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Optimal body shape for vaulting.

Posted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 8:51 pm
by tylerd1994
Hey guys, I'm a senior this year and I've had some colleges looking in to me to vault for them next fall. What exactly is the ideal body composition for collegiate vaulter. Being pretty short at 5'4" I have a disadvantage on the whole physics side of vaulting. From my understanding the most important aspect for a person my size would be my speed and strength on the runway. As of now I have stocky build, right now I weigh in the upper 150's. I'm pretty strong for my size, I can bench 225, squat in the upper 200's, and have a pretty good amount of balance and core strength. I can do a standing back tuck, walk on my hands, etc. Since I'm probably going to vault in college, what would the ideal strategy be for me. I've never been on a strict work out plan and I'm about to start this week. Should I look towards cutting and doing more cardio and core rather than strength? I'd imagine being lighter would benefit me since of my height. I now have access to a large gym and areas to run every day. Any advise on how I should transform my body?

Re: Optimal body shape for vaulting.

Posted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 9:34 pm
by rainbowgirl28
Don't worry much about body shape. Focus on getting faster and improving your pole vault technique. It sounds like you are very strong already, so you don't need a ton of time in the weight room. Focus on explosive stuff like Olympic lifts and no bodybuilder crap. Your body shape will take care of itself.

Some guys don't stop growing until college, so you might get another inch or two yet :)

Re: Optimal body shape for vaulting.

Posted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 11:09 pm
by PV2020
If you are 5'4 150 male vaulter that squats 225 but can not squat 300 pounds, you are probably pretty top heavy. 225 is not bad for a high school senior, especially one your weight, but I know guys that weight with that bench press that are 6'0 so by no means stop benching, just make sure you are doing strength gain only (2-3 rep max effort) as to not add weight to upper body.

Rainbowgirl is right about Olympic lifting being very important and you should clean and snatch at least twice a week. But you need to keep two days of deep squat to keep upper hamstring, hip, and core strength. It is not about moving as much weight as you can, it is about proper form and getting stronger in the right places.

As a vaulter you want to have a pretty even bend if not slightly top heavy (higher center of mass swings faster). Just make sure you do not get massive legs or anything so that you do not lose range of motion in your running technique.

But key questions to evaluate if your body type is working...

What is your PR? What are your sprinting times? And what pole (length and weight) and what grip height do you use?

Re: Optimal body shape for vaulting.

Posted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 5:17 pm
by fishman4god
I agree with Rainbowgirl no bodybuilder nonsense. From a pole vaulter/gymnastics point of view size is not the objective but rather strength to weight ratio. And while I am on this slant pulling type activities are more beneficial than pushing for pole vault. I will try to explain; when you plant you push the pole up over your head and your left arm up and forward a little but from that point on you are swinging to inversion and then at the end pulling yourself up to and through the inversion. So consequently pushing as in bench press does not really benefit vaulting. Bench press is a great strength building exercise but doesn't do much for vaulting mechanics. On another note squats are a great strength building exercise as well but as rainbowgirl stated working on speed would be highly beneficial whereas squats would help some with speed but it reallya power building exercise. As a final point of encouragement I was 5'3" and 133lb. as a senior in high school, I grew 4 inches and jumped 16' in college in 1980 so do not let the "physics" worry you, you can still jump high. There have been some really high jumps fro short guys just google Greg Duplantis, he vaulted over 19' and was/is only 5'6". Yes you read that right over 19'!!!!!! So if you are fast enough(very important) and have great technique (also very important) then you can FLY!!!!!

Re: Optimal body shape for vaulting.

Posted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 5:19 pm
by fishman4god
Hey by the way how high did you jump in High school? Just curious.

Re: Optimal body shape for vaulting.

Posted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 6:27 pm
by tylerd1994
I do think my legs are fairly strong because I remember doing leg presses last year near 300 for reps. But I can agree that I am a bit top heavy. I've got a few d3 schools wanting me to vault for them next year so my goal for this season will be around 14', I jumped around 13' last year. My problem is I weigh a lot for my size comparative to my speed. I've been having difficulties moving up lengths in poles so I've been progressively moving up weights, last year I ended at a 13' grip on a 14' 155 spirit . Now that I have a gym at my disposal and an educated trainer there I came to you guys for a good guideline to find out where I should be working. Thanks for the imput so far! As for speed goes I'm a below average sprinter. Generally the shorter the distance the better I do but a good estimate on my times would be. 100m - 12.5-12.8 200m 25.0- 25.5 400m 59.0-60.0 . There may be a good chance I'll end up training for the 400 this year because we are low on numbers. I've done some research on my weight and where a good exceptionable goal would be and I'm looking to hit 140 by Febuary. I'm going to stick to a 1500 calorie diet with lean meats, veggies, etc. I plan on working out at least 4 times a week. I figured this is a good goal to take myself to the next level since I may participate in college. So now what do you guys think of that, and this possible workout scheme. Btw I'll be working out at my local YMCA

Monday- Boxing/Kick Boxing/ Plyometrics Class for an hour. ( A pole vault coach I know is teaching this, hopefully it will be beneficial)
Sprint training on curved runway. 40's 100's chinups and situps in between. Explosive work

Tuesday- Pickup Basketball for cardio, Upper body in gym, Olympic lifts, benching, overhead press

Wednesday- Same as monday

Thursday- Pickup Basketball for cardio, Legs day- Squats, Deadlifts, Leg Press

Friday- Pickup Basketball, Biking for 5-6 miles. Any other advice for fridays?

Thanks guys, I appreciate all the help. I would really like to get my body to the next level for this season because the more I think about it the more I want to be competitive at the collegiate level. !

Re: Optimal body shape for vaulting.

Posted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 6:36 pm
by fishman4god
Sounds pretty good for pre season. I would throw in a couple or three days of 2-3 mile runs for cardio and weight loss. Good luck

Re: Optimal body shape for vaulting.

Posted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 6:40 pm
by tylerd1994
Okay I may go up to 4 then, I'll add it to Fridays and maybe over the weekend if I can. I ran cross this year so I can run distance pretty well.

Re: Optimal body shape for vaulting.

Posted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 6:55 pm
by tsorenson
I think your conditioning workouts sound great, but forget the caloric limit. If you are in HS and training hard, you should not be starving yourself. If all you are eating is lean meats and veggies, and doing cardio 5-6 days/week, you should have as many calories as you want. Your body is still growing, so make sure you give it the fuel and building blocks it needs!

Don't forget to do a lot of work on pole vault drills if you want to meet your potential in the pole vault, especially plant drills and swing drills.

Good luck,

Re: Optimal body shape for vaulting.

Posted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 6:57 pm
by tylerd1994
Okay I'll take that advice, I mainly just need to cut away the junk I eat on an ordinary basis. At the end of November I'll be starting indoor pole drills at a local school. They have a 60ft runway inside and do a lot of 3-5 step runs and planting drills. I'll probably go once a week.!

Re: Optimal body shape for vaulting.

Posted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 7:51 pm
by PV2020
Plan looks good, but do not be afraid to push heavy weight with legs. This summer I did leg press and slowly, let me reiterate slowly, moved up weight and ended lifting around 750 for reps of 5 where at the beginning of summer could not do any where near that. This year my vertical is about 3 inches higher. I am 180 with a lot bigger than 5'3 frame, but 300 pounds on leg press for reps is not much at all. POWER HELPS! Also those Olympic lifts, slowly build up to it, but by the time track season rolls around you should be doing HEAVY power clean for sets of 2 or 3 reps. And heavy is like 95% of your max for reps.

Some people will tell you not to run distance, but if you are lifting heavy and doing powerful explosive movements you will still get faster. 2-3 miles 3 or 4 times a week is great to help speed up your metabolism and just keep you in good shape. As an elite level vaulter you just want to make sure you can keep your body fat at around 10%, that is more important than the actual weight you weigh.

Re: Optimal body shape for vaulting.

Posted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 11:42 pm
by altius
Assuming that you actually want to pole vault higher than 14' next year I would suggest you ditch most of the training listed and/or recommended and concentrate on improving your vault technique with 2/3 drill sessions a week plus at least one session working on whatever your full run will be next year - at least 16 steps!

Forget the long runs and heavy weights!! I coached at least 50 plus boys - and one girl - over 14' between 1978 and 2004 and none of them did either of those activities - which are basically irrelevant for most vaulters - but especially a 14' vaulter!!!

Now this should stir this topic up!