Pole Vault Warm Up & Conditioning

The pole vault places a lot of strain on the lower back so it is important to warm up thoroughly and in particular mobilise the lower back. These drills take you through a pole vault specific warm up.

Core strength is also important not only for stability at the plant but enabling the vaulter to efficiently invert on the pole. Rope training is an excellent way of improving core strength and getting the athlete used to being upside down. Gymnastics is also an important part of a vaulters training and here we demonstrate a number of useful gymnastics exercises for pole vaulters.

The following warm up drills can be done before a pole vault training session. They work on mobilising the ankle, knee and hip joints ready for the demands of the Pole Vault.

The following warm up drills can be done before a pole vault training session.

  • Ankle rolls – moving gradually into run through.
  • Toe bounces – foot should be in dorsi flexion nice and light to the cone into run through.
  • Long pushes – straight leg moving into acceleration run then back into long pushes to finish.
  • Sideways cross overs – lift the heel over the knee of the front foot then back behind. Keep the core strong. Repeat in the other direction.
  • High knee pick up into acceleration run keeping the foot dorsi flexed.

Pole Vault Rope Training

Training with ropes is excellent for improving pole vault technique. The inversion drill mimics the movement on the pole and can get the vaulters used to the feeling of being upside down and improve core strength. Rope climbing is great strength training for pole vaulting.

Hold your take off position, swing the left leg nice and long to inversion (upside down) keeping the right knee up. Using your core strength you are aiming to rotate around your shoulders and not break early at the hips. The dynamic left leg adds energy to the movement and makes inversion easier during the vault.

Simple rope climbs are a good upper body strength training exercise. This can be done initially using the feet, contolling the decent back down. As they get stronger they can start to do with without using the feet, just the hands. Keeping the legs out straight whilst using just the hands contributes to the core strength.

Gymnastics is an important part of Pole Vault Training. It improves the athletes body awareness when they are upside down on the pole. The following videos show basic exercises including cartwheels and backwards rolls.

Floor Gymnastics Exercises

Basic gymnastics such as cartwheels remembering dorsiflexion throughout all drills, this helps with running mechanics

Backward roll to handstand with push off and pike  – This help with the top end of vault. good core and body tension throughout the extension at the top, driving up and into pike as if going over the bungee or bar. progression for this is to do a backwards roll to handstand into half turn and roll out.

Walking on hands -basic strength exercise. Testing upper body strength, body control and getting used to using upper body and core throughout movement.

Warm Up – Floor Mobility

With pole vault there is a lot of strain on the back and trunk, particularly at take off and it is important to have a good range of motion but also to be strong throughout that range of motion. These simple warm-up drills are excellent for preparing to vault.

Floor mobility drills

  • Cat stretch – arch the back up and down on all fours.
  • Shoulder presses – push the hips down as you push the shoulders up.
  • Elbow to knee and opening right to twist through the range of motion.
  • Knee out to the side – seven times on each side keeping stomach and core strong.
  • Push back and lift knee – keep trunk stable as if you are doing a hurdle drill.
  • Leg sweeps – keep the leg nice and straight.
  • Kickbacks – move the knee forwards before kicking back and keep everything in line.
  • Rollies – looks at the athletes awareness of body position. Doing different stretches as the athletes roll up and over.
  • Leg switches – above the head up on your shoulders and move the legs both forwards and backwards as well as sideways
  • Opposite foot to hand – lying on front and passing back leg across to opposite hand keeping the stationary leg straight. Repeat on the back with same foot to same hand.
  • Prone but kicks – 10 times on each side with the same leg to activate the hamstrings.
  • Spiderman switches – nice and quick, a variation on squat thrusts.