Jump disciplines in athletics

Jump disciplines in athletics

In addition to throwing and running disciplines, athletics also offers jumping disciplines. These jumping disciplines each consist of high jump and long jump, the norms of which have changed repeatedly over time. These four disciplines are high jump, pole vault, long jump and triple jump.

high jump

In the modern high jump, a four-meter-long bar is jumped over as high as possible after a curved run-up, which falls at the slightest touch. The world record is 2.45 m for men and 2.09 m for women. The athlete lands on their back on a soft mat.

The Celts held the first high jump competitions. Today’s competition rules were laid down in England in 1865. According to this, you can only jump with one foot; three attempts are allowed per height, and the bar must not be lowered after a failed attempt. While the feet had to cross the bar first until 1936, today, the so-called flop is typical, in which the head is the first part of the body.

In general, lumbar spine complaints are in the foreground in all jumping disciplines. The run-up can also cause the same injuries as sprinting. The most common injuries in high jumpers occur in the knee and ankle joints, and back pain often occurs (also as a late consequence). When jumping off, the adductors of the swinging leg are particularly at risk. Possible long-term consequences are ankle problems and ligament ruptures.


pole vault

In pole vaulting, a stable pole is used to overcome a bar that is as high as possible. The inrun occurs on a straight track at least 45m long and 1.22m wide. The length and thickness of the bar depend on the athlete’s height, weight and strength.

Jumping with sticks was common in ancient times. While on Crete, people jumped over bulls with the help of sticks, and the Celts practised pole jumping. Since 1775, German gymnasts have held pole vault competitions. Mats to protect pole vaulters were introduced in the 1960s. Even today, pole vaulting has the highest risk of broken bones among the track and field disciplines.

As the most technically demanding athletic discipline, it is also the most dangerous, for example, when the athlete lands next to the mat. Typical pole vault injuries include dislocations of the shoulder joint and fractures in the shoulder area. The lumbar spine is also particularly common. The patella and Achilles tendons, in particular, are heavily stressed by the jump. If the pole falls under the jump, there is a further risk of injury to the back, more precisely to the back extensor muscles.

long jump

In the long jump, after a run-up phase, which is 40-50m for men and 30-40m for women, an attempt is made to achieve the longest possible jump. Each athlete has three attempts, with the top eight getting three more attempts.

In addition to the ancient Greeks, Asian peoples are also known to have tried their hand at long jump competitions, in which the legs were drawn up, and the thighs had to be held perpendicular to the ground. It is essential to keep your feet level and your torso bent today.

At the moment of landing, i.e. when the foot touches the ground, it is essential to push the hips forward as quickly as possible since points are deducted when landing on the buttocks. (When measuring the length, the first imprint in the sandbox counts).

At the beginning of the take-off phase, there is a braking effect which, in inexperienced jumpers, causes the risk of joint compression in the knee and upper ankle. The calf muscles and the thigh flexors and extensors also often suffer injuries. In addition, muscle fibre tears occur, especially in the thighs.


triple jump

The triple jump was ignored in Germany for a long time, although it is also an Olympic discipline. While the triple jump was understood as adding three individual jumps in antiquity, the jump sequence practised today was first documented in 1465. Over time, however, the rules of leg order have repeatedly varied.

Today, similar to the long jump, after a run-up of 35 to 42 m, the jump takes place on a take-off board. The first landing must be on the same leg that took off, with the second landing on the opposite foot and a long-jump-like jump completing the movement (also called “hop”, “step”, “jump”). The foot sequence must therefore be left-left-right or right-right-left.

The risk of injury is usually the same as in the long jump and sprinting, i.e. in particular, muscle fibre tears and strains, ankle and knee injuries, and inflammation of the patellar tendon (especially at the distal pole of the patella, which leads to the so-called “jumper’s knee”).

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