Triple Jump Biomechanics
Triple Jump it is where an athlete sprints down a track, takes off at the board on one leg, hops, then again on the same leg before stepping onto the opposite leg and jumping into a pit of sand. This is called “hop, step and jump”. To be successful the athlete must be a fast sprinter with strong Gluteus, Hamstring, Iliopsoas, Quadriceps and Vastus muscle groups and core muscles: transverse and rectus abdominus, obliques and latissimus dorsi. They must also have the coordination and balance to complete the triple jump technique.
Start, run-up, pre-take-off, hop, step, jump, flight and landing are the specific stages of triple jump. At the very start the athlete must overcome inertia to aid in gaining momentum, this can be done by stepping into their run-up or using the “rock back” method.
During the run-up the athlete needs to gain as much speed and forward momentum as possible. To do this they must use the correct sprinting technique. The elbows should be at 90 degrees and should not cross over the runner’s body to can keep their momentum going forwards and linear to the direction they are travelling. The runner should be looking straight ahead with a straight back. The knees should also be at 90 degrees to produce the as much power and drive as possible. Their feet should be striking the ground underneath them and not in front of them; this prevents “blocking” which reduces the ability to get maximum acceleration.
Just before the athlete begins the hop phase they take a slightly shorter step which lowers their centre of gravity. This helps them transfer some of their forward momentum upwards so they can drive themselves into the air.
During the hop stage, the knee slightly extends as the leg swings forward caused by contraction of the quadriceps. The same arm pushes upwards at the shoulder joint to help drive the momentum upwards. The opposite knee flexes and extends in a “cycling” motion this aids the jumper in keeping themselves in flight for as long as they can. The knee flexes and then extends again to prepare the leg for landing. The knee stays flexed and away from the ground to avoid an illegal jump or “foul”.
As the athlete steps the quadriceps contract, creating the extension of the knee. The leg pushes off the runway as the right knee drives upwards to a 90 degree angle through flexion of the hip. The right knee stays at 90 degrees as long as possible before the extension of the hip drives the leg to the ground with the athlete’s foot striking the ground below them. At the same time the right arm again drives upwards at the shoulder to create lift. At this stage there is little movement of the left knee.
As the athlete jumps (for the first time off their opposite leg) the right knee extends as the hips push upwards and forwards. The left knee drives upwards using the extension of the hip and flexion of the knee. The left leg begins to extend out in front of the body using the extension of the knee and flexion of the hip, it is almost immediately followed by the right leg using the same motions. At the same time the arms rotate backwards in the shoulder joints, keeping the athletes back straight as long as possible. As the legs extend forward the arms swing back from the hips around past the neck to extend as much as possible forwards. The core muscles of the athlete hold their legs out parallel to the ground for as long as possible, with the arms reaching for the athlete’s toes.
In the landing phase the athlete needs to land as far from the take-off board as possible. So as they land they “crumple” their bodies. This is done by the twisting of the core muscles on impact with the sand.