No. There’s an association with the best high jumpers in the world being tall, but some of the most talented high jumpers in history weren’t that tall.
Stefan Holm is the most renowned short high jumper from recent years. At a height of 1.81m (or 5 feet and 11 inches), the Swedish high jumper was able to clear 2.40m in his career; which is 59 centimetres over his own height. He also won an Olympic gold medal, a silver medal in the world championships and a bronze medal in the European championships.
You can see a video of Stefan Holm clearing 2.40m in the video below.
In 2007, Linus Thörnblad who is also from Sweden and stands at 5 feet and 10 inches cleared 2.38m.
Here is the video of him successfully clearing the height at an indoor competition.
What made Stefan Holm a successful high jumper with his short stature?
One of the training regimes that Stefan and his coach focused on was the coordination of his body and strength within his Achilles heel. You can see the exercises that Stefan incorporated into his training to develop the necessary strength in his ankles, as well as the necessary power to drive up the arms and knee during the take-off phase.
Stefan Holm had the incredible ability to develop power that he could use to get extra vertical height. You can see Stefan completing his plyometric training session over high hurdles in the high jump training video below.
In the video below, Holm uses box jump drills to improve the amount of vertical power that he generates for the high jump take-off. Typically, these boxes are 5cm, 10cm and 15-20 cm in height.
How tall do you need to be to be a good high jumper?
Being tall has always been associated with high jumping potential. Simply being tall won’t allow you to be a successful high jumper. The only advantage height provides is that the athlete’s centre of gravity will be higher-off the ground. This means the actual power that they need to jump much higher heights is less than their competitors who are shorter than them. However, the advantages erode once the athletes develop immense vertical jumping power in their legs.
If you grow tall, then use what you can to your advantage. But you shouldn’t immediately assume that it will make you a better high jumper. Instead, you should focus on developing your athletic ability so that you will have a competitive advantage when you are competing in the high jump. It all starts with the athletic conditioning of your body. From there, you can improve your high jump performance, regardless of your height.
Remember this formula for improving your vertical height.
Speed x strength = Power
This is the simple formula that you need to follow to improve your athletic ability and to improve your personal record in the high jump. There are other factors that will also improve your athletic performance, however this will account for up to 80% of your athletic performance.
For example, if you currently have a personal record of 1.50m and you want to improve it to 1.60m, your biggest improvement will come from increases in your vertical power.
What heights and weights do high jumpers have?
You need to think of your body as a machine. High jumpers need to have lean muscle so they will be able to maximise their vertical height. In the table below, I have compiled a list of the world’s top athletes with their heights and weights.
|Mutaz Essa Barshim||65kg||2.43m||1.92m||Qatar|
You can see that all of the top high jumpers have a low body weight for their height. Barshim has the lowest weight by far, but possesses alot of power in his legs which allows him to soar over the bar.
If you compare Barshim to Bohdan Bondarenko or Derek Drouin, they both have 15kg more in additional weight, which means their body needs to provide more power to get them over those higher heights.
As a high jumper, you want to minimise your weight while maximising the amount of power that your body can produce. This means that any weight that your body possesses should aid with your vertical leap. If you have excess upper body weight, it will force your body to work harder to jump higher and go over the bar. Alternatively, if the majority of the weight that you have is in your leg and glutes and has been developed for strength, speed and power, then it will help you to jump higher.
As a rule of thumb, you should aim to be no more than 80 kg as a high jumper. However, the more lean and powerful you are, the better chance you will have to jump higher.
I believe that you can improve your high jump performance, regardless of your height.
If you need some direction, take a look at our high jump drills ebook.
In the comments section, I would like you to leave your name, age, height, weight and personal best performance. As you improve, I would like you to share if you have had any height or weight differences, as well as the training that you did to improve your performance.
I look forward to hearing about your performances soon.
If you’re interested in jumping higher, you can purchase my high jump training program that I used to jump over 2m. It’s available for $4.99.
We also offer a complete bundle that will help you improve your vertical jump, diet & nutrition, mental cues, and high jump training. Individually, this would cost $59.94, but is available for $30 (Save $29.94)
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