‘The jump squat is a two-leg jumping exercise that can be used to develop power and power endurance,’ says Graeme Woodward, a UK Athletics Level 3 performance coach, UKSCA accredited S&C coach and We Run coach for West Yorkshire.
How does a jump squat help your running?
‘It is like the box jump, but differs in one important aspect,’ explains Woodward. ‘The athlete lands back on the ground – with the result that landing forces are actually greater. This means that, compared to the box jump, the jump squat is actually more demanding, and especially if done several times in succession.’
‘A key difference is that the body will load the quads, hamstrings, calves and glutes with energy during eccentric muscle actions on impact, and then use this to power off the ground. This is called the stretch-shortening cycle and operates like stretching an elastic band, releasing it and watching it flying through the air. The stretch-shortening cycle is a key feature of human locomotion and if, done fast enough (less than 0.4 second), it can provide free energy – so helping with running economy and speed.’
How to do a jump squat
Stand up straight with your feet hip-distance apart.
Keeping your arms bent, lower your body into a squat, ideally so that your hips are parallel with or below your knees.
Propel your body up and off the floor, bringing your arms above your head toward the ceiling.
Land softly on the balls of your feet, with your arms bent, but use that momentum to power your next jump.
Start with sets of five, and aim for three or four sets. Aim for height on the jump. If part of a circuit, you can also aim for time rather than number of jumps – perhaps 20 seconds building up.
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