A multi-sport athlete at Southern Boone County High School in Ashland, Mo., Tyler Lutz quickly found success as a triple and long jumper on his school’s track and field team. That success turned into a passion for Lutz, as he began precise exercises to maximize his leaping ability.
Lutz has continued to perfect his craft as a student at the University of Missouri. He even found a specific jump that he had a natural talent for – the kneeling jump.
“I saw some people doing kneeling jumps on social media, and I decided that I wanted to give it a try,” said Lutz, a senior in the nutrition and exercise physiology (NEP) degree program. “It turned out that I had a knack for it.”
To execute the kneeling jump, participants begin with their knees on the ground with their feet extended behind their body. After swinging their arms and hips back and forth to gain momentum, the participant then jumps up from the original position, landing on their feet.
Lutz soon found out that his natural ability was already well above the Guinness World Record for the highest kneeling jump (male). He made the decision to do a bit of extra training to see if he could etch his name along other Guinness World Record holders.
“After messing around with that jump for a bit, I started to wonder if there was a world record for it,” Lutz said. “When I looked it up, I couldn’t believe I was already above the mark. I trained for a month straight focusing on hip extensions and my speed off of the ground.”
On April 13, 2021, Lutz officially became a Guinness World Record holder with a jump of 70.16 centimeters (27.62 inches).
“I really didn’t know what to think – I just knew it was cool to be a world record holder,” Lutz said.
Lutz added that the process to get a verified record took quite a bit of work; however, he said that work was well worth the effort after securing the record.
“I had to take videos from multiple angles and had to hire a professional measurer to prove that the jump was legit,” Lutz said. “I also had to have four witnesses fill out applications that I completed the jump – plus I had my own application to fill out. It was a lot for sure but definitely worth the effort.”
The NEP degree program has allowed Lutz to expand his knowledge base related to physical activity and nutrition. Those interest areas actually helped lead Lutz to the degree when he first came to MU.
“I was originally interested in physical therapy but decided I wanted something a bit more focused on exercise,” Lutz said. “That led me to NEP.”
Courses such as NEP 4200: Sports Performance and Conditioning, taught by Daniel Credeur, an associate teaching professor, have given Lutz an opportunity to improve his athletic performances through new procedures, techniques and modalities. For example, a recent class had Lutz complete various athletic tests, including his standing vertical jump, which is more than 43 inches.
NEP 4200 is one of many courses offered in NEP, and throughout the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (CAFNR), that gives students hands-on learning opportunities.
“I’m a visual learner, so courses like this really help me to understand the concepts better,” Lutz said. “Getting to participate in the actual techniques is a huge benefit and will also help me in my future career.”
Lutz will graduate in May and is planning to get his Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) certification afterwards. He is currently serving as a personal trainer with Athletes Performance Institute (API), something that he said has been extremely rewarding.
“My big goal is to have my own gym and train professional athletes,” Lutz said. “I would love to go pro one day, but it may be a little late for me. However, I would love to help others reach their goals. I’ve been able to do that through my personal training role with API, and that’s made me really excited for what the future could hold.”