Science of the High Jump

Posted on August 29, 2006  Comments (2)

Science of the sporting life:

high jumper seems to translate the horizontal velocity of the run-up into vertical motion over the bar, but what actually happens is more related to springs, Dapena says. “The fast run-up makes the muscles of the takeoff leg stretch very quickly after the takeoff foot is planted on the ground, and this stimulates those muscles, which can then make larger forces.”

To get the fastest vertical acceleration, your foot must push against the ground for as long as possible. And that requires the runner to, as Dapena says, run with “the butt scraping the ground.” Still, there’s a tradeoff — if you run too low, your overly flexed knees will create a puny push-off.

Related: Score One for Sports Scienceposts related to athleticsMinistry of Silly Walks

2 Responses to “Science of the High Jump”

  1. Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog » Dolphin Kick Gives Swimmers Edge
    August 16th, 2008 @ 11:33 am

    The dolphin kick first hit Olympic swimming big-time 20 years ago, after Harvard backstroker David Berkoff figured out something fundamental. “It seemed pretty obvious to me that kicking underwater seemed to be a lot faster than swimming on the surface,”

  2. CuriousCat: Engineering A Golf Swing
    November 6th, 2008 @ 7:54 am

    “Surprisingly, the wrists don”™t play a critical role in the swing”™s outcome, according to the new model. The analysis also shows that while bigger golfers might hit further, it”™s not by much…”

Leave a Reply