Long jump

The long jump is an athletics (track and field) event in which athletes combine speed, strength, and agility in an attempt to leap as far from the take-off point as possible.

Competitors sprint down a runway (usually coated with the same rubberized surface as running tracks, crumb rubber or vulcanized rubber) and jump as far as they can from behind a foul line (commonly referred to as the "board", and usually defined by the trailing edge of a takeoff board embedded flush with the runway surface, or a painted mark on the runway) into a pit filled with finely ground gravel or sand. The distance traveled by a jumper is often referred to as the “mark” because it is the distance to the nearest mark made in the sand from the foul line. If the competitor starts the leap with any part of the foot past the foul line, the jump is declared illegal and no distance is recorded. At the elite level, a layer of plasticine is placed immediately after the board to detect this occurrence. Otherwise, an official (similar to a referee) will observe the jump and make the determination. The competitor can initiate the jump from any point behind the foul line; however, the distance measured will always be from the foul line. Therefore, it is in the best interest of the competitor to get as close to the foul line as possible.

Usually, each competitor has a set number of attempts to make his or her longest jump, and only the longest legal jump counts towards the results. Typically, competitors have three trial jumps with which to make their best effort. Higher level competitions are split into two rounds: trials and finals. In competitions containing a final round, only a select number of competitors are invited to return for further competition. The number of competitors chosen to return to the final round is determined before the start of the meet by a committee composed of coaches and officials. It is standard practice to allow one more competitor than the number of scoring positions to return to the final round. For example, if a given meet allows the top eight competitors to score points, then the top nine competitors will be selected to compete in the final round. Taking an extra competitor to the final round helps to allow that athlete to move into a scoring position if the competitor can improve on his or her best mark of the competition. Final rounds are viewed as an additional three jumps, as they do not have any priority to those scored in the trial round. The competitor with the longest legal jump (from either the trial or final rounds) at the end of competition is declared the winner. (For specific rules and regulations in U.S. Track & Field see Rule 185cite web| url = http://www.usatf.com/about/rules/2006/| title = USATF – 2006 Competition Rules| accessdate = 2006-10-29| accessmonthday = October 29| accessyear = 2006 | format = HTML | publisher = USA Track & Field :*See Rule 185 in [http://www.usatf.com/about/rules/2006/2006USATFRules_Article3.pdf "Article III"] ] ).

There are four main components of the long jump: the approach run, the last two strides, takeoff and action in the air, and landing. Speed in the run-up, or approach, and a high leap off the board are the fundamentals of success. Because speed is such an important factor of the approach, it is not surprising that many long jumpers also compete successfully in sprints. A classic example of this long jump / sprint doubling is performances by Carl Lewis.

The long jump is notable for two of the longest-standing world records in any track and field event. In 1935, Jesse Owens set a long jump world record that was not broken until 1960 by Ralph Boston. Later, Bob Beamon jumped 8.90 meters (29 feet, 2-1/2 inches) at the 1968 Summer Olympics at an altitude of 7,349 feet, a jump not exceeded until 1991. On August 30 of that year, Mike Powell of the USA, in a well-known show down against Carl Lewis, leapt 8.95 meters at the World Championships in Tokyo, setting the current men's world record. Some jumps over 8.95 meters have been officially recorded (8.99 meters by Mike Powell himself, 8.96 meters by Ivan Pedroso), but were not validated since there was either no reliable wind speed measurement available, or because wind speed exceeded 2.0 m/s. The current world record for women is held by Galina Chistyakova of the former Soviet Union who leapt 7.52 meters in Leningrad in 1988.


The long jump was one of the events of the original Olympics in Ancient Greece. The athletes carried a weight in each hand, which were called halteres. These weights were swung forward as the athlete jumped in order to increase momentum. It is commonly believed that the jumper would throw the weights behind him in mid-air to increase his forward momentum; however, halteres were held throughout the duration of the jump. Swinging them down and back at the end of the jump would change the athlete's center of gravity and allow the athlete to stretch his legs outward, increasing his distance. Most notable in the ancient sport was a man called Chionis, who in the 656BC Olympics staged a jump of 7 meters and 5 centimeters (23 feet and 1.5 inches).cite web | url = http://www.times-olympics.co.uk/communities/athletics/athleticsancient.html | title = Ancient Origins | accessdate = 2006-10-29 | accessmonthday = October 29 | accessyear = 2006 | format = HTML | publisher = The Times/The Sunday Times ]

The long jump has been part of modern Olympic competition since the inception of the Games in 1896. In 1914, Dr. Harry Eaton Stewart recommended the “running broad jump” as a standardized track and field event for women.cite book | last = Tricard | first = Louise Mead | title = American Women’s Track & Field: A History, 1895 Through 1980 | accessdate = 2006-10-29 | date= 1996-07-01 | publisher = McFarland & Company | id = ISBN 0-7864-0219-9 | pages = 60-61] However, it was not until 1928 that women were allowed to compete in the event at the Olympic level (See Athletics - track and field).

The approach

The objective of the approach is to gradually accelerate to a maximum controlled speed at takeoff. The most important factor for the distance traveled by an object is its velocity at takeoff - both the speed and angle. Elite jumpers usually leave the ground at an angle of twenty degrees or less; therefore, it is more beneficial for a jumper to focus on the speed component of the jump. The greater the speed at takeoff, the longer the trajectory of the center of mass will be. The importance of a takeoff speed is a factor in the success of sprinters in this event.

The length of the approach is usually consistent distance for an athlete. Approaches can vary between 12 and 19 strides on the novice and intermediate levels, while at the elite level they are closer to between 20 and 22 strides. The exact distance and number of strides in an approach depends on the jumper’s experience, sprinting technique, and conditioning level. Consistency in the approach is important as it is the competitor’s objective to get as close to the front of the takeoff board as possible without crossing the line with any part of the foot.

Inconsistent approaches are a common problem in the event. As a result the approach is usually practiced by athletes about 6-8 times per jumping session (see Training below).

The last two strides

The objective of the last two strides is to prepare the body for takeoff while conserving as much speed as possible.

The penultimate (second to last)stride is longer than the last stride. The competitor begins to lower his or her center of gravity to prepare the body for the vertical impulse. The final stride is shorter because the body is beginning to raise the center of gravity in preparation for takeoff.

The last two strides are extremely important because they determine the velocity with which the competitor will enter the jump.


The objective of the takeoff is to create a vertical impulse through the athlete’s center of gravity while maintaining balance and control.

This phase is one of the most technical parts of the long jump. Jumpers must be conscious to place the foot flat on the ground, because jumping off either the heels or the toes negatively affects the jump. Taking off from the board heel-first has a braking effect, which decreases velocity and strains the joints. Jumping off the toes decreases stability, putting the leg at risk of buckling or collapsing from underneath the jumper. While concentrating on foot placement, the athlete must also work to maintain proper body position, keeping the torso upright and moving the hips forward and up to achieve the maximum distance from board contact to foot release.

There are four main styles of takeoff: the kick style, double-arm style, sprint takeoff, and the power sprint or bounding takeoff.


The kick style takeoff is a style of takeoff where the athlete actively cycles the leg before a full impulse has been directed into the board then landing into the pit.


The double-arm style of takeoff works by moving both arms in a vertical direction as the competitor takes off. This produces a high hip height and a large vertical impulse.


The sprint takeoff is the style most widely instructed by coaching staff. This is a classic single-arm action that resembles a jumper in full stride. It is an efficient takeoff style for maintaining velocity through takeoff.

Power sprint or bounding

The power sprint takeoff, or bounding takeoff, is arguably one of the most effective styles. Very similar to the sprint style, the body resembles a sprinter in full stride. However, there is one major difference. The arm that pushes back on takeoff (the arm on the side of the takeoff leg) fully extends backward, rather than remaining at a bent position. This additional extension increases the impulse at takeoff.

The “correct” style of takeoff will vary from athlete to athlete.

Action in the air and landing

There are three major flight techniques for the long jump: the hang, the sail and the hitch-kick. Each technique is to combat the forward rotation experienced from take-off but is basically down to preference from the athlete. It is important to note that once the body is airborne, there is nothing that the athlete can do to change the direction they are travelling and consequently where they are going to land in the pit. However, it can be argued that certain techniques influence an athlete’s landing, which can have an impact on distance measured. For example, if an athlete lands feet first but falls back because they are not correctly balanced, a lower distance will be measured.


The sail technique is one of the most basic long jump techniques practiced by competitors. After the takeoff phase is complete, the jumper immediately lifts the legs into a toe-touching position. This is useful, as it allows the competitor to move into the landing position early.


The hang technique works by lengthening the body to make it as efficiently long as possible. Here both the arms and legs are extended to reach a maximum distance from the hips to increase distance. This position is held until after the jumper reaches the apex of the jump, at which point the athlete will snap the legs forward into a landing position.


The hitch-kick is also known as “climbing” or “running in the air”. This technique counteracts the athletes rotational velocity by cycling the arms and legs during the flight, and is also the most complex technique.

In-the-air techniques are generally selected by the athlete and coach during training based on an individual athlete’s skills and experience.

When landing, it is the primary objective of the competitor not to fall back in the landing pit. The jump is measured from the location in which the body contacts the sand closest to the takeoff point. For this reason many jumpers will work on keeping their feet in front of the body at a maximum distance from the hips. Upon landing, competitors will often use their arms in a sweeping motion to help keep the legs up and the body forward. upon contacting the ground, the athlete will push their legs hard into the sand and rotate the body sideways, this slows the vertical (downward) momentum of the bottom and also rotates it to the side of the athlete trying to ensure that the heels are the furthest back body part.


The long jump generally requires training in a variety of areas. These areas include, but are not limited to, those listed below.


Long Jumpers tend to practice jumping 1-2 times a week. Approaches, or run-throughs, are repeated sometimes up to 6-8 times per session.

Over-distance running

Over-distance running workouts helps the athlete jump a further distance than their set goal. For example, having a 100m runner practice by running 200m repeats on a track. This is specifically concentrated in the season when athletes are working on building endurance. Specific over-distance running workouts are performed 1-2 times a week. This is great for building sprint endurance, which is required in competitions where the athlete is sprinting down the runway 3-6 times.

Weight training

During pre-season training and early in the competition season weight training tends to play a major role. It is customary for a long jumper to weight train up to 4 times a week, focusing mainly on quick movements involving the legs and trunk. Some athletes perform olympic lifts in training. Athletes use low repetition and emphasize speed to maximize the strength increase while minimizing adding additional weight to their frame.


Plyometrics, including running up and down stairs and hurdle bounding, can be incorporated into workouts, generally twice a week. This allows an athlete to work on agility and explosiveness.


Bounding is any sort of continuous jumping or leaping. Bounding drills usually require single leg bounding, double-leg bounding, or some variation of the two. The focus of bounding drills is usually to spend less time on the ground as possible and working on technical accuracy, fluidity, and jumping endurance and strength. Technically, bounding is part of plyometrics, as a form of a running exercise such as high knees and butt kicks.


Flexibility is an always forgotten tool for long jumpers. Effective flexibility prevent injury, which can be important for high impact events such as the long jump. It also helps the athlete sprint down the runway.

A common tool in many long jump workouts is the use of video taping. This lets the athlete to go back and watch their own progress as well as letting the athlete compare their own footages to some of the world class jumpers.

Training style, duration, and intensity vary immensely from athlete to athlete based on the experience and strength of the athlete as well as on their coaching style.

World Record Progression


*(meters), **(metres/second)A = Altitude (above 1000 metres)


*"*ongoing season"

National records

* As of 2008-06-12



External links

* [http://www.iaaf.org/ International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF)] – official site
* [http://www.athletix.org/statistics/stats.html World Record progression in athletics]
* [http://www.world-masters-athletics.org/ World Masters Athletics] - official site
* [http://www.mastersathletics.net Masters T&F World Rankings]
* [http://www.alltime-athletics.com Athletics all-time performances]
* [http://www.athletix.org/statistics/natrljmen.html Athletix]
* [http://youtube.com/watch?v=FYZcVN-R3pg (video) Beamon vs Lewis jump analysis]
* [http://youtube.com/watch?v=4C8qG50w_rw (video) Powell vs Lewis Tokyo 91]

ee also

* cite book
last = Guthrie
first = Mark
title = Coach Track & Field Successfully
publisher = Human Kinetics
date= 2003
location = Champaign, IL
pages = 149-155
id = ISBN 0-7360-4274-1

* cite book
last = Rogers
first = Joseph L.
title = USA Track & Field Coaching Manual
publisher = Human Kinetics
date= 2000
location = Champaign, IL
pages = 141-157
id = ISBN 0-88011-604-8

* cite video
people = Ernie Gregoire, Larry Myricks
title = World Class Track & Field Series: Long Jump
medium = VHS
publisher = Championship Books & Video Productions
location = Ames, IA
date= 1991

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • long jump — long′ jump n. 1) spo a jump for distance from a running start 2) spo an athletic field event featuring competition in the long jump Also called broad jump • Etymology: 1880–85 long′jump , v.i. long′ jump er, n …   From formal English to slang

  • long jump — n the long jump a sport in which each competitor tries to jump further than anyone else >long jumper n …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • long jump — ► NOUN (the long jump) ▪ an athletic event in which competitors jump as far as possible along the ground in one leap. DERIVATIVES long jumper noun …   English terms dictionary

  • long jump — Track & Field n. 1. an event in which contestants take turns jumping for distance, after a running start, usually into a long pit of sand 2. a jump in such an event …   English World dictionary

  • long jump — noun 1. a competition that involves jumping as far as possible from a running start • Syn: ↑broad jump • Hypernyms: ↑field event • Part Meronyms: ↑run up 2. the act of jumping as far as possible from a running start • …   Useful english dictionary

  • long jump — Track and Field. 1. a jump for distance from a running start. 2. a field event featuring competition in the long jump. Also called broad jump, running broad jump. [1880 85] * * * or broad jump Track and field sport consisting of a horizontal jump …   Universalium

  • long-jump — /lawng jump , long /, v.i. Track and Field. to execute a long jump. Also, broad jump. * * * …   Universalium

  • long-jump — /lawng jump , long /, v.i. Track and Field. to execute a long jump. Also, broad jump …   Useful english dictionary

  • long jump — noun (the long jump) an athletic event in which competitors jump as far as possible along the ground in one leap. Derivatives long jumper noun …   English new terms dictionary

  • long jump — noun the long jump a sport in which each competitor tries to jump further than anyone else long jumper noun (C) …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.