To jump, or to spring into the air and then absorb impact as the body is brought back to the surface, is a very ballistic and advanced human movement. To explosively leave the ground at a high rate of speed and then to absorb the impact of landing is quite difficult, particularly to those who have not done this activity in a while. Jumping is seen in youth play, sports and some fitness routines. Maximal jumping (jumping as high/far as you can as fast as you can) is really only seen in play and sports. Most fitness routines use jumping as a conditioning modality. So, those that don’t jump must learn how to properly take off and, more importantly, how to land properly (since a majority of non-contact injuries are seen when the body absorbs forces). Those who do jump, must learn how to maximally jump, once again with focus on takeoff and landing. Just like all of human movement, there are many ways to jump. You can jump in any direction imaginable, taking off from varying bases of support and landing on various bases of support. Here is a simple progression of a squat jump.
Jumping up on a box is a great way to start the jumping progressions. Jumping up on to something lessens the forces of gravity by landing at your peak, where regular jumps have you jumping to your peak and then falling back to earth. Always choose a box size where you are able to jump and land with solid form. Using a box will put emphasis on a proper take off…drive your hips down and back as you swing your arms back, and quickly explode upward (and forward to land on the box) while swinging the arms upward/forward. Try to get full extension of the lower limbs (triple extension). Always land lightly on top of the box (land like a ninja!). This will help teach your body to absorb impact.
Box Jump Down-
Jumping from the top of the box to the ground would be the second step in the progression. This eliminates the takeoff/force production portion of the jump and emphasizes the force absorption of the land. As mentioned earlier, teaching the body how to land is more important than teaching it how to jump. Someone who can land properly can avoid injury and react better. When jumping down from the box you are basically just stepping off the box. When you land you want to do so as soft as possible (back to being a ninja….no one should hear you land). To do this you should “sink” into the landing and end up in the Crouching/Athletic position.
Putting it all together. Jumping from the floor and landing on the floor means applying and absorbing forces. Emphasis is on both the take off and the landing (see above). These should be done as sets of one to emphasize starting from a standing position, driving the hips down/back and then exploding upwards as high as possible, then landing as quietly as possible. Do repetitive squat jumps can cause room for error in all aspects of the jump. As we progress repetitive squat jumps will be more appropriate but in the initial progression phases we want to be strict on form.
Another step in the progressions is to vary the base of support in which one takes off and lands. Here are some progressions:
- Double leg take off, double leg land
- Single leg take off, double leg land
- Double leg take off, single leg land
- Single leg take off, Single leg land
Jumping can be a daunting task for many. The farther removed someone has been from jumping the more daunting it becomes. However, with proper progressions of jumping this task will become more manageable.