Monday, November 26, 2012


When was the last time you jumped? For most people it's probably been awhile. We just don't jump in our everyday lives. We walk, run, lift, push, pull, squat and throw but we never jump. So why would we want or need to jump? How will jumping make us better? Our ability to rapidly open our hips and put distance between us and the ground is a basic human action. It requires a coordinated effort between your upper body, hips, knees and ankles. It can also be a daunting prospect for those non-jumpers out there. You are leaving the planet at high speed. Confidence is required for a successful jump. Why? Because you also have to land.

Here are some jumping exercises to work into your routine:
  • Jumping Squats - From a half squat, explode up and jump as high as you can. Land in the half squat and immediately jump again. These can be done Tabata, on the minute or as part of a larger workout.
  • Broad Jump - From a standing position, quickly squat down and swing your arms down and back for momentum. Explode forward and jump as far as you can. Land in a balanced squat. Measure your jumps and see if you can increase your distance.
  • Jump Rope - This is something most of us did as kids. Work on increasing pace and accuracy (how long you can go without missing). If you are getting bored with regular jumps you can start practising. . .
  • Double Unders - These are just like jumping regular rope, only the rope is passing under your feet twice per jump instead of once. This requires a bigger jump, faster hand speed and significantly more cardiovascular endurance. Few things increase heart rate as fast as a series of double unders.
  • Box Jumps - Start with a small box (or park bench or low wall, etc.). Standing in front of said box, jump up and land in a squat on top of the box. Stand up straight, then jump or step back down. You can either find a height that you can jump dozens of times as part of your workout or you can challenge yourself to find the maximum height you can jump.
  • Soft Landing - Get on top of your box. Jump off and land as softly and quietly as you can. The point of this is to practise landing with as little impact as possible. Use your legs like shock absorbers.
  • Spin Jumps - From a half squat, jump and spin 180 degrees, landing in a half squat. Do this both ways. If you can, try a 360 degree jump or more, always landing in a balanced half squat.
All of these jumps test and improve your power and athleticism. You never know when you might have to jump - or land - unexpectedly. So get out there and jump.


PS - Don't forget to exercise caution when jumping: spot your landing and make sure that if you fall, it is on relatively forgiving terrain. No sense in marring your pretty face in the name of jumping. 

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