Have you ever seen a pole vaulter throw themselves in the air, landing over the bar with thunderous applause? Seeing these athletes and the seemingly impossible way they hurl themselves makes many people want to try the sport.
If you have never pole vaulted, you may be unaware of what is required by the sport. You also likely have questions.
Is there a weight limit for pole vaulting? This is a question many people have because they are concerned about being too heavy for the vaulting pole.
Today, we will answer this question regarding weight and even give you information to get you started selecting a pole vaulting pole.
Pole Vaulting history
Before we discuss the weight limits for pole vaulting, you need to understand what vaulting poles are made of and how they work. Learning this information will help you proceed in understanding why there are weight limits.
Pole vaulting has been around since the 1800s, with the first event being held at the London Gymnastic Society in 1826. The first vaulting poles were very stiff and were often made of bamboo or aluminum. Although these materials were effective, they did not allow vaulters to vault to great heights.
In the 1950s, manufacturers began making vaulting poles from more flexible materials, such as fiberglass and carbon fiber, allowing vaulters to soar to greater heights over the bar.
Today, the materials continue to evolve, but the basic premise remains the same in the sport of pole vaulting.
Are There Weight Limits for Pole Vaulting?
Yes, there are weight limits for pole vaulting and the vast majority of vaulting poles have a weight range of 80 to 200 pounds, though there are exceptions to the rule. Most pole vaulting events require vaulters to use a pole that offers a higher weight limit than their own.
The restrictions placed on pole vaulters are due to the limitations of the vaulting poles. Because the poles are highly flexible and long, they can only hold specific amounts of weight without breaking.
When you begin shopping for a vaulting pole, you will discover weight limits listed clearly on the pole. Some manufacturers list the weight limits in pounds and some in kilograms.
While rare, pole vaulters can become injured using poles that are too small for them. The goal is to go over the bar and land in the pit. Because the poles are made of fiberglass or carbon fiber, it is possible for them to break, especially at the bending point.
Putting too much weight on a pole can lead to stress on the vulnerable parts. Eventually, the pole could begin to splinter or break entirely, causing injuries to the vaulter and others in attendance.
How to Choose a Pole Vault Pole
Now that you know the weight limits for pole vaults poles, you need to know how to select the right pole for your height, weight, and experience.
When choosing a pole vault pole, you must select one that has a weight limit of 20 to 30 pounds more than your weight. Keep in mind that these poles can weigh 20 to 40 pounds or more, depending on the weight limitation rating.
There are three main things you are going to consider when shopping for a pole vault pole.
- Your approach speed
- Your skills
- The vault height
Poles are measured in feet and weight capacity. The more experience you gain, the longer the pole, with some of the best Olympic pole vaulters using 17-foot poles.
When first starting out, you should select a pole that is on the shorter side but is at least as tall as you. Pole vault poles are designed to be held around 25 centimeters from the top of the pole.
Your grip range should be around 6 to 18 inches. Pole vault poles are designed to bend up to 90 degrees. If a pole bends more than this, it is overloaded with weight and is more likely to break.
Overloading a pole vault pole is not only dangerous, but it can also prevent you from vaulting successfully.
Too much weight will put you too far into the landing area and under the vault bar as the pole starts to recoil.
With too much weight placed on the pole vault pole, you will not make it over the bar, no matter your skill or force.
Pole Vaulting Involves Intensive Physics
While we will not get into a physics lesson today, it is essential you understand physics plays a huge role in catapulting a pole vaulter over the bar. Although people of all weights and sizes pole vault, you must be under the weight limit of your pole for safety.
The goal of pole vaulting is to not only clear the bar but also to achieve the greatest penetration possible. With too much bend in the pole comes too little penetration.
If your pole vault pole is bending beyond 90 degrees, you have either overloaded it with weight, the pole has become worn over time, or you need a stiffer pole.
To pole vault safely, you must follow all weight restrictions. These restrictions are put in place to protect pole vaulters from becoming seriously hurt while vaulting.
Pushing too much weight onto a pole will only lead to injuries and damage.