How to Build Jump Height Trainers

By: Mark Toorock

Parkour Jump Height Training ToolThe confidence to jump over a small fence or railing can make a big difference in the efficiency of your movement. Knowing how high of an obstacle you can jump on or over is a critical factor in Parkour. Finding out if you can clear a railing by jumping over it and missing can be dangerous and painful. You WILL learn how high you can jump that way, and there are some bruises which are worth their weight in gold, however there are also those injuries which put you off training, for physical and mental reasons, for much longer than necessary. In the end, it's probably better to find your limits on softer, more forgiving objects- then take it out to the concrete jungle. This article shows you how to build a tool that will not only measure your jump height, but also provide you many drills to work to increase it.

Two sticks and some string

That's essentially what this is. You could do this by tying or taping string to some trees, columns, anywhere you could span a rope and jump over it. The important factor here is "break-away" ... if you tie a rope tight you can still trip over it mid-jump, which won't be pleasant. This tool ads a few benefits over tying rope to trees: portability: you can use it indoors in the winter, variability: you can adjust the height of the rope very easily, measurability: you can mark directly on the poles for an easy judge of progress, and finally the "break-away" factor, the rope will easily fall away from the poles should you trip it, you can simply set it back up by sticking it back on the pole.

This project will cost about $30 and take about an hour.


 Parkour Jump Height Training - Materials(2) 2"X4"X8' (pine two-by-four) about $3 each (I used some leftover 2X6's)

(2) 1 1/4" X5' poles, closet bar or pvc pipe works well for this, my PVC pipes was $7

1 Package of velcro, 5 foot roll $10

1 box (50) 3" wood screws $3

1 piece of clothesline, 6 to 10 feet ($3 for 50 feet)


Circular or mitre saw

Holesaw (matched to pole size)


Tape Measure


Knife or Scissors

Beagle (optional)


 Parkour Jump Height Training - Cut PiecesStart by cutting your two by fours down to 24" lengths, you will end up with 8 pieces. Since I've used scrap wood my "legs" are shorter than yours will be, yours will be the same size as the cross itself. I've drawn dimensions to illustrate that your pieces will all be the same length.



Parkour Jump Height Training - Mark CentersNext find and mark the centers of four of the pieces. Measure carefully here, as bad alignment will make your poles lean.



Parkour Jump Height Training - LevelUsing the holesaw, drill out holes to match your pole size (in this case 1 1/4"). IF your drill has a level on the end, use it, and place your base on a flat level surface to drill, this will ensure that your poles stand up straight. If they don't, try viagra. Also remember to place your working piece elevated on something so that when you drill through you don't make a hole in the counter, floor, etc.


Parkour Jump Height Training - baseAssemble the pieces so that the two holes line up, put your pole through the holes while securing the pieces to make sure it will fit once assembled. Your finished bas assembly will look like this, except that your sides will be the same length as your cross, making a square.



 Parkour Jump Height Training - Alternate BaseThis is an alternate base design, which may be easier if you have plywood and a good circular or table saw available. I'm only showing one 2X4, but you'll need to use 2 (or more) to hold the pole up straight. 



 Parkour Jump Height Training - Velcro PolesDraw a straight line down the side of each pole. This is most easily done by putting it in a crease which is 90 degrees (like a door jamb) and running your pen down the straightedge. Use this as a guide to stick your velcro along the pole. You only need velcro in the "usable range" so I started from the top down, so my range will be from about 2'6" to 5'. If you're using wooden poles you may need to staple the velcro to the wood if the stick backing isn't sufficient. Mark your poles at least every 6" so that you can attach the rope level and so that you can measure your progress. This is critical!


 Parkour Jump Height Training - Velcro EndsPrepare your rope by tying a loop at each end which is just big enough for the velcro strip to pass through. Pass the velcro through so that when you fold it in half it sticks to itself, making a two sided velcro "flag". I used the "soft" (loop) velcro on the poles and the "hooks" on the rope.



 Parkour Jump Height Training - SetupPlace your bases apart the same distance as your rope, try to make it fairly taught so that your rope is the same height in the middle as it is at the poles, this will give you accurate measurements. Attach your rope, pick a comfortable height to make your first jump a success :)



Parkour Jump Height Training - JumpJump! Now, before you get too crazy, test your rig. Pull the rope away with your hand, and make sure the poles don't come crashing down, this can be dangerous if this happens while you are jumping, not to mention embarrassing! If your poles do come down, try re-aligning your bases, or try to attach the velcro more gently - just enough to hold the rope up is what we're going for here.





For Height: Place the string at the highest point where you think you can jump over it. Jump over it. Move it up an inch, jump over it. Repeat until failure. Once you fail, move it back down to the last successful height and jump 10 times with little rest (2-3 seconds) between each jump. Repeat for a second round of max effort jumps.

For Stamina: Place the rope at about 2 1/2 feet. Jump over it, turn around and jump back. Do this as a tabata and count your score. (20 seconds jumping, 10 seconds break - 8 rounds, count only your lowest score). Work this drill in two dimensions: try to get faster while also getting higher.

For Coordination: With your rope at it's lowest setting, jump over it, then without turning, jump back. Before doing this, practice a few backward jumps away from the trainer. This can be dangerous and takes practice! Once you're comfortable jumping forward and back, do 5 sets of 5 in a plyometric rhythm (no rest between bounds) So, that's over, back (1rep) over back ...etc with no rest between jumps until your 5th rep. rest 30 seconds between rounds. Scoring: Do as many reps as you can in 30 seconds and record.

Lateral Stability: This is one often done by skiers. Set the rope low. Stand sideways to the rope (so you're facing either pole) and jump over to the other side, still facing the same direction. So if I start looking at "Pole A" then I end still looking at "Pole A". Now jump back, still facing the same direction. Start very slowly on these as they put large lateral forces on your knees. Do not do this exercise for score until you have done at least 3 full sessions. This is not an exercise where pushing yourself early on will yield anything but damage. I suggest doing a first workout of 20 reps, a second 4-5 days later of 30 reps, a third 4-5 days later of 50, and if you still feel good, you’re ready to try this for max effort. For height: Place the rope as high as you think you can jump it sideways, count the highest point at which you can jump over and back 5 times in less than 10 seconds. For endurance - keep jumping, count reps (over and back = 1 rep). For speed: jump as many times as possible in 30 seconds, record number and height.

Samurai: Samurai would plant a corn seed and jump over it 100 times a day. For the first few weeks this requires no height, then, over the next two months, jump heights of several feet could be achieved. The secret is in consistent small changes. Set your rope at the lowest it will go. Jump over it 100 times a day. Raise it one inch every day, jump 100 times- even if you knock the rope off, keep increasing height until you knock the rope off 100 times out of 100.



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Written by Mark Toorock   
Tuesday, 17 October 2006 01:08
Last Updated on Monday, 13 December 2010 21:58