I love jumping! It's a fundamental human movement and it's great fun, it leaves you feeling alive and it has a whole heap of benefits. Most of us stop doing it in adulthood, thinking that it's something kids do and that it's risky for bones and joints.
It doesn't have to be though; it can be part of most people's exercise routines as long as we warm up thoroughly, choose a level of difficulty that's right for you and do a sensible amount. They are tough though, and there are certain instances in which it's better not to do them, or at least take some time building up to low level ones first. Don't do them if you have a lower body injury at the moment, you have osteoporosis, arthritis or balance issues. Depending on your circumstances, there may well be variations you can try; speak to a physio beforehand for guidance or get in touch and I'll happily help.
Here are a few benefits of adding jumps into your exercise routines:
- You'll improve performance of your fast-twitch muscle fibres, boosting speed and power in the process. Great for sports or if you just want to feel a bit younger again!
- Training fast-twitch muscle fibres can also help with balance and coordination, decreasing the risk of falls and helping with everyday tasks like getting out of a chair, up off the floor or climbing stairs
- It burns plenty of calories and helps to tone all the muscles of the legs and core
- All you need is some form of solid step or ledge; the bottom step on a flight of stairs, the edge of the decking in the back garden, a step or bench in the local park, an exercise bench or a purpose-built jump box. Just check it's in good nick and won't move when you jump on it
- It's great fun. You'll feel more alive and definitely put more of a spring in your step!!!
Here are two great exercises to get started with; the double-leg and single-leg jump.
Key things to remember:
1) Start as low as you need to. You can even begin without the step to get used to the movement.
2) Work on technique over height. Try to land as softly as a mouse and stand up completely upright once you've landed.
3) Warm up throughly before you do them. Spend at least ten minutes doing cardio and stretches until you're sweaty as the risk of injury is high when cold.
4) Do them at the start of your workout whilst you're fresh. As you tire, it's easy to lose technique so it's best to do them whilst you can perform at your very best.
5) No need for loads. 6 repetitions is plenty; if you're fit and experienced you might do 2-3 sets with a minute or so between each, but if starting out, just do it once. Add them into workouts once or twice a week when you haven't done anything too hard the day before.