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NWPV Speed Workouts

In Covid-19 season, as with any season disrupted by injury, sickness or unforeseeable challenges, champions pursue alternative means of succeeding and can wind up more achieved than they otherwise would have been without the challenge.  To help ambitious athletes structure their time well, I offer suggested workouts with a few guiding principles. 

  • No work that does not contribute to the specific needs of a pole vaulter’s potential for pole rotation velocity, which means velocity, posture and jumping impulse at the take-off of a 70-100’ approach.  In other words, no speed endurance work like 150-200-meter intervals, and no jogging.

  • Power emphasis one day to improve acceleration, and top-end speed emphasis on the other to improve max velocity.  For those including lifting programs, lifting circuits should match either the power or speed emphasis of the sprinting that day.

  • Quality over quantity.  Postural integrity needs filming and scrutiny (practice makes permanent), intensity stays high, and rest periods between sets must be respected.


Week One


Power day

  • Mobilize with bracing, A-skips, B-skips, tin soldiers, etc.

  • Stadium stair hops, 5 sets of 2L bounding of 10 strikes without pause.  2 stairs per bound, or 3 stairs for kangaroos.  3 minutes rest.  OR, if no stairs…

       2L bounds/broad jumps on turf as far as you can go for 10 contacts.  5 sets, 3 min rest. 

       Do these next to a tape measure so you can chart progress.

  • Resistance accels for 5 lefts – using partner with belt.  Release belt after 3 lefts to feel transition into MV.  Carry pole or shorty or clench hands on sides of t-shirt to manage limited arm activity.

  • 6 x full- speed 30-meter sprints from a pole vault power start.  Carry pole or hold t-shirt as before.


Speed Day

  • Mobilize with bunny hops (8), bracing, anklings, fast skips.  Firm ankles, minimal knee flexion and stacked-up hips and torso.

  • Single leg hops up single stairs, 10 contacts per leg x 5 sets with 3 mins rest.  OR, if no stairs…

       Single leg hops on turf, 10-12 contacts per leg x 5 sets with 3 mins rest.  Emphasize quick contact (hot floor).

  • 20 in 20 – Set up 20 mini hurdles (wickets) 3 ‘apart.  Time these, ideally, and watch postural integrity.  5 sets with 2 min rest

  • Flying 30s with 10M build up, timed ideally, x 8 with 3-4 mins rest.  With me, the first 3 will be speed assisted (like downhill).  Film the first one, ideally, to scrutinize posture and mechanics.


Week Two


Power Day

  • Mobilize with bracing, A-skips, B-Skips and high skips.

  • 3 step (3 lefts) falling accelerations x 5 with 1-2 min rest.  Athlete falls to 45 degrees before launching the first 3 lefts of the approach.

  • 8 x 30-meter hill sprints (90 % fast) with 3:30 mins rest.  OR, if no hill available…

       8 x 30-meter sprints with partner resistance with 3:30 mins rest.  Don’t resist so much that athlete ground contact time gets longer.

  • Hurdle hops with Russian stops.  5-7 hurdles, 4 sets with 3-4 mins rest.  Russian stop means stick the landing in a squat and hold 1 second before making the next jump.  OR, if no hurdles…

       Do 7x high squat jumps with Russian stops for 4 sets with 3-4 min rest.


Speed Day

  • Mobilize with bunny hops (8), bracing, anklings, and single leg fast (alternating sides).  Firm ankles, minimal knee flexion and stacked-up hips and torso

  • 12 full approach sliding boxes with emphasis on long-distance flight between take-off point and landing.  3 mins rest between.  It would be instructive to also time the final 7 meters with speed traps or with hand timer to catch the time between contacts 3L (around 32-34’) and 1L (the take-off point)Ideally, this should take less than 1 second from 3 to 1.  OR, if no pole or sliding box…

      10 x flying 30s with 10M build up, timed ideally with 3-4 mins rest. 

      Use pole, or shorty, or clench hands on t-shirt to manage limited arm movement.


Final Note: 

If time away from the gym is extended, I’ll offer some variations to consider.  It’s important to vary the stimuli to get different and ongoing adaptations to the stress. The essentials are here, however.

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