High Jumper Training for a Beginner?

I have a friend of mine who is on my school’s track team that I want to help out. She is a high jumper, about 5’ 6 1/2" in height. Her PB is 5’ 1" I believe, but she really hasn’t had much coaching and never had a good prep phase to help her out.

My question is, she is pretty much a beginner as far as training goes and I want her to be able to improve. She works hard and I think she has a lot of potential to jump much higher. How would she go about starting off? I was thinking of a similar GPP approach that is shown on Charlie’s DVD. The trouble I am thinking of is where to start out and how?? Anyone care to chime in? Thanks in advance! She really is excited and she will put the time in to improve.

For my 1.85 jumper (18yrs) we started with general prep involving a lot of abs, med ball work and general strength work jumping upwards and work in the gym to get her glutes strong (squats etc). Then we progressed to bounds over 3-4 small hurdles with good rest in between them. When her technique started to go we called it quits. It was the usual hi low split but on low days we worked on run up and very short tempo (e.g. over 40m with perfect form keeping the hips high).

It seems to work for me.

Thanks TC… That’s what I was thinking of (in that general area at least). Were you using short accels on the high int. days? (10-20m). Her leg strength is much needed as well as glutes and hip strength/power. How long was the general prep work done before progressing on to the jumps over hurdles? Outdoor season is very far away (not until next January) so she has a while to put some quality work in. Maybe Two GPP’s in there? Thoughts? I still need to teach her proper form on the core lifts she’ll be using (squat, lunges, possibly step ups… Explosive lifts i.e. jump shrugs, jump squats/pause squats, med ball throws–overhead, underhand scoop overhead, etc)… I have access to a 4 lb ball and 6 lb ball… Is that good enough to start out w/ for her? She is only about 120 lbs. as well. Thanks!

Sounds like you are doing just fine. Realise that you want to lay foundations, if you can do this you won’t go too far wrong. Teach her good technique in the lifts and on the track. Encourage her to eat well (not to starve herself) and to understand the importance of regeneration. I think this is your main goal at this stage. When they are young realise that they will improve regardless of what you do but what you do will influence what they do when the easy gains have been used up.

On the track side we havn’t done any running work because she is prone to foot problems. I think 2 GPPs sounds fine. I use low intensity days to practice run ups and rhythm, just as in you don’t want to go too far away from speed as a sprinter i don’t think you want to go too far away from jumping as a high jumper. Its just where and when you decide to do stuff that is the question. Charlie’s principles work for all sports. Just apply them as best you can and be considerate of the long term goal.

Thanks for the help, TC. Yes the long term goal is the main focus… Everything now is a focus on what’s to come later on. Foundation now will be very important. She’s almost 19, so not a complete novice but this will probably be something new… What would you do after (for example an 8 week GPP Phase) to make a transition to the next phase? Maybe a test week? De-loading? Also, on the HI days, if you were to use accel work, how would you configure the total volume? Probably not really necessary at this stage as other components, but maybe for GPP2. Thanks!

Well i think this is a personal question with regard to what your athelte is good at. Personally, i always stagger a component of my training that sets up the next phase. So in the sprints I’ll put in med ball accelerations in GPP so you have practiced “starting” before you come to do it from blocks (as borrowed from Charlie and can be seen in the GPP DVD). So basically you prepare nonspecifically for the thing that will be the focus in the next block before you even get there.

There are loads of things you could do for this. One thing we do (which i got from Steffan Strands site i think) is a small run up onto a box and then a jump and throw of the medicine ball upwards. This simply emphasises the need to keep the shoulders up (rather than dropping them) on take off.

As for what to do between blocks of training… well i don’t see why you couldn’t do a rest and test week like KK. Also for unloading, we do this every 4th week anyway.

As for acceleration work over 20m that is a weird one because the time you spend is so short that it is hard to see drop off. Perhaps you could do this in conjunction with a test such as standing long jump or med ball throw ever couple of accelerations. When the explosiveness of the jump or throw is gone then you need to stop. I’m only making this up now but it seems like a good idea… what is everyone elses thoughts?

After re-thinking a little bit, I was thining the first few weeks will be strictly teaching form on the basic lifts, while using some low intensity abdominal routines (maybe 4-5 sets of 30 sec. to start out with), 2-4 days of tempo (for general fitness levels to improve), medicine ball work (low intensity throws and maybe 2-3 sets of HI throws on the HI days), and bodyweight exercises to prep the body before starting with a weight routine. I was reading an article on EliteFTS and found a pretty good article regarding beginners and GPP. It is applied for male high school football players (incoming freshmen), but could this still be applied for any beginners before starting up with a weight training routine?

Article Link here: http://www.elitefts.com/documents/gpp_for_freshmen.htm

I might be over-thinking this, but… I want to help her out! :smiley:

Just bumping this… Thoughts anyone? :confused:

Personally I don’t ever go higher than 5 reps. Perhaps you would if you were doing hypertrophy but i find when young athletes get fatigued thier form goes to pot. So i just use more sets of lower reps making sure i stop them when they get fatigued. I still find they do put on muscle mass and they get strong at the same time. Still, that GPP seems fine. I’d go with something like

Snatch pulls (perhaps even without bending the arms at all - e.g. almost just jumping with the weight)
Lunges/step ups (lower weight)
Bench (very low reps big rest to avoid hypertrophy)
Jerks (using a rack so they don’t have to clean it)
Pull ups/muscle ups

Jumps upwards
Overhead shot/med ball

do u do runups in the gpp too??

I phase them in at the end of the GPP kind of like Charlie does with the 1 day a week of speed work. They are usually pretty fatigued at this point so its more kind of like measuring out the runup etc…

Reviving this thread after a while. I’ve been working with my gf (the high jumper previously talked about) for a while now. She just completed her first 9 week program (including 1 de-load and 1 rest/test week). Saw significant improvements in leg strength (Improved back squat to 150 x 3, from when we first started using 80 for her sets of 6). Also from barley being able to do a 10 sec. chin up hold at the top portion can now do almost 3 full chins by herself. I have her program we used in my training journal if anyone is curious.

Starting up tomorrow with her next phase. Last phase our main focus was strength, as it was very much lacking! I will start to have her implement jumps upwards, some explosive med ball throws, oly lift variations, deadlifts, etc… She was doing some technical work but was having some pretty bad shin pain so she backed off for a while. Looking to break 5’ 6" this season. We’ll see!

I was recently discussing the value of squats for a high jumper ie., good for general development, glute, hamstring, core work etc. However, the coach did not recommend full squats as a part of the jumpers program as he feared that the ankle flexibility gain would compromise the muscle-tendon length or stiffness characteristics of the ankle musculature. Any thoughts?