The high jump is a track and field event in which competitors must jump unaided over a horizontal bar placed at measured heights without dislodging it. In its modern most practised format, a bar is placed between two standards with a crash mat for landing. In the modern era, athletes run towards the bar and use the Fosbury Flop method of jumping, leaping head first with their back to the bar. The discipline is, alongside the pole vault, one of two vertical clearance events to feature on the Olympic athletics programme. It is contested at the World Championships in Athletics and IAAF World Indoor Championships, and is a common occurrence at track and field meetings. The high jump was among the first events deemed acceptable for women, having been held at the 1928 Olympic Games.
How it works: Competitors jump unaided and take off from one foot over a four-metre long horizontal bar. They seek to clear the greatest height without knocking the bar to the ground. All competitors have three attempts per height, although they can elect to ‘pass’, i.e. advance to a greater height despite not having cleared the current one. Three consecutive failures at the same height, or combination of heights, cause a competitor’s elimination. If competitors are tied on the same height, the winner will have had the fewest failures at that height. If competitors are still tied, the winner will have had the fewest failures across the entire competition. Thereafter, a jump-off will decide the winner. The event was incorporated into the first modern Olympics Games in 1896.
Rules: The rules for the high jump are set internationally by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). Jumpers must take off on one foot. A jump is considered a failure if the bar is dislodged by the action of the jumper whilst jumping or the jumper touches the ground or breaks the plane of the near edge of the bar before clearance. The victory goes to the jumper who clears the greatest height during the final. Tie-breakers are used for any place in which scoring occurs. If two or more jumpers tie for one of these places, the tie-breakers are: 1) the fewest misses at the height at which the tie occurred; and 2) the fewest misses throughout the competition. If the event remains tied for first place (or a limited advancement position to a subsequent meet), the jumpers have a jump-off, beginning at the next greater height. Each jumper has one attempt. The bar is then alternately lowered and raised until only one jumper succeeds at a given height.
Training: In high jump, it helps if the athlete is tall, has long legs, and limited weight on their body. They must have a strong lower body and flexibility helps a lot as well.
- Sprinting: High jumpers must have a fast approach so it is crucial to work on speed and also speed endurance. Lots of high jump competitions may take hours and athletes must make sure they have the endurance to last the entire competition.
- Weight Lifting: It is crucial for high jumpers to have strong lower bodies and cores, as the bar progressively gets higher, the strength of an athlete's legs (along with speed and technique) will help propel them over the bar. Squats, deadlifts, and core exercises will help a high jumper achieve these goals. It is important, however, for a high jumper to keep a slim figure as any unnecessary weight makes it difficult to jump higher.
- Plyometrics: Arguably the most important training for a high jumper is plyometric training. Because high jump is such a technical event, any mistake in the technique could either lead to failure, injury, or both. To prevent these from happening, high jumpers tend to focus heavily on plyometrics. This includes hurdle jumps, flexibility training, skips, or scissor kick training.