I saw this question online. My younger brother is an elite level high jumper and I was once Australian junior champion when I was at school. One of the things that we both agree on is the approach needed to become a champion high jumper. The winning height that you will achieve on the day doesn’t just occur on that day, but it is a result of the training that you do beforehand.
What training should you do to become good at high jump?
Out of all of the training that I used to do, the most important was conditioning training. This is preparing and conditioning your body to jump higher and to break through your physical barriers, so you can clear higher heights when doing the high jump.
The entire focus is to condition your body so you can execute more power to clear higher heights. So this will involve you doing plyometrics training, strengthening exercises through weight training, and explosive exercises.
This is also a long-term approach. You will need to start training 6-9 months before you want to peak and succeed in your high jump goals.
The second thing is practicing repetition so that it becomes second nature to you. You want to be able to execute every phase without thinking about it. If your body isn’t in the right condition, you will think about forcing your body to be at certain positions prior to making the jump.
Additionally, you want your biomechanics to automatically set you up for the jump. The only way you can achieve this is by doing constant repetition. But the success of the repetition depends heavily on your body’s condition.
In the leadup to a competition, the main thing we would always focus on was perfecting the runup. We would only do a few jumps during the session. But perfecting the runup so that the body was in exactly the right position so that the take-off foot would allow me as the jumper to execute as much vertical power as possible was essential.
We would often practice the different phases of the runup.
- The last 3-5 steps
- The curve
- The approach
- The rhythm
- Controlling the speed
Improving your explosiveness
The other major factor that you must improve if you want to get good at high jump is the explosiveness from your muscles. You can only develop this by doing explosive exercise training, such as bounding, vertical jumps, three-step vertical jumps, hurdle jumps and more.
There are two factors.
- Improving your static vertical jump
- Improving your vertical jump from your running speed.
The more successful you are at transferring your horizontal speed to vertical height, the more successful you will be at clearing higher heights.
Improving your technique.
This is the 20% that will get you that extra bit of height and allow you to clear another 5-10 centimetres or more. This involves perfecting your arch and timing over the bar. However, without the explosiveness, you won’t see great improvements in your high jump performance.
- You will need to improve the flexibility in your back, as well perfect your timing over the bar.
- You will need to improve the angle of your body so that you jump vertically and not horizontally into the bar.
- You will need to perfect your knee drive so that you maximise your vertical leap over the bar.
Focus on these areas and you will see noticeable improvements in your high jump performance.