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How to Choose Exercises and Workouts for Pole Vaulters

In a previous article, “The Performance Equation” I touch upon the topic of how training and technique work together but I wanted to give a more specific example in this article. I recently posted a video of an athlete doing pull overs on a high bar on @therealapexvaulting. Now let’s say you find that you are slow on the pole and you aren’t very efficient. If you are a male vaulter and you are gripping 13’6” and you jump 13’6” that’s a good start but that’s only 8” push. You can do better. At this point you may choose to do pull overs to increase your push off and make your jump faster. However after only a couple of weeks you find that your pull overs plateau. They aren’t getting any faster and you still can’t no touch the high bar as you go over it. Well what you need to do is choose an auxiliary exercise or a main lift that can help drive you past your plateau. At Apex we treat pull ups as a main lift and will always push for a max effort pull ups for at least 2-4 weeks of every season. Most male and female vaulters that can no touch during pull overs can do a weighted pull up with at least 50% of their body weight. Athletes who can no touch the bar during pull overs with great speed can do pull ups with weights that are 70% of their body weight. As an example lets say you have a male athlete that weighs 150 lbs he should be able to do a max effort pull up with 75lbs. So the athlete would load a weight belt for pull ups with 75 lbs and be able to get their chin above the bar. The same athlete would have to do pull ups with 105 lbs to do a no touch pull over with great speed.

Now lets say you have programmed pull ups into your athlete’s training and they are still having difficulty hitting the numbers that they need to no touch during pull overs, at that point you would need to isolate some muscle or muscle groups that are preventing the athlete from accomplishing the goal. Perhaps it is the lats or maybe it’s their grip strength. You might want to do rows, farmer carries , or suitcase carries just to name a few. Once you address the athletes weakness they should then be able to break through the plateau in pull ups, then they will improve their pull overs.

At this point the athlete is physically prepared to show the desired improvement in technique in the pole vault and get that new pr in his or her push off. That 8” push off can maybe grow to 12” plus!

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