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Not all Grips are Created Equal!

You're only trading one technical flaw for another

I think every coach's and athlete's goal is to set a new PR, and one way we all know to do that is by gripping up. It seems so simple, grip higher and you will jump higher, but is that always the case?

There are times when you might find out that your grip has gone up 6" to 12" and yet, you haven't pr'd yet. In these moments we tell ourselves that the grip alone is an indicator that we are getting better, and anytime now we will have that PR we are looking for. What does it mean if that PR never comes?

The great Vitaly Petrov, coach of Sergey Bubka, Yelena Isinbayeva, and Thiago Braz DaSilva, said that for every 1/2" your grip goes up, your PR should go up an inch. He figures that with ever half inch your grip goes up, that your push off should also increase a half inch as well. Now perhaps some people disagree, but simple math will show you that at the very least every grip you go up, your push off shouldn't go down. If you push off does go down, your PR will actually get worse.

So why wouldn't your PR increase if your grip is going up? You could be forcing the grip by delaying your swing too long, or maybe you also went on too soft a pole to get that grip and it doesn't unbend until you're past vertical. You might also be trading one technical flaw for another. Maybe your take off improved, but your swing is way too slow now. So while the grip is going up, your push off is decreasing, leaving you with the same PR. So the momentary victory you feel you achieved by gripping higher, actually left you in the same spot, same PR.

As athletes and coaches we must track grip and push off numbers so we can know if we are improving. Throughout collecting this data we can figure out what gives us more grip, what allows our push off to increase, and maybe more importantly, what hurts those factors. Knowing what causes your grip and push off to go down is important. And don't sacrifice one or the other. Gripping up and hoping the push off will be there isn't a plan. And an easy way to tell if you are gripping too high, is if your pr doesn't improve, or gets worse. When you grip up, you should PR!

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