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Svetlana Shkolina

Svetlana Shkolina World Champion Women High Jump: Diet and Exercise

Published December 29, 2019

Svetlana Shkolina of Russia won the women’s high jump at the world championships Saturday.  With a leap of 6 feet, 8 inches.

And beating Brigetta Barrett of the United States by 1¼ inches.

While she earned a bronze medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics.

Also, she set an outdoor personal best of 2.03 meters at the 2012 Olympics.

And her indoor personal best is 2.00 meters, achieved in February 2010 in Arnstadt.

  • Svetlana Shkolina’s full name is Svetlana Vladimirovna Shkolina.
  • She is 6’2″ (187 cm)
  • and weighs about 146 lbs (66 kg).
  • 27 years of age.
  • And has affiliations to Trade Unions, Moskva, Russia.

Her brief set of top achievements

  • once Olympic Games Bronze medallist
  • once World Championships Gold medallist
  • once Olympic Games finalist
  • thrice World Championships finalist
  • and three times Diamond League meeting winner.

Characteristics of the Sports High Jump: a High Jump is an event where the competitors must jump over a bar at measured heights.

Training for High Jump: Elite “jumpers” train all year round concentrating on speed endurance running, plyometrics, and heavy strength weights in the off-season.

Coming into the competition phase, the emphasis is on speed, specific technical sessions in the pit and developing strength and power.

Bounding and technical sessions have a high physical impact on the body, therefore working on flexibility and core strength is a year-round focus.

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How fit must a jumper be?

The jumping events involve short, intense efforts, so anaerobic fitness must be excellent, while aerobic fitness is less important.

High jump
The jumping events involve short, intense efforts, so anaerobic fitness must be excellent, while aerobic fitness is less important.

high jump training
high jump training
  • Typical build High jumpers are typically tall and lanky.
  • Muscles are well-defined, without being too bulky.
  • In addition to power and strength, high jumpers need to be flexible and supple.

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Technique

There are three phases to the high jump: approach, take-off or lift-off, and bar clearance.

Each phase is dependent on the one before it.

Most high jumpers use a technique called the ‘Fosbury Flop’, which revolutionized the event when it was first used by athlete Dick Fosbury in the 1960s.

The ‘Flop’ involves running toward the bar in a J-shaped approach, lifting off with the left foot, pivoting the right leg back, and clearing the bar backward.

High Jump Technique
High Jump Technique

The approach portion of the high jump, which involves accelerating the body along a curved path that leads up to the bar, is as much a part of high jumping as the lift-off or clearance and is practiced hundreds of times to perfect its speed, rhythm, and timing.

If the run is weak or poorly timed, the jump will be too.

The J-shaped form of approach allows for more horizontal speed, places the athlete in a good take-off position, and allows for turning in the air.

The approach is a gradual acceleration, somewhere between a sprint and a jog, comprising about eight to twelve controlled, bouncy strides to build up momentum for the vertical spring.

While the curve of the ‘J’ is very important: the athlete must put one foot in front of the other and not step out of the curve.

At this point, the athlete is actually leaning away from the bar, allowing for the centrifugal force to pull the body into a vertical position for the jump.

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Vertical Leap

The lift-off combines horizontal momentum with a vertical leap. And includes the last few strides of the run.

In these last strides, the movement is relatively fast, with a crouch and spring in the last stride.

The jumper must push against the ground with as much force as possible and launch directly upwards.

To assist the upward lift, as the jumper leaves the ground the free leg swings forward and upward while the arms swing up.

The ideal bar clearance position is with the center of the body over the crossbar at the peak of the jump. As the body travels up and over.

Both arms are thrust over the head and the jumper looks back and up over the right shoulder.

This head position enables the back to arch as the shoulders travel over the bar.

Once the hips clear the bar, the jumper “kicks” to get the heels up so the trailing feet clear the bar too.

 

Training program 

The training combines working on all aspects of the jump technique together with strength training, several days a week.

A jump athlete will usually have his or her training divided up into phases during the year.

Typically, the first few months will focus on the general development of strength, mobility, endurance, and basic technique.

This will be followed by a period of honing specific fitness and advanced technical skills. 

Then the athlete will take part in minor competitions and aim to achieve qualification times for the main competition.

Preparation for and participation for the major event follows. The last month or so of the year is used as an active recovery period.

Cardiovascular fitness

High jumpers have good levels of cardiovascular fitness, but this is less important than in long-distance endurance events.

Speed drills

High jumpers are concerned with form, power, and timing rather than speed, and their training drills reflect this.

Resistance training and muscles

Explosive power in the take-off is vital in attaining a maximum height in the jump, and strength training, particularly of the leg and thigh muscles, is essential to achieve this.

Reaction time

Reaction speed plays a minor role in the high jump. Knowing at which point to make the take-off is more a result of repetition in training than a quick reaction.

Endurance training 

Endurance is not the main focus of training.

Nutrition 

Plans for high jump athletes are designed to improve muscle strength and supply them with sufficient energy.

This diet includes carbohydrate-rich foods that provide fuel for training, as well as protein-rich foods for building muscle.

Many nutritionists recommend following up on a resistance session with a ‘recovery snack. Containing high levels of protein and carbohydrates, to enhance recovery.

It may be even more valuable to have this snack immediately before the workout.

Athletes typically eat a number of meals and snacks (from five to nine) spaced throughout the day and according to their training and competition schedule.

Carbohydrate is particularly important for providing energy in the days leading up to the competition, but carbohydrate loading is not as important in quick, intense jumping events as it is in endurance events.

The final pre-event meal need not even be carbohydrate-based.

However, although jump events do not drastically lower carbohydrate and fluid levels, athletes may have to compete in a series of heats and semi-finals over a fairly long time period.

Thus the athlete needs to keep plenty of carbohydrate-rich drinks and light snacks at hand during a multi-event program.

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Brilliant article on Evolution of the High Jump

Svetlana Shkolina

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