Dynamic Arts - Vaults


Lazy vault

This is one of the easiest ways over an obstacle. You run at it at an angle, place one hand on top and hop over, swapping hands as you pass over the top. The feet go over like a scissor jump, but lazily.


One handed vault

Place one hand down, and jump over an obstacle.

Speed vault

A running pass a bit like a hurdle, but placing one hand down for support. Similar to a one handed vault, but much faster.

Two handed vault.

Slightly more taxing, possibly for a higher obstacle, a two handed vault places both hands down while the feet clear to the side. This is the vault would be used to clear a gate or wall without the feet making contact.



Catpass, Cat jump, Bunny hop, Monkey vault, Through vault, Kong and King Kong, (Saut de Chat)

A symmetrical vault where two hands are placed on the obstacle, and the feet appear to come through the arms. Initially, the hands will make contact before the feet leave the ground, but after a little practice, a short dive will precede the placing of the hands.

Although named a through vault, the feet do not come through the arms. If you attempt this, you will catch your feet on the top of the obstacle. The best method is to keep the hips high, above the level of the shoulders, and pull forwards while pushing upward with the arms. This will provide the clearance and rotation required to keep the feet clear of the obstacle and be able to rotate backwards onto the feet for a clean landing.

A cat to cat or double Kong is when you place the hands down at the start and end of an obstacle with a small bounce in between.

Monkey plant

A curtailed monkey vault where you land on top of the obstacle, with the feet between the hands. Alternatively known as a cat to precision, albeit a very short one.

Cartwheel vault

Position one hand at the start of the obstacle and the other hand at the far edge, cartwheeling the body over the top. Can be done lazily in a tucked position.

Straddle vault

Similar to a cat jump, except the legs go over in the straddle or splits position rather than between the arms. As with the cat jump, it is important to keep the hips high.


A lazy straddle vault, used to clear a small pillar, post or person as in the game leapfrog.


Dash vault

Similar to an arm jump, but feet first. The obstacle is cleared before the hands come down. Take care with the dash vault as a miss with the hands results in the same landing position and velocity which has damaged the backs of many paraglider pilots. Hitting the edge of the obstacle or the ground in this position can cause injury.

Thief vault

A cross between a lazy vault and a dash vault. The obstacle is approached at an angle and the feet go over in a lazy scissor kick, swapping the hands as you pass over. The only difference is that the body has more forward motion than in a lazy vault.

Cat to Dash or Kash vault

The first half of kong merged with the second half of dash, gives kash. Useful for clearing obstacles with two parts, such as parallel walls, raised flower beds or long obstacles. A push is required between the two parts of the vault to allow the legs to rotate between the arms. An insufficient push will result in a trip, unless you’ve got really long arms.

Long arm

A forward handspring over an obstacle, keeping the arms straight and shoulders locked.

Short arm

Similar to a long arm, but with the arms bent at 90°, and the head coming level with the obstacle on its far side. Hands can face forward or backwards, depending on the vaulter’s preference. Long and short arms are also referred to as wall springs or rail springs.

Neck spring and Head spring

In gymnastics, both the head and back of the neck can come into contact with a vaulting horse. Both of these vaults are dangerous on concrete because of the hard surface, and should not be attempted.


Gate vault

Leap or climb onto the top of a wall or bar and lie with the stomach across the top. As the head drops down on the far side, the legs come up and over. One hand holds the top of the wall and the other pushes off below the head to provide some clearance. A small twist will turn the vaulter towards the direction of travel. The safest form of this vault is similar to a round off, where a half twist allows for a comfortable landing facing the wall. A more difficult dismount holds the body in line with the wall, a bit like a handspring, to end facing away from the obstacle.



Pop vault, wall hop (Passe Muraille)

A run at and over a high wall. Similar to a two handed vault, but with one foot placed on the wall to gain height, and the other on top of the wall to one side for extra lift if required.


The same starting position can be used when practicing turning and reverse vaults, and both vaults can be done from a standing or running launch. The method described here is for first timers. After some practice, a more fluid motion will come naturally.

Face towards a low bar or railing. Place the left hand under the bar, palm up, then grip the bar and lift the wrist as high as it will comfortably go. Place the right hand palm down on top of the bar and grip it. You will now be standing as if holding the rail of a ship and staring out to sea, but with the left hand facing up and the right hand facing down. Launch to the right of the hands (no, not off the ship).

If you are practicing on a wall, the right palm will be face down on top of the wall. The left will be reversed on the edge and will feel less comfortable.

Turning vault, Turnover (Demi tour)

Jump over the bar, railing or wall to the right of the hands, and while getting some air, lift the right hand, and move it to the other side of the left hand while the body rotates 180° anticlockwise. Land in an arm jump position, with the feet pressing in and down and not sliding down the wall in an uncool fashion. Both hands will be gripping the top in the same direction.

Over a high obstacle, when some lift is required from the arms, begin with both hands resting normally (palms down) on the wall. After the jump, swap both hands at the zenith of your apogee.

Reverse vault (Reverse)

With a similar launch to the turning vault, let go almost immediately with the left hand, twisting faster than in the turning vault so that the back leads over the bar. Swap hands behind your back shortly after passing over the bar. Continue the turn, using the right hand for leverage to turn another 180° or 270°.

An alternative turning vault uses only one hand. Over a relatively low obstacle, launch off the right foot with the right side to the obstacle and right hand twisted anticlockwise and placed on the obstacle palm down. Leap over, rotating anticlockwise, and as you go over, the twist will be released from the right arm. When it starts twisting again due to the motion of the body, release and land.

Click here to see Andi's reverse vault

Barrel roll

A straddled roll on the back over a fairly wide wall top or obstacle. Roll onto the shoulder using the hands if necessary, ensuring the back is in a straight line along the object being cleared.

Barrel vault

Similar to a barrel roll, except the body rolls over one straight arm placed on the obstacle. The legs rotate over the body in a loose tuck.

Rocket vault

Similar to a speed vault, but with more style than speed. Over the top of the obstacle, get into a piked position where the feet are as high as possible, and the free hand is reaching for the leading foot.