Is There A Weight Limit For Pole Vaulting?

Pole vaulting is an exciting sport that blends stamina, strength, and flexibility. In pole vaulting, vaulters use a long, flexible pole to launch themselves into the air.

They do this by building up speed, planting the tip of the pole, and using the pole’s momentum to fling them up into the air and over a bar. The higher the vaulter goes, the better their score.

However, as vaulters must rely on the pole to propel them, it’s important to consider weight limits and what a higher weight might mean in terms of successful vaults.

Is there a weight limit for pole vaulting?

There is no true weight limit for pole vaulting. However, each pole has a different weight limit, and vaulters will need to choose a pole that can support them and propel them into the air.

Most vaulting poles are made of carbon and fiberglass, which makes them both strong and flexible. These poles are generally designed to be used by people weighing between 80 and 210 pounds.

When choosing a pole for vaulting, athletes will need to choose a pole that’s rated for at least 1 pound over their weight.

For example, if the athlete weighs 109 pounds, they will require a pole with a weight limit of at least 110 pounds.

man pole vaulting over the bar

Are there more risks for bigger athletes?

As long as athletes can find a pole that supports their body weight, they will be able to compete in pole vaulting.

However, the sport does come with some risks, and these risks can be higher for bigger athletes.

When pole vaulting, athletes run forward before launching themselves with the pole. The jumping area is covered by thick, soft padding, so as you fall after your jump, you won’t be injured.

However, if your pole can’t support your weight, it can snap mid-jump, and you can potentially fall from a great height onto an area that isn’t covered by padding.

This can be painful at best but could also lead to broken bones or severe bruising.

man pole vaulting over the bar

Does being larger make pole vaulting harder?

Pole vaulters are generally very fit and relatively slender. Having a lower body weight can help with successful pole vaulting, as it’s easier to launch a small weight into the air.

Slender people also tend to be more flexible, and this body shape is more aerodynamic, and these factors can help you jump much higher.

Lower body weight can also help you balance better, which can help to ensure that you move forward and over the bar after you vault.

If you’re overweight, you may find that you need more stamina and strength to vault as high as other athletes.

You might need to run faster, and if you’re overweight, this can take a greater toll on your knee, hip, and ankle joints.

Larger vaulters will also fall faster and harder, and this can lead to injuries or discomfort that other, lighter pole vaulters might not experience.

If you are a large athlete because you have more muscle, you may have increased strength but decreased flexibility.

woman pole vaulting over the bar

It’s important to remain flexible so you can twist up and over the bar, earning the highest amount of points.

However, your increased strength may help you launch yourself much higher into the air.

Many people who are training for the pole vault use a pole that’s 20 to 30 pounds over their weight limit when they first begin to practice.

These poles are heavier, and this helps athletes increase their strength and flexibility.

Training in this way makes poles of the correct weight limit feel much lighter, too, which can help to boost your final speed and jump height.

If you feel you may not be flexible enough for the pole vault, you can also work on increasing your overall flexibility. Many pole vaulters train as gymnasts.

Although you won’t need to learn how to twist or spin in a creative way, gymnast training helps to increase flexibility and can teach you how to fall without injuring yourself.

This type of training can also help athletes reduce their fear of heights.

Other training, such as yoga for flexibility and running for stamina and cardiovascular strength, can also help when it comes to pole vaulting.

If the pole isn’t strong enough to propel you into the air, you can also risk a fall onto a hard surface.