Exercises for Building Powerful Leaps & Jumps
Developing strong muscles for big, powerful leaps and jumps while dancing.
Dr. Nina demonstrates two exercises you can perform at home to build and develop your muscles for those impressive and beautiful huge leaps and jumps while dancing. Developing these muscles will assist with gaining height and distance to your leaps and jumps while still appearing effortless. Additionally, building stronger muscles will reduce your risk of injury by adding the strength required to properly support and stabilize your body while performing these big movements.
Jump Squat Exercise
This very simple, yet effective, exercise can be performed just about anywhere. The Squat Jump focuses on building strong glutes and quadricep muscles. These muscles will allow you to put tremendous power into your jumps giving you height, distance, and a look of effortlessness.
Proper Jump Squat Technique
The setup and proper movements during the Jump Squat are critical to ensure you are engaging the correct muscles and not putting unnecessary strain on your knees, lower back, or other joints.
- Start in proper squat position with your butt behind you to engage proper muscles.
- Keep your chest upright and shoulders back.
- Use your arms to slice downward close to your body while jumping to create momentum and control.
- Point your toes as you lift off the ground to gain full power off your jump.
- Land the jump with bent knees to absorb the impact.
- Do not lean too far forward. This will put strain on your lower back.
- Don’t allow your arms to wiggle and fly all over. This may cause you to lose balance and control during your jumps.
- Land your jumps with straight legs or your knees locked out. This will cause a lot of impact in your joints leading to pains or injuries.
This Triple Lunge technique combines 3 excellent exercises to develop the muscles engaged during a Triple Extension. The Triple Extension is a near-simultaneous full extension of your hip, knee, and ankle used to propel you upward and off the ground during your jump or leap. The Triple Lunge allows you to develop and train these muscles for more powerful and bigger leaps and jumps in your dancing.
Triple Lunge Movements
- Side Lunge
- Back Lunge
- Cross Lunge
Repeat these movements at least 10 times on one side, then the same number of repetitions on the other side.
Start in a standing position with your feet approximately a shoulder width apart. Then step your right leg off to the side while keeping your left foot planted on the ground. Once you’re stepped off to the side bend your right knee into a half or mini squat pose. In this position you want to keep your butt backward and your chest upright. Then, stand back upright and move your leg back to the standing position.
- Keep your left leg nice and straight even during the squat pose.
- Keep your toes facing forward at all times.
- Keep your left foot planted on the ground.
- Use proper squat positioning, keeping your butt backward and your chest upright.
- Allow your left leg to bend.
- Allow your left foot to tilt off the floor, or your toes to point outward. If you see this happening adjust the dept of your squat until your gain additional strength or flexibility.
- Lean forward during the dip. This puts unnecessary strain on your lower back.
From your standing position after the side lunge, step your right leg behind you and allow only your toes to hit the ground. This should be a natural feeling distance, don’t take a super short step or attempt to stretch too far backward with this step. Then, dip straight down at a controlled speed and attempt to lightly touch your knee to the floor. After touching your knee to the floor use your right toes to gently push your weight forward as you use your left leg to stand upright again. As you’re standing bring your right leg back to the standing position.
Tip: In the dip pose your knee should be directly below your hips. Your shoulders, hips, and knee should be in a straight vertical line. Checking this alignment will help you recognize your step backward is the correct distance and that you are keeping your chest upright and not leaning too far forward or backward.
Cross Lunge (aka Curtsy Lunge)
From the standing position after finishing the Back Lunge step your right leg backward and across your left leg (similar to how you would perform a curtsy, which is how this exercise got the nickname Curtsy Lunge.). When stepping backward and across let the toes of your right foot land on the ground and then dip straight downward and attempt to lightly touch your right knee to the ground. Then, in the same manner as the back lunge, use your right toes to adjust some of your weight forward as your left leg stands you upright again.
- Keep your knees and toes in alignment and always pointing in the same direction during this movement.
- Keep your chest upright.
- Keep your hips and right knee in a straight vertical line while in the dipped position.
- Allow your left knee to collapse inward or outward. This will cause strain on your knee joint.
- Allow your chest and shoulders to lean too far forward or backward.
After repeating these exercises on the right side approximately 10 times on the right side, switch and work your left side the same number of times.
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