Pole Vault Developing Bend

Developing bend in the pole is one of the most difficult things for beginners. The following drills explain how to resist the pole and develop bend. Contrary to what some people believe and often what it looks like a bendy pole does not ‘spring’ the vaulter off the top but rather allows them to hold higher up the pole which in turns results in a higher vault.


The core of the body should be firm, with the whole body in an extended position. The arms should be as high as possible pressing upward. The pole must be kept moving by putting pressure on it. Keep the pole away from the body. Raise the hips and roll the shoulders underneath. This will bring the pole in close to the body in a vertical alignment.

Pole Vault pop up inversion drill

Initially all pole vault drills are done with a straight pole because we need to learn to move the pole forwards and swing on a straight pole before bending. This is a straight pole inversion drill that gets the vaulters used to being upside down on the pole whilst jumping.

We are looking to hit the same take off position as all the previous drills and kick the left leg through into inversion, using its momentum to help rock back and invert upside down on the pole. This is the reason we keep the left leg back at take off so there is increased swing on the leg as it comes forwards, using it as a pendulum. Fast right arm, kick, swing and invert.

Bendy Pole drive drill

This is a progression from the straight pole vaulting into creating a bend in the pole and keeping the pole moving. We need to keep the pole ‘rolling’ after take off and keep the movement right the way through to the vertical.

The vaulter approaches and aims to keep the pole away from them as they jump and hold the take off position right through as the pole goes to vertical and beyond. Getting the right pole for your body weight and strength is important. If it is too light bend will come easy but you risk over bending as your technique improves. If the pole is too stiff then a huge amount of left arm strength might be needed which in turn can lead to injuries.

Bendy Pole inversion drill

In this drill we are looking at a take off resisting the pole then kicking into the bend at the top using a long left leg to swing into the inversion.

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