December 4, 2009, Newsletter Issue #406: Squat Jumps

Tip of the Week

A wonderfully difficult exercise, Squat Jumps help people work on the explosive strength in the legs.  A squat jump is essentially just a jump, but done in a particular fashion which stresses the muscles in the leg making the Type 2B (explosive) muscle fibers work very hard.  This is a great exercise for those who want to be able to jump higher, sprint faster, get faster reactive time in the lower body, or just get a good workout.
Be sure to look back at the 'Squats' Blog post (12/1/2008).
Stand nice and tall with feet hip-width apart.  Pretend you are sitting down onto a chair.  As you squat, bring you butt back.  As you bring the butt back, make sure the feet are firmly on the floor and that the knees (as they begin to bend) are not going towards each other. The knees should stay directly over the feet/toes. If you need to, bring your arms in front of you for balance.  End the motion once your legs are bent 90 degrees at the knee.  Pause, then explode up into the air, as if standing back up quickly.  Once airborne, try and keep feet hip-width apart, landing toes-to heels on the feet and immediately back down into another squat.  (Do Not land with your knees straight, otherwise you will hurt your knees).  Again explode back up into the air, making sure that your heels stay on the ground as long as possible.  Do your best to keep your chest up, head up, shoulders back, knees apart and feet hip-width apart.  (yeah i know, it's a lot)
1 rep of a Squat Jump should take between 2-3 seconds, hence why they are called an 'explosive' exercise.  Performing 15-20 reps should not take longer than 30 seconds, and oh goodness will it tire out your legs.  Once you have gotten the hang of the form, try holding weights (not too heavy) in each arm.  In explosive exercises such as this one, it is always better to do more reps rather than more weight.  This will increase you jumping ability a good amount and really strengthen the glutes, quads and hamstrings.

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