Getting a Leg Up: High Jump Explained

Jesus Dapena studies how humans reach great heights, biomechanically. The world record for the high jump—the event in which a person propels him- or herself over a horizontal bar—is just over eight feet. To understand how this is possible, Dapena, a professor in the department of kinesiology at Indiana University, has filmed athletes and analyzed their movements to better understand the biomechanics of the leap. Dapena explains the basic ingredients of the high jump.


Film: Jesus Dapena.
Fosbury images: Special Collections & Archives Research Center in the Oregon State University Libraries

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About Flora Lichtman

Flora Lichtman was the host of the podcast Every Little Thing. She’s a former Science Friday multimedia producer.