Posted in High Jump, Instruction, Technique

High Jump Drills – Part 1: The Building Blocks Of Success

High jump drills strengthen and prepare the body for correct movements and angles during the high jump. Drills and practice train the body through repetition to perform.


The term drill and practice is defined as a method of instruction characterized by systematic repetition of concepts, examples, and practice problems. Drill and practice is a disciplined and repetitious exercise, used as a mean of teaching and perfecting a skill or procedure. As an instructional strategy, it promotes the acquisition of knowledge or skill through systematic training by multiple repetitions, rehearse, practice, and engages in a rehearsal in order to learn or become proficient. Similar to memorization, drill and practice involves repetition of specific skills, such as spelling or multiplication. To develop or maintain one’s specific skills, the subskills built through drill and practice should become the building blocks for more meaningful learning.

https://link.springer.com/referenceworkentry/10.1007%2F978-1-4419-1428-6_706

Here are my recommended drills and building blocks needed to excel in the high jump.


High Jump Drills: S-Run Drill.


Purpose.

The S-Run (SR) drill teaches you how to lean when running the curve of the “S”. The athlete also learns how to handle the pressure against the ground if you’re running fast enough.  Another gain is learning foot placement around the curves. Finally, you learn how to run the curves with an upright body posture with shoulders back.

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How To Perform.

The SR drill means you run about 50 meters in the shape of a continuous “S” shape. The “S” goes back and forth and you lean heavily both ways. The speed is consistent and quick paced, similar to the high jump approach run-up.

The SR drill should be performed away from the high jump apron but on a similar surface. An athlete should not be able to see the high jump pit or crossbar.

S-Run Image for High Jump Drills
Gellinger / Pixabay

Key Notes.

  • Body posture is upright with shoulders above or slightly behind hips
  • Shoulders and hips are aligned with foot direction
  • You must lean both ways for balance
  • Speed is brisk and similar to high jump approach run -up
  • No tilting from the shoulders or hips

High Jump Drills: Circle-Run Drill.


Purpose.

The purpose of the Circle Run (CR) drill is for an athlete to learn the feeling of running a curve correctly. As a matter of fact, the athlete learns about ground pressure, lean angles, and shoulder position in a curve.

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Additionally, the athlete practices the feeling of correct elbow angles when running the CR drill.

How To Perform.

Athletes perform the CR drill by running in a continuous circle. Furthermore, the athlete creates the circle width themselves. The athlete should use the dorsiflex foot position when contacting the ground at all times.

When running the CR drill, the athlete must keep the shoulders above the hips and avoid the glute-out posture. Additionally, the shoulders must align with the hips while running. 

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Finally, running speed should be similar to the high jump approach and heavy lean is accomplished continuously while running. Again, elbow angles should be 90 degrees and constant.

The CR drill should be run both ways and in 30 second increments.

Key Notes.

  • Running speed is quick and constant – should mimic approach speed or only slightly less
  • Run the circle both ways
  • Heavy lean is evident with heavy pressure on the ground
  • Circle measurement isn’t important; whatever an athlete is comfortable with
  • Run using the dorsiflex foot position
  • Shoulder’s are aligned with hips
  • No bending or tilting from the hips or shoulders
  • Elbow angle is constant at 90 degrees

High Jump Drills: Backward-Somersault Drill


Purpose.

The Backward-Somersault (BS) drill teaches athletes how to correctly allow their body to rise and rotate backwards. 

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Additionally, the BS drill teaches athletes how to keep their chin away from their chest when airborne.

How to Perform. 

To correctly perform the BS drill, athletes start in the high jump pit itself. While standing in the center of the mat, the athlete jumps up and slightly back with force. Throughout the whole drill, the chin is kept far away from the chest.

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The athlete’s body, hips, and legs rise up and over the body in a backward somersault motion. Finally, the athlete completes the somersault and lands on their stomach.

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Because the athlete jumped slightly backward with force and because the chin is kept far away from the body the entire time, the body naturally somersaults backward smoothly to a stomach landing.

Perform 10-15 reps in one set.

Key Notes.

  • The drill happens in the high jump pit (mat)
  • Jumper jumps up and back with force (try to jump high)
  • The chin stays away from the chest for the entire drill
  • Use the arms to block when jumping
  • Somersault backwards smoothly to a stomach landing

High Jump Drills: Glute-Plyo-Dropoff Drill  


Purpose.

The Glute-Plyo-Dropoff (GPD) drill strengthens an athlete’s muscles and tendons used during the ultimate step. It also teaches the foot, knee, and leg how to handle the pressure associated with the launch.

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Conditioning the mind for correct takeoff angles also happens with the GPD drill. The angles are easy to achieve because there’s no speed to overcome. Angles are also achieved because there’s no pressure on the ground leading up to the movement.

How To Perform.

The Glute-Plyo-Dropoff (GPD) drill starts with the athlete standing on a short box or step.  The box or step should be about 12 inches tall.

High jump Drills - Plyo Box
Plyo Box by Titan Fitness

The athlete drops off the step in the motion of the ultimate step. In other words, the foot and leg will extend in front of the athlete as he or she steps off the box. Upon landing, the athlete should have a mostly straight landing leg. Furthermore, there should be no bend in the hips or waist. The foot should be dorsiflexed, and the athlete should explode upward as soon as the foot touches the ground.

High Jump Drills: Dorsiflex
Dorsiflex 

Additionally, the movement towards the ground should be initiated by the glute and hamstring muscles pulling the foot down. The motion feels like grabbing the ground with the foot.

High Jump Drills: Glute and Hamstring
Glute and Hamstring

Finally, shoulders should be back and the athlete should think “bell-button” first when exploding off the ground.

The athlete should perform 10 reps in a row off of each leg.

Key Notes.

  • landing knee and hips should be mostly straight upon landing
  • landing foot and leg is pulled to the ground by glute and hamstring muscles
  • try to grab the ground with the foot
  • explode off the ground immediately, the faster the better
  • block with the arms simultaneously

High Jump Drills: Sitting-Arm-Swing-Drill.


Purpose.

The Sitting-Arm-Swing (SAS) drill teaches the athlete how run with correct arm movement. As a matter of fact, the athlete learns correct  elbow-bend angles and how to maintain them.

High Jump Drills - Geometry Mathematics Cube Hexahedron Bod
geralt / Pixabay

Additionally, correct arm-swing and elbow angles while running allows for energy retention and better tempo. That means it’s smooth!

How To Perform.

To perform the SAS drill correctly, the athlete must sit on a flat surface away from the high jump pit. While sitting, the athlete should have straight legs in front of them and feet together.  Moreover, the bottom of the knees should touch the ground surface as well.

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While sitting and with elbows hanging straight down, the athlete starts by bending the elbows so that the forearm is parallel with the straight leg on the ground.  The athlete should verify this angle because it’s important. Athletes sometimes also think the angle is correct when it isn’t.

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From this position, the athlete should start moving his or her arms quickly as if running. Furthermore, hold the elbow angles and DO NOT let them change.

Perform in 15 second intervals with multiple sets.

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Key Notes.

  • Pretend you’re running while sitting on the ground
  • Legs should be together and flat on the ground
  • Elbow bend should stay at 90 degrees for the whole movement
  • Elbow bend should not change
  • Keep shoulders still and parallel with the hips
  • houlders should be above hips

High Jump Drills – Part 1: Conclusion.


High jump drills strengthen and prepare the body for correct movements and angles during the high jump. The high jump drills I listed explain each drill’s purpose, steps of execution, and keynotes. I hope you find them useful.

Oh, and one more thing. Please be on the lookout for the “High Jump Drills – Part 2” article.

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Author:

Former collegiate high jumper and current high jump coach. I love teaching and sharing useful information. I love the sport of high jump and track & field events in general. Looking to help as many high jump enthusiasts as possible!

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