Pike Position

Pike Diving Position with Knees Straight and Body Bent at the Waist

Xiong Ni of China dives in Atlanta in 1996
Xiong Ni of China dives in Atlanta in 1996. Photo: Jed Jacobsohn /Allsport

The pike position is one of the four positions in diving. The pike position is performed with the knees straight and the body bent at the waist. A proper pike position will demonstrate little or no gap between the upper body and the legs. The toes are pointed and the head looks over the toes. The knees show no flexion.

Pike position can be performed with the hands extending out from the body in an open pike position, touching the feet as used in voluntary dives, or with the arms wrapping around the legs in a closed pike position.

In diving code, a pike is designated by the letter B after the three to four numbers that describe the dive. A pike is considered to be of average difficulty among the four positions: straight (hardest), pike, tuck (easiest), and free.

Closed Pike Position

In the closed pike position, the arms are wrapped around the legs as the body is bent in half at the waist. The closed pike is a very common element of many optional dives. The key elements of the closed pike position are grabbing the arms underneath the legs, pulling as tight as possible using the arms but not the hands, keeping the legs straight, keeping the back flat, and keeping the head down and looking at the toes. The palms are facing the direction in which the body is spinning.

When a somersault is performed in the pike position, the body spins slower than when in the tuck position. The tighter the pike is held, the faster the body will spin. The tightness of the pike determines how much time the diver has before entering the water. The tighter it is held, the more time to prepare for entry.

Open Pike Position

In the open pike position, the knees are straight and diver's body is bent at the waist. But the hands do not touch the body, they are extended. This position is used in several ways in fronts and inwards dives. It is seen in many of the voluntary dives as part of the final phase of the dive, the come out, as the diver moves from a tuck or closed pike to the line up position prior to the entry. It's a transition from the somersault to the entry.

The key points are that the toes are pointed and the legs are straight. The head must be positioned to look at or over the toes. The palms are facing in the direction of the spin. The diver should keep her back very flat. There should be less than a 90-degree angle between the legs and the back.

Basic Dives in Pike Position

In the forward dive, the body bends at the waist at the peak of the dive with the hands touching the feet in pike position. In flying somersault dives, a closed pike or open pike position is performed after the somersault.