Jump squats are a fantastic way to exercise the legs and heart. Jump squats are a part of a fitness training known as plyometrics that improves speed and power and makes your joints stronger. Plyometrics force the muscles to load while in a stretched position. Inside muscles are complex communication networks; plyometrics challenge these networks to be quicker and faster (which tennis players, football linebackers, and goalies all need!). But for you and me, plyometrics is a great way to shape our legs, keep our hearts strong, and make us quicker on our feet.
Three Reasons Jump Squats are Better than Regular Squats
- Your heart rate gets a boost when you do plyometrics. Although jump squats are considered a form of strength training, when done consecutively they have cardiovascular benefits.
- Injury prevention and joint stability: jump squats train the tendons and muscles to improve power, be stronger and quicker. We need these ninja-like reflexes not just for playing sports, but for everyday life.
- Jump squats help define your legs and butt and make you look lean and strong.
How to do a Jump Squat
Jump squats need no special equipment; they can be done at the gym, in your home or at the park. It is important to be warmed up before trying a jump squat.
- Have a brief warm-up of 10 regular squats, standing on a flat service with feet hip distance apart. Soften your knees as you lower your hips (like sitting in a chair). Keep your arms parallel to the ground, extended from your shoulders, and keep your chest lifted as you lower your hips. Your weight should be back in your heels.
- To do a jump squat, start in a sitting position, but this time as you lower your hips swing your arms deliberately back toward your hips. Then quickly swing your arms up and extend your legs, jumping into the air.
- The landing is very important–land lightly like a cat as if not to make any noise, with your knees bent and hips back and chest lifted…and pause. Perform 10 repetitions.
- For variation, perform your jump squats from side to side, focusing on the landing. Alternatively, try turning 90 degrees when you land.
Trainer’s note: Plyometrics should be done with care and is not for everyone. If you are recovering from a torn meniscus or ACL tear, continue to do squats within a pain-free range of motion before trying jump squats.
The Benefits of Jumping and Plyometric Exercise
Quick, short motions stimulate the stretch reflex, add bounce to your workout and develop athleticism.
Plyometrics: Controlled Impact/Maximum Power
This type of training strengthens muscles, increases vertical jump and decreases impact forces on the joints.
Developing Power in Everyday Athletes with Plyometrics
Quickly respond to an unexpected change in surface when stepping off a curb, or rapidly change direction when walking a dog on leash.