Squat Jumps Build Agility and Power

Plyometric Jumps Build Dynamic Power

men and women doing box jumps in Crossfit gym
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Squat jumps and plyometric jumps are basic drills that improve agility and power as well as help improve an athlete's vertical jump. This exercise is often used as the beginning movement to develop proficiency in vertical jump, high jump, long jump, and box jumps. Some coaches use this drill to help improve an athlete's technique during the full squat lift.

The squat jump exercise ranks near the top of the list for developing explosive power using only an athlete's body weight.

It can be done as a single exercise or as a combination that includes other movements before and/or after the jump.

How To Do Squat Jumps

This exercise is an advanced dynamic power move that should be done only after a complete warm up.

  1. Stand with feet shoulder width and knees slightly bend.
  2. Bend your knees and descend to a full squat position.
  3. At the bottom of the squat, powerfully explode straight up bringing your knees toward your chest while in midair. At the top of the jump your thighs should touch your torso.
  4. Release your legs, control your landing by going through your foot (toes, ball, arches, heel) and descend into the squat again for another explosive jump.
  5. Upon landing immediately repeat the next jump.

Get the Most From the Squat Jump

Use these tips to receive the most benefit from this exercise.

Nail the jump, then tuck. Tucking your knees up is an advanced move. Get comfortable with the squat jump and gain some height before you start bringing your knees to your chest.

Consider your environment. Avoid doing these drills on concrete and use a soft, flat landing surface until you are comfortable with the exercise.

Don't over do it. When you find an exercise that is fun to do and is effective, there is a tendency to do it more often. In this case, fight the urge. Use these drills no more than once per week to avoid overuse or excessive impact on your joints.

Decide what's more important: speed or height. Figure out what your goal is for this exercise. If it is speed, know that the height of your jumps will suffer. If it is height, which translates into more power, then slow down.

Don't be lured into adding extra weight, according to a review of the scientific literature published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. It turns out no extra benefits were found by adding extra weight to the exercise.

Who Should Do Squat Jumps

Basically, everyone.

First of all, anyone who participates in activities that require a lot of sprinting, like soccer, football, track, baseball, or track, should be doing plyometric exercises. Numerous research studies have found that exercises like the squat jump improve sprint performance since both need that explosive power from the muscles. 

You’re never too young to start a jumping. Squat jumps, without the tuck, can help kids as young as 5 years old improve running, kicking, balance, and agility. The current evidence suggests that a twice a week program for 8-10 weeks beginning at 50-60 jumps a session will work.

An alternative program for children who do not have the capability or tolerance for a twice a week program would be a low-intensity program for a longer duration. And since adults will garner the same benefits, squat jumps can be a family affair.

Sources

Domire ZJ, Challis JH. Maximum height and minimum time vertical jumping. J Biomech. 2015 Aug 20;48(11):2865-70. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2015.04.021. Epub 2015 Apr 22.

Johnson BA, Salzberg CL, Stevenson DA. A systematic review: plyometric training programs for young children.J Strength Cond Res. 2011 Sep;25(9):2623-33. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e318204caa0.

Maćkała K, Fostiak M. Acute Effects of Plyometric Intervention—Performance Improvement and Related Changes in Sprinting Gait Variability.J Strength Cond Res. 2015 Jul;29(7):1956-65. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000000853.

Sáez de Villarreal E, Requena B, Cronin JB. The effects of plyometric training on sprint performance: a meta-analysis. J Strength Cond Res. 2012 Feb;26(2):575-84. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e318220fd03.

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