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5 Things You Need to Know About Pole Vault

By Contributor

A Blast From the Past

Pole Vaulting began with ancient Greeks and Cretans vaulting over bulls to avoid confrontation. The pole vault was also known to Celtics who used it to cover distances rather than heights. The track and field event has evolved from competitors who climbed the pole vault in flight, to the use of lightweight fiberglass poles that allow competitors to reach heady altitudes.

Pole Vaults 'R Us

There is no superstore devoted to pole vaulting equipment, so you'll need to find an outlet that specializes in track and field items. The shoes are lightweight and have cleats to help you dig in and push off for speed and height. Look for a pole vaulting pole that is for twice your weight so it can accept the kinetic energy created by the run and rebound to propel you up and over the bar. The box is made of aluminum or steel and are specific to meet competition guides. Crossbars and safety pads are typically provided, although you can purchase them for your own use.

Vault Into Good Health

Pole vaulting is a full-body activity, meaning the athlete uses every major muscle group in training and competition. An athlete has to be fast, strong and agile. He uses his lower body to create speed, his upper body, arms to hoist himself up to his maximum height, and the agility of a gymnast to pull himself over the bar in stages as he releases the pole. Some gymnastic ability is also important to land properly and avoid injury.

The Harder You Train, the Higher You Fly

Running is only a part of pole vaulting. Track and field athletes also train by lifting weights to increase upper body strength. Dance class teaches athletes how to use their bodies. Serious pole vaulters even go to gymnastics class to learn tumbling, piking and vaulting techniques. Athletes typically vault twice a week, then condition and train for the approach for the remainder of the week.

Approach the Bench

The judges who score a pole vaulting competition are a strict bunch. Once competition has started, the bar can not be lowered. Jumps are measured to the lesser of 1/4 inch or centimeter, and each athlete can make a maximum of 3 attempts at a specific height. If only a few pole vaulters are competing, each will get plenty of time to perform. Otherwise, athletes might have to adhere to a tight schedule.

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