Long Jump Analysis

September 8, 2010

Long jump can be broken down into two parts: sprinting and jumping. Sprinting consists of two phases, the driving phase when the leg is in contact with the ground, and the recovery phase. The major bones involved in both phases consist of the hip; the femur and pelvic girdle which forms a ball and socket joint, the knee; the femur and tibia which forms a hinge joint, and the ankle; the tibia and calcaneus which forms a modified joint. The muscles and joint actions during the driving phase of the hip consist of the Gluteal group and the joint actions of extension and hyperextension. The knee uses the Quadricep group of muscles in the extension joint action, and the ankle uses the Gastrocnemius and a plantar flexion. The recovery phase of the hip uses the Iliopsoas and flexion, the knee uses the hamstrings and flexion, and the ankle uses the Tibialis Anterior and the Dorsi flexion.

The jumping movement in long jump is much the same as sprinting and also involves the hip knee and ankle. The bones of the hip involved are the femur and the pelvic girdle with a ball and socket joint, the knee involves the femur and tibia and a hinge joint, and the ankle involves the tibia and calcaneus and a modified joint. The hip also uses the Gluteal muscle group with extension and hyperextension joint actions, as the knee uses the quadriceps group in extension, and the ankle using the gastrocnemius in plantar flexion. Before landing, the legs adduct and the feet should land next to one another.

Whilst the lower half of the body seems to generate the movement in long jump, the upper body is also important and utilised. When running, the support muscles are the biceps and upper & lower abdominals. When jumping off the board in the ‘execution phase’ the biceps and deltoids are the major muscles used with the ball and socket joint, with extension of both arms and legs whilst in the flight phase.

The physical fitness components required to optimise performance

Long jump can be divided into four phases: the approach run (or run up), takeoff, flight and landing and each require many fitness components, however each focuses on a primary component. The approach run consists of the Speed fitness component, as this is essential in order to execute a good jump. It has been researched and found that the approach speed has been found to be one of the most influential factors influencing the jump distance. Power is important in the takeoff, as it needs to be explosive and fast. Balance is required in the flight phase, because without good balance, it is impossible to be in position for excellent landing. Muscular Strength and Flexibility are also important as they help protect the body; strength allows the athlete to control and change the direction of the athlete’s centre of mass and flexibility helps the athlete avoid destroying the muscle, connective tissue and joints while competing.

Methods of assessing the components of fitness identified to optimise performance
Speed: can be measured by a 50-metre sprint. An excellent time for a male is under 7.6 seconds and under 8.1 seconds for a female. The sprint test is a good test for long jump as it is an essential component needed in order to execute the jump at high speed.
The ‘Ten Stride Test’ is also a good indicator of speed as it works to monitor an athlete’s ability to generate efficient acceleration from a standing start. It works by completing 6x20m runs from a standing start (with appropriate recovery between each) in which the individual measures the time and distance covered within ten strides. It is expected that the distance within ten strides should increase if the individual does relevant training.
Power: can be measured by the ‘standing long jump’ or ‘vertical jump’ test. An excellent result for males in the standing long just test is over 2.5 metres, and over 2 metres for females, and over 65cm for males and over 58cm for females in the vertical jump test. Power is essential in long jump, as the competitor needs to exert a maximum force in the shortest time possible in order to optimise performance.
Balance: can be tested by the ‘stork stand’ test. An excellent reading for both males and females is over 50 seconds. Balance is most essential in the ‘flight’ stage of long jump in order to gain the longest distance possible from takeoff to landing by gliding smoothly and in one forward direction in the air.
Muscular Strength: can be measured by the ‘Leg Strength Test’ in which an area of 25 metres is marked out by cones in a straight line. The individual starts jogging ten metres before the first cone, and then proceeds to hop on the dominant leg until they reach the end cone. The time taken to do this is recorded and it is expected that after appropriate training, results should improve.
Flexibility: can be measured by completing the ‘sit and reach’ test. An excellent reading for males would be over 10cm, and over 15cm for females. Flexibility is necessary, as it is important in enabling the competitor to reach maximum speed and power levels, as well as helping the athlete protect their joints, connective tissue and muscle.

By testing these fitness components used in long jump, we can determine weaknesses and ways in which we can improve in order to optimise performance and gain better results.

Motion is very important in long jump as it accounts for much of the length in which the individual can jump. The approach run in long jump is vital to generate the maximum amount of speech, which can be effectively converted into a jump. Therefore, acceleration is also important, but should be gradual, rhythmic and controlled in order to complete an excellent jump. Momentum is also important, particularly angular momentum as the runner should be creating this as one arm moves forward, and the other backward, with the legs doing the same. This process can create maximum speed with as little energy as possible being used. Furthermore, momentum is necessary in the ‘takeoff’ and ‘flight’ stage of the jump as the individual should be aiming to jump as high as they can, to allow momentum to carry them forward. The higher you jump, the longer you are in the air, the longer your momentum can carry you forward, hence the longer your jump ends up being. Momentum of the arms and legs in flight is also important as by swinging them forward, this creates further momentum. Horizontal velocity is also needed in order to perform a jump to an individual’s maximum potential. The data at the Seoul Olympics in 1988 was collected, which showed that the men and women who gained the best results did not have a drop off in velocity in the last 11 metres, but it in fact increased. In addition, the two athletes with the largest velocity decreases resulted in a foul and a poor jump.
By understanding the importance of motion in long jump, the competitor can improve their performance by working on speed, acceleration and momentum. 1. For example, by understanding the necessity for momentum, particularly in the takeoff and flight stage of long jump, an athlete can practice this skill to improve their performance. As you plant your foot on the board after the approach run, by bending the knee and driving upwards with the other knee, as well as rotating the arms back and around, this can help increase your momentum, furthering the length of your jump. In addition, by swinging the arms forward as the individuals’ heels touch the ground, this also creates momentum to ensure the individual does not fall backwards, which would shorten their jump.

Hitch Kick

Stride Jump

Hang Style

The above figures demonstrate the three different jump styles in long jump. From these demonstrations, we can observe how the momentum created within the arms and legs is necessary in order for the athlete to jump the greatest distance possible.
Force: is important in long jump as applying force allows the individual to enhance their performance. It is particularly necessary in the take-off stage of long jump as the individual applies force to the board with their body, in order to push off it and increase the height and length of their jump. The athlete also absorbs force as they land by bending their knees, ankles and hips. 2. For example, as the individual approaches the take-off board, they prepare by initially sinking and then raising their hips into the take-off phase. This generally affects the penultimate stride, which becomes longer than normal, and then the last stride, which becomes about 20cm shorter than normal. At this point, the athlete’s hips are slightly in front of their shoulders. As the take-off foot strikes the board, it is slightly in front of the athlete’s hips and is flat in contact with the board in order to apply maximum force.

Balance and Stability: are important in long jump in order to execute an excellent jump. On the approach run phase, the athlete’s centre of gravity is around mid-waist height, but becomes higher as they jump up into the air. They should then aim for a low position as they fall, so the centre of gravity with the feet horizontally ahead. Whilst running, the feet should also come in contact with the ground initially in front of the centre of mass to ensure stability. As the athlete prepares for takeoff, balance is required so that they can position their body and centre of mass at the correct point to reach maximum distance. Balance is also necessary during flight so the centre of gravity is above the legs, as well as during the landing so that momentum can carry the jumper forward. The athlete’s line of gravity in the approach run should be shifted forward, as they should be leaning slightly forward in order to maintain balance. As they are in the flight stage, it will be slightly back, and then come forward as they bring up their legs and gain momentum. 3. An example to improve an athlete’s performance includes the centre of gravity, which needs to be lowered in the penultimate stride. This will hence alter the path of acceleration to a more vertical flight, creating stronger vertical force. Therefore, the take-off phase of the long jump can be improved, as long as there are no horizontal velocity losses in the meantime.



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