Video: How to choose starting blocks
This 'How to...' video explains the similarities and differences between the various types of starting blocks available and offers tips to athletes on which features to consider when buying your blocks.
See below for a transcript of the video.
Neuff - Serious about Sport
How to choose starting blocks
Hello. Welcome to Neuff’s ‘How to…’ videos. Today we are looking at choosing starting blocks.
On the table we have the World, Classic, Pro-Olympic and Super-Olympic starting blocks. We also have a Galaxy starting block which I will mention, but I am afraid we don’t have one for this video here.
Fundamentally, there are some elements which go across all starting blocks. They all have footplates with a strong, heavy duty synthetic polymer footpad. The Super-Olympic starting blocks have a rounded dimple footpad. The Pro-Olympic and Classic are very similar - they have a speckled smaller dimple with a grip-bar. The World has a pyramid structure grip. They are all suitable for track spikes and they are all hard-wearing.
All of the footpads also have an adjustable angle on them by use of a simple bar changer, where you spring that out and change the angle of the footplate to suit your foot.
They all also have a T-bar fitting, with four spikes at the front (they come in either 9mm or 11mm spikes to fit into a synthetic track surface) and a T-bar at the back for four spikes on either side. They also have three pin fixing points for use on grass tracks and other such surfaces.
Now to come to some of the differences between them. So the Pro-Olympic, Classic and World blocks are all 6kg blocks, the Super-Olympic is a 7.5kg block and the Galaxy is 9kg. The 6kg blocks are all suitable for the majority of athletes, certainly if you are a younger or lighter-weight athlete you’ll want to be choosing from this range of blocks because the additional weight on the others really does make a difference when you are carrying them around and setting them up on the track and they are perfectly sturdy enough for most body-weights. If you are a stronger or heavier athlete, you may appreciate the extra stability that the extra weight of the Super-Olympic blocks give you, and of course you are not going to struggle to carry that extra weight around. The Galaxy blocks, which are 9kg, are generally used by stadia who carry them round on trolleys to set them up for competition use rather than it’s quite unusual for them to be purchased by individual athletes.
The other size difference between the blocks is the centre bar. So the Super-Olympic block has the longest centre bar, which makes it useful again for athletes perhaps with longer legs, or a wider stance when sitting on the starting blocks, because you can get a wider spread of your footplates than you can for example with the Pro-Olympic. The Pro-Olympic and Classic have a shorter centre-bar length and the World is in-between.
The width of the bar is also different. The Super-Olympic, Pro-Olympic and World are all fully aluminium blocks, they have a very similar width of centre bar. The Classic blocks have aluminium footplates, but a chrome-steel centre bar. Chrome-steel is a heavier, denser alloy which means that the centre bar is made smaller to keep the weight down. That means that if you have a very narrow stance on the starting blocks, you may prefer these. Certainly we have had feedback from athletes who have a standard stance and they find these perfectly good, so it’s not necessarily that you have to avoid it if you don’t have a particularly narrow stance.
The other difference between the centre bars is that the Super-Olympic, Pro-Olympic and Classic all have a carrying handle. This makes it much easier to pick the blocks up off the track once it’s been dug into the track with the spikes. It also makes it easier to put them in and out of the carrying bag. The handles all have the same feature, in that when they are not in use, they fold down so they are out of the way and don’t pose a trip-hazard when you are using the blocks.
The differences between the footplates are mainly the fixing points. The Pro-Olympic and the Classic have a double bolt system fixing point, so they fix onto two of the grooves on the centre bar. That means that, on an uneven surface, you are not going to get much wobble or play because this is a very stable footplate fixing. The Super-Olympic and World have a single bolt point fixing onto the centre bar. If you are on a stable track surface, you are not going to notice much difference, particularly once you are sat on the blocks, but on an uneven surface you may notice a bit more play and wobble. So if you are looking for blocks which are going to be regularly used on grass or other uneven surfaces, it might be something that you want to consider.
The Super-Olympic and World blocks are both certified by World Athletics, if you are requiring them for international competition. All of the blocks are perfectly suited for competition up to national level, so UKA competition in the UK.
In terms of starting block bag size, the 6kg blocks (so the Pro-Olympic, Classic and World blocks) all fit in a size 2 block bag, whereas the Super-Olympics fit into a size three starting block bag.
I hope you have found this video useful. Do look at our other ‘How to…’ videos on how to put your starting blocks together, for example, and we hope you enjoy your sport.