Lets start with what a squat jump actually is.
When you break it down, it really is as simple as a squat and a jump. It’s a type of plyometric exercise.
Athletes incorporate squat jumps, and other plyometric exercises, into their programmes to develop speed and power. They can also help maintain and increase strength levels. It’s nice to be the strong guy in the gym, or the girl with great glutes, but the squat jump will take you from average to awesome.
Imagine being able to combine your strength with speed for the all round athletic package, or matching your nice glutes with nice quads, hamstrings and calf muscles, for the whole leg effect! Squat jumps are a compound exercise meaning that, like a squat they work loads of muscles and burn heaps of calories.
The squat jump, when done properly, can actually help decrease the chances of knee injuries as well by enhancing the functioning of the stabliser muscles in the joint. They are also a very dynamic exercise and so work on your coordination as well.
Now you know what a squat jump is and the benefits of doing them, let’s talk about how to do it.
It’s probably best to start without any weight, that can always be added in as a progression.
1. Start as you would with a normal squat, feet shoulder width apart, core tight, straight back etc.
2. When you’re ready, squat down and get ready to explode upwards. When you reach your desired depth (just above a 90 degree knee bend is fine) put everything you’ve got into pushing yourself upwards and off the floor.
3. Try to pull your toes up to your shins as well rather than letting them dangle in the air. You are trying to generate as much force as possible don’t forget. Have your hands on your hips or out in front of you or even by your sides to help swing and jump higher.
4. When you come down from your great height, land softly with bent knees. This will help prevent injury.
It's important to not over do it on this exercise. Doing 3 sets of 5 reps to start with is fine. Focus on correct technique and generating power before you adding in more sets and reps.
When you feel like you need a bit more of a challenge you can add weights such as dumbbells or a barbell. This exercise is about speed and power so don’t add so much weight that it jeopardises your technique and slows you down.
In summary, squat jumps are great. When done properly, the benefits are endless. There is a huge amount of research backing their effectiveness all available online, have a look if you don’t believe me or want to learn more. Try super setting squat jumps with squats for a real leg burner.
Squat jumps are the epitome of quality over quantity, so keep it short, keep it tight and get jumping!
by Kath Webb
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by Kath Webb
by Kath Webb
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