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Petrov Model vs. Lavillenie Model

Posted: Sat May 24, 2014 3:33 pm
by KirkB
On the "Lavillenie : summer 2014 calendar" thread (, Wan wrote:
Wan wrote:I'm watching it...
Some words from Bubka himself will hurt a lot of Petrov's model absolute believers here I think... ;)
Hope to be able to show this report soon.

This prompted me to open this new thread, since I think there's a big difference between a Petrov Model believer and someone (like me) that feels that the PM is better not due to blind, dogmatic faith, but due to the fact that the alternatives (including what I'm referring to as the Lavillenie Model) are either unknown, unproven, or undocumented to the extent that a beginner or intermediate (or even advanced) vaulter can base their training program and their technique on.

I don't know if Lavillenie's technique is actually called the Lavillenie Model (yet), but I'm calling it that, since there appears to be no specific model that he's following. It's his own. I'm sure he's following some ideas learned from sources other than the PM, but exactly what these are (and what elite vaulters have succeeded in following such a model) are still relatively unknown.

Off the top of my head, the main differences between the LM and the Petrov Model (as depicted by Sergei Bubka, Yelena Isinbayeva, and several others) are:

1. The PM is better documented. There are many references in the literature and on the internet re the PM, and there is a well-known book on the topic - BTB2 - "Beginner to Bubka and Isinbayeva too!" (Launder/Gormley 2007).

2. The PM is explained in more scientific terms, according to the Laws of Physics. Notice that I did not say that it is scientifically superior to the LM. It's just that there's very little documentary evidence thus far regarding the scientific merits of the LM - according to the Laws of Physics. There have been SOME attempts at explaining the LM, but to date, these attempts appear to me to be more junk science than scientifically provable explanations of the merits of the LM from a biomechanical perspective.

3. The PM is agnostic to both male and female vaulters. While the LM might well be just as applicable to females as males, but there's very little evidence that this is the case. In fact, there is some evidence that the LM might be too difficult for females to execute properly. (If there's any elite females that use the LM, who are they?)

4. There are well-established and well-documented drills and training programs based on the PM. Thus, beginning and intermediate vaulters can learn the PM technique from the get-go, without much independent experimentation needed by the vaulter or his/her coach.

5. The PM is actionable. A vaulter or his/her coach know where to start with the PM, and how to progress. With the LM, where do you start? :confused:

For these reasons, I will continue to lean towards the PM (allowing for some minor individual deviation, but not much) over the LM. This is not blind faith - it's just being pragmatic.

However, my ears are open if the merits of the LM become more well-known, well-documented, and bio-mechanically proven. After all, since he's now the indoor WR holder, he must be doing something right! We just haven't put our finger on it yet!

What are your thoughts on this?


Re: Petrov Model vs. Lavillenie Model

Posted: Sat May 24, 2014 8:15 pm
by PVDaddy
Kirk, There are a few of us working on this very point you make behind the seen. Many believe that what I have been calling the Inocencio/Lavellenie or IL method (Perhaps mistakenly as it remains to be revealed the amount of Technical Input Inocencio has contibuted? But we do know that Inocencio is lavellenies current coach.) has the potential to be a more efficient method in the pole support phase. So far the Physics and numbers seem to bare this out. We have been attempting to reverse engineer and describe the method with the utilization of sound Physics to the best of our abillity. I thought you might find this Pm I sent out yesterday to be interesting as it addressed some of the very points you make here:

I am very eager in carrying this discussion forward with you as I have always been fascinated and motivated as a coach and sports scientist (Not by title, but, by application and outcome) to determine what is the absolute most efficient technique in the pole vault. It is my hope that collectively we can come very close to determining what that is? I have always thought that it was the PB model and that it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to improve upon, because the physics made sense with its continuous, seamless flow of uninterrupted energy input from beginning to end. However,I am very open minded to any possibility and change in viewpoint as my goal as a coach has always been to provide my vaulters with the most advantages technique available. I understand that Just because one technique may have superior efficiency for a few capable of performing it, it may be inferior for instruction to the masses were the majority are not. I am not yet convinced that this is the case with the IL method, just because a few have made that claim? It has not even been laid out in any written format or explanation of its Physical advantages yet. That is in fact what we are attempting to do here and what makes this dialogue so fascinating and even groundbreaking! Also it has not even been understood, digested or attempted by the masses yet, so nobody is in a position to make that claim. From my perspective it is in many ways much more simple, but, that is a discussion for another day. We are here to discuss how and why Lavellenie is able to make it work.

In order for us to greatly move our collective knowledge forward on the IL method, it would be very helpful for us to come to areas of mutual agreement and to hash out other areas we are both exploring. I will attempt to list the areas that I believe we are in agreement and also share my thoughts with you on other areas I may not agree or to just provide food for thought.

Areas I believe we are in Agreement.

1) Their respective methods are radically different. Regardless of what many other sold out Petrovites (And I am one) claim or are willing to except. They may have discovered a better, more efficient, method of pole vaulting?

2) Lavellenie is shorter and slower than Bubka and therefore from a Physical standpoint he is at a bio-mechanical disadvantage from the beginning: a. He has to begin with a lower plant angle and therefore has a greater distance required to rotate his pole to vertical and this angle makes it more difficult to transfer energy from the run up to the pole. b. He does not have as much KE coming into take off which is by far the lions share of energy (approximately 80%) ever generated in the vault.

3) He makes up for it with a more efficient swing ( pole support) phase. The extra energy can only comes from this point forward.

Do you agree with me up to this point? I will be following up with were/how I believe Lavellenie gets that extra energy during his pole support/swing phase?

May I suggest that since there are currently no known proven coaches or vaulting experts with demonstrable credentials yet, besides Inocencio and lavellenie themselves, that everyone be open to and respect the opinions of everyone?

Another PM on this subject on Wed:

I agree that the second set of numbers you used comparing Bubka's to Lavellenies swing efficiencies based on projected hip height over the bar are more then fair. If anything, it shows that the Inocencio/Lavellenie or IL method is at least, but, far more likely more efficient then the PB method. The facts of the matter is Lavellenie is shorter and slower then Bubka yet he/they found a way to raise the bar with perhaps a more efficient technical Model (it is not even close to being the same as the PB model!) during Pole support. Our efficiency calculations also seem to bare this out. For this, the French deserve much credit. David Bussabarger and perhaps yourself were ahead of the curve recognizing this from a Physics standpoint early on using self critical thinking skills. I have always believed Closed mindedness and lack of critical thinking is a coaches worst enemy.

I can't speak for others, but, from a coaches perspective all of this has caused me to take a very close look at this new and perhaps State of the art Model of pole vaulting for the 21st century. This is coming from an old, died in the wool, sold out PB Model fan.

I would really enjoy exchanging some thoughts with you on how Lavellenie makes better use of the gravity vector in further correspondence.

My New question for you is what height would Lavellenie be capable if he could generate 9.9 M/S in the runway? Care to post that as well?

Re: Petrov Model vs. Lavillenie Model

Posted: Sat May 24, 2014 10:31 pm
by PVDaddy
OK I could not wait, so I did the Physics.

If Lavellenie could run 9.9 M/S his Kinetic Energy generated on the runway would be KE=1/2 Mass X Velocity Squared which is 1/2 X 69 Kg X 9.9 M/S X 9.9 MS = 3381 Joules.

Our swing efficiency calculations showed that the IL Method generates 25% of Total Energy (PE) post take off and 75% on the runway (KE).So his swing energy is 33% of his Kinetic energy.

1.33 X KE = 1.33 x 3381 Joules = 4497 Joules. That's the amount of Potential energy Lavellenie would generate.

PE= Mass X Gravity X Height so H =PE/MG or 4497/69 X 9.8 = 4497/676 = 6.65 Meters.

WOW! Even if we are off by some still wow! Now what if Lavellenie was 6 ft 1?

Re: Petrov Model vs. Lavillenie Model

Posted: Sun May 25, 2014 1:24 am
by PVDaddy
Heres my theory of why Lavellenie is so efficient in his pole support phase.

From the very beginning of Plant and going into take-off and into swing I believe Lavellenie makes every effort possible to keep his COG as low as possible. I believe he has a very flat take off and basically just runs under the pole with a minimum of jumping effort or knee drive. This means he has no breaking effect from transitioning into a jump and therefore tremendous vertical velocity going into take off and therefor a great amount of force is immediately applied to the pole from his top hand. He just continues to drive himself under it allowing the force of his mass to be delivered to the pole from his top hand. With a slightly bent bottom elbow he makes sure the full force of his run up is delivered to the end of the lever (The top hand) and keeps it there throughout the entirety of his vault. Like I said he has no knee drive and in fact lowers his drive knee to match his swing foot while at the same time fully extends his left hand which together make his swing path and COG as low as possible. His bottom hand never goes over his head or has to be re-extended like Bubkas during vaulter/pole loading to lower it. His COG is immediately as low as possible and earlier on in his swing than Bubkas so he takes advantage of the gravity vector earlier illustrated by his immediate and more severe pole bend. Will points out the importance of the gravity vector in this statement and I believe it captures the essence of Lavellenies success:

It is therefore beneficial for the vaulter to try and have gravity compress the pole more and effect their swing less by braking the swing into the pole and present a better relation to gravity for as long as possible.

Lavellenie assist and maintains this perpendicular to gravity position by a full extension of his bottom hand and the lowering of his drive knee to match his swing leg and by this time the vaulter/pole system is fully loaded with the COG immediately as low as possible. Much earlier in the swing than the PB method. I do not believe the swing is as long as Bubkas and I personally do not see any delay in it (I believe this would be a mistake). He simply goes from from a very low COG vaulter/Pole system loading swing path position to an immediate double leg swing (Frog like) into an immediate tucK (a ball) with both thighs and knees at each side of his hips while throughout the entire swing makes a concerted effort to maintain a leaned back position on the top hand for maximum pole bend.

From the moment the foot leaves the ground the flexible pole (for a right handed vaulter) immediately begins leaning to the left and bends to the left. This creates a larger window to swing through that the stiff pole did not nearly offer (Earlier stiff pole vaulters had to learn more how to swing around the pole). This left bend is sever but in Lavellenies case it is even more sever earlier on. This has a major effect on the physics of the vaulters swing path. As it is giving way left it causes the vaulters swing path to be oriented in that direction rather then perpendicular. To compensate for this, the wise vaulter steers their swing path to the right and up or toward the top hand. This is necessary in order to create a perpendicular swing. Altius, I have just answered for you why and how the sideways pole bend effects the Physics of the vault. Because Lavellenies pole bend is more sever and earlier on he compensates by orientating his swing path even more so to the right then Bubka's to the point his take off foot swings well more past the right side of the pole then Bubka's and I believe it is possible this counter side swing achieves better counter thrust bend to the pole at the top of his swing as well?

In addition Lavellenie has a double leg thrust into his extension, with more inertia generated by the use of both legs early on then Bubkas, from the pike position, which compensates for the inertia Bubka adds and Lavellenie misses through greater shoulder rotation at the top. As you know I have been a huge proponent of really emphasizing generating maximum energy at the top. I find it very interesting that it is while coming out of this Pike (I call the second body coil) that the vaulter is able to generate the most acceleration at any point in the swing and boy at what a great time going into fly!

Petrov: When the vaulter is unbending, the pole also has the highest speed of uncoiling
upwards, therefore, the combination of the pole's carrying capacity and the athlete's
unbending movement generates an accelerated thrust upwards, and by the end of the
unbending movement the centroidal axis reaches the maximum vertical speed
(Bubka's speed reached up to 6 m/s)

Of course Lavellenies also makes use of a top hand leaning pull as he tucks and a strong bottom hand push toward the pit (some call this a pull, but I prefer to call it a push, because the majority of the motion is away from the body) as the pole uncioils (The strong grippin action in this effort ensures the maxmum amount of kinetic enery is transferred to the vaulter and at the perfect moment) and a strong top hand push on the bearing point of the pole down to the box adds the final additional energy to flyaway.

Re: Petrov Model vs. Lavillenie Model

Posted: Sun May 25, 2014 3:47 pm
by KirkB
Re technique, I defer to PVStudent, who has adequately and eloquently answered Will and PVDaddy in other threads.

I'm actually hopeful that this particular thread can be used to discuss the OTHER aspects of the PM vs. the LM - the 5 issues that I enumerated.


Re: Petrov Model vs. Lavillenie Model

Posted: Mon May 26, 2014 6:42 am
by Decamouse
2014 Vertical Jumps Conference in Colgne - had a presentation about some of this - training and such

Kirk - as far as some of the points like what is their goal (other than clear high bars) - would be nice if we could get some info right from the coach and vaulter

Would also be nice if we could discuss without certain entities making it a " I told you so" fest

Just a few I would that from observation:
1. Do not take off under
2. Maximum usable speed
3.Swing energy/speed

Being in a proper (what is proper is a discussion) position when the pole straightens - this is were the physical traits and abilities of the vaulter can create more variations -

Now about pole bend and direction -- I would say some of that is dictated by the design and rule requirements or the box -- you have to have it turn and rotate to the side if you want to shorten the chord more -- back of box is 105 degrees - sides are 120 degrees - but equally import is bottom right corner to top left of box (for right hander - I am a lefty) is in the 140 degree -- just like hitting the pit or box collar with your pole -- the top edges of the box can inhibit pole bend and rotation

So at that level they would prefer to plant in the most beneficial/least inhibiting spot. Do they always accomplish - no --

Re: Petrov Model vs. Lavillenie Model

Posted: Mon May 26, 2014 5:03 pm
by KirkB
Decamouse wrote: 2014 Vertical Jumps Conference in Colgne - had a presentation about some of this - training and such

Kirk - as far as some of the points like what is their goal (other than clear high bars) - would be nice if we could get some info right from the coach and vaulter ...

Decamouse wrote: Would also be nice if we could discuss without certain entities making it a " I told you so" fest ...
There's plenty of other Lavillenie threads where the war of the technical models can be battled. I hope this thread can more of an information gathering source for coaches and vaulters re Lavillenie and his training methods and his technical "intent".

Personally, I am much more interested in translations of links or literature of French origin than I am of English-speaking pundits who fancy themselves as amateur biomechanics. Not that interpretations (if based soundly on the Laws of Physics) aren't of interest, it's just that it would be better to hear about Lavillenie's training program and technical focus from sources close to him. This thread should NOT be about reverse-engineering of Lavillenie vids - there's plenty of other threads already doing that!

If we could find some links to the 2014 Vertical Jumps Conference in Colgne, that would be GREAT!

Wan and Palm1234 hinted at some French language information about Lavillenie in the "Lavillenie : summer 2014 calendar" thread. I'm hoping we can get some English translations from those links - from Wan or any other bilinguals amongst us.


Re: Petrov Model vs. Lavillenie Model

Posted: Tue May 27, 2014 1:38 am
by KirkB
Here's a good link that I found:

Check out the slide re Free Takeoff!

DamienIncencio-PV-TrainingPhilosophyReTakeoff.png (40.56 KiB) Viewed 26602 times

Now we know Lavillenie's intent! Or at least his coach's intent.


Re: Petrov Model vs. Lavillenie Model

Posted: Tue May 27, 2014 1:39 am
by KirkB
I think we're done. We can all go home now! :)


Re: Petrov Model vs. Lavillenie Model

Posted: Tue May 27, 2014 9:11 pm
by PVstudent
Hi, perhaps this is what you want check it out:

You will find Phillipe D'Encausse's training presentation notes from conference Cologne 2014 here.

Re: Petrov Model vs. Lavillenie Model

Posted: Tue May 27, 2014 9:42 pm
by KirkB
PVstudent wrote:Hi, perhaps this is what you want check it out:

You will find Phillipe D'Encausse's training presentation notes from conference Cologne 2014 here.

Yes, this is good. There may be a bit of confusion though, about who's coaching Lavillenie. Incencio is publishing almost identical information about HIS training program (see my link above).

I think the answer is that both D'Encausse and Inncencio are helping Lavillenie (in their respective roles) at their French National Pole Vault Center in Clermont-Ferrand. They are sharing their slides, so I'm sure they're collaborating to train/coach the 8 athletes listed on slide 4.

If anyone knows, I would be interested in understanding exactly what their respective roles are. I have some interest in knowing Phillipe's role, since I have vaulted against his father (Hervé) back in the day, and Hervé was Phillip's coach during his prime.

There is a lineage there, and that may have some influence on their training methods and technique, but it's quite clear to me (now) that they have studied the Petrov Model quite closely. How else would Damien Incencio have called Lavelinnie's takeoff a Free Takeoff?

I don't think we can classify Lavillennie's technique as the classic French Model. The French have had a lot of good vaulters (with WRs) through the years, but I think it's quite clear (now) that Lavillenie is NOT trying to take off under (like the earlier French vaulters used to). But this is just my opinion. I would be interested in hearing other interpretations/opinions about this.

Altius, I'll bet they've even studied your book! :yes: :D