvltr » Wed Apr 07, 2010 4:12 pm

Kirk, why else would I be on here if I wasn't a vaulter?

KirkB wrote:You need the stamina and endurance to last out the REALLY BIG meets


No. You need conditioning. This is better known as lactic acid buffering capacity, along with lactic acid threshold. Cardiovascular endurance is a much different animal. It prevents fatigue via increading glycogen storage, increasing amounts of hemoglobin in the blood and myoglobin in the muscles, and increases capillary density in the extremities, and increases stroke volume via the strengthening of the ventricles.

Practice is similar. You should be good for at least a dozen jumps per practice. If you tire after only 6, you're just not getting in enough reps in to improve your technique.


I can take like 20 vaults without tiring right now and I'm not in good shape whatsoever. If you are getting tired after 6 vaults, you probably have a health problem or are so extremely out of shape that walking to class would be a chore.
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Re: The need for a cardiovascular base

Unread postby EIUvltr » Wed Apr 07, 2010 4:38 pm

bel142 wrote:Not going to lie, for someone who puts "BS in ExSci and ACSM personal trainer" in your experience, saying you don't need a cardiovascular base for the pole vault is kind of naive.


Oh really? I suppose you're going to back this up. Not only is cardiovascular fitness not needed in the pole vault, but training for specifically this purpose can hurt you. Such as...

1. It will develop the Parallel Elastic Component of your musculotendonous structure rather than the Series Elastic Component. This causes you to be able to store less elastic energy in high intensity cyclic or acyclic movements such as sprinting and jumping.
2. It causes fast twitch muscles to act as slow twitch muscles
3. It increases the amount of catabolic hormones in the body which prevents the build-up of muscle tissue, and can actually cause some atrophy.
4. Increases the elasticity of fast twitch fibers
5. Decreases RFD
6. et cetera.

In the off season, you should be training, and you also should be "out of shape". This is in terms of body composition, weight training and activity. You should be out of pole vault shape in the off season, but your general fitness may be better.


I assume you are referring to general preparedness, in which case I would agree with you.

After your championship season you need to take time off to detrain so you can set up the next season. Athletes are generally in better shape before championship time, neurologically they are going to be peaking at championship time, and this is the point in peaking, most likely their general fitness has diminished leading up to their most competitive competitions.


I don't think "detraining" should be your goal, but rather recovery. However I generally agree with this statement.

In terms of a D1 collegiate vaulter, if you start training in August, and go through may/june, you have only a few months to let your body de train and before you re start again with tiny breaks in that cycle. In terms of a Macroscale of training, you cannot keep up vaulting shape over the course of 12+ months and expect to be competitive when you compete. Specifically if you are building up within a 4-5 year Macroscale of training. Yea, as a collegiate vaulter I can eye ball 13' off three, but who cares... I sure as shoot can't jump 5m+' in August/September without training for it. Yea the kids at pole vault camp are impressed but 13' off three is not going to place you within the top 500 in the country....


1. I think you mean macrocycle?
2. I haven't vaulted for 2 years, I'm not saying 13-14 feet is fantastic. But considering I can do it without training for 24 months, I think that indicates that cardiovascular fitness (which I dont have at all right now) is pretty irrelevant for a pole vaulter.
3. Also are you suggesting that the reason I can only vault 14' right now is due to my lack of cardiovascular fitness?
3. And yeah I agree with you that you can't peak year-round.

In the off season, I play touch rugby and soccer. Both have a much higher energy demands of cardio than is needed for track and field. But that is the point. As of now in my season I can't/shouldn't play and my Vo2 has taken the hit, but I can run 20mineuts without falling over. The punch line, is no... you don't/shouldn't train for a distance event in season. Really there is no cross over in terms of energy demands however... an athlete absolutely needs to have and maintain general cardiovascular fitness throughout the season for much of the reasons posted above.


No energy system can be trained in isolation. Even running 30m sprints with full recovery is going to have some conditioning and some cardiovascular benefit. You will gain cardiovascular fitness while doing conditioning (short burst work with partial rest). However you never need to do any training that lies squarely in the cardiovascular spectrum. Soccer and rugby resemble conditioning more-so than they resemble distance running. There is a lot of short burst work with erratic periods of recovery.
Last edited by EIUvltr on Wed Apr 07, 2010 4:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The need for a cardiovascular base

Unread postby EIUvltr » Wed Apr 07, 2010 4:45 pm

Lax PV wrote:I think everyone is actually on the same page here, and are just getting all up in arms.

My humble opinion--

Do you need cardio and endurance, yes, to a point. Do you need to be able to run a marathon, god no.

If you have the energy to last 2 hours, and 12 jumps--at a high level--be that 13' or 18' (whatever your ability) you are in shape to vault. Does this mean you need to be able to train and be able to do things like this in September? No. I always tell my athletes, 'Nobody cares how fast you are in October.' That said, the training is set up to peak in May--or August depending on your schedule. So what kind of things can you do for this 'modified' cardio? How about, 20m of a sprint drill, wait 20 seconds, then 20m of another, then 20 seconds, then another... for say... 30 to 40 minutes? This satisfies quick, explosive AND repeated bouts of work... I believe it fits.

My guys will tell you I am definitely not against 150-200m repeats. But there is a time and a place for them. After the first of the year, most of that is gone, and they are focusing on maybe 75m accels up to 90%, long workouts of 40m repeats (say 12-14 reps with 2:00 recovery).

I don't think anyone here believes you need to run a marathon, but being in shape, yes. Being in 'the best shape' year round, thats going to be a hard thing to keep up with... unless you are superman (which would be pretty neat I guess).

Thoughts?


yes I completely agree. Recovery ability is key. Maybe I should rephrase my initial statement.

Cardiovascular fitness should not be a limiting factor in the pole vault, and if it is, you are REALLY out of shape. If you can't tie your shoes without taking a breather, then yes cardiovascular fitness is a limiting factor for you. HOWEVER, you will gain enough endurance via short burst/recovery work like what Lax just said or just vaulting! Having vault practices will increase your "vault endurance"-A term I just made up referring to the ability to take multiple vaults without fatigue setting in. The fact that someone as out of shape as me can take ~20-25 vaults and still clear decent bars is a tribute to this. Just stay active in the off-season. Play other sports, get a manual labor job, play with your dog. You should not be so out of shape by the time pre-season conditioning starts that you can't pick up a pole without going into cardiac arrest. If you are, you have been doing something very wrong, and it is NOT a lack of cardio.
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Re: The need for a cardiovascular base

Unread postby H.Gray » Wed Apr 14, 2010 6:28 pm

I have got to this great post too late too truly catch up but...

A certain amount of work capacity is needed for a vaulter to be able to get through enough training to make technical and physical improvements. Cardiovascular fitness plays a role in this, but not a big one. Also the manner in which work capacity is built/improved/maintained is important. Long slow distance (LSD) training should be avoided like the plague.

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Re: The need for a cardiovascular base

Unread postby kcvault » Wed Apr 14, 2010 11:59 pm

I would also say to say you don't need cardiovascular fitness in the vault is a bit Naive. It is true that for activities lasting less then 6 to 8 seconds that you are using your anaerobic system. However the vault does not take 8 seconds it takes hours. I have warmed up before then came in 2 hours later and jumped for another hour or so after that. One of my biggest meets last year I was in a jump off with one person for over an hour with out aerobic conditioning that would have been impossible. Not to mention the vault does not usually happen at full speed since your anaerobic system takes a really long time to recover you run full speed on a couple of jumps and you have pretty much screwed yourself for the rest of the competition. Also if you understand periodization you know you can't run full speed all year, your body quits adapting every 21 to 28 days, that's why you alter the volume to make you run different percentages of your max speed at different times of your training cycles.

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Last edited by kcvault on Thu Apr 15, 2010 11:08 am, edited 1 time in total.


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