for the cheerleaders who want better jumps or anyone who wants more power in their kicks and/or jumps
Better jumps in four weeks!
by Jim Lord
How do you get that unbelievable hyper-extended jump? It's two parts practice, four parts technique, six parts stretching and eight parts exercise. Yep, exercise!
Some people are born with great flexibility and strength. The other 90% of us have to work at it! These exercises will help improve your jumps. Just like any exercise, start with a warm-up, don't overdo it and be patient. You may not see results for a few weeks, but when you do, you'll be a part of the 10%, not the 90%!
To get that elusive height, try these exercises. In addition to height, you'll also end up with some 'cut' leg and calf muscles!
Start with your feet together. Take a slow dip so that your knees are no further than a 90-degree angle. Explode into the air without using your arms. As you land, absorb the landing and return to the 90-degree angle and explode again.
Start with three sets of five controlled jumps and work up to doing 15 in a row.
Sitting Toe Touches
This exercise helps to isolate the hip flexor and abdominal muscles that lift the legs into the jump position.
Start by sitting on the floor in a tuck position. You should be balanced so that your feet are slightly off the floor and your arms are in 'daggers.'
Next, quickly lift your legs and arms to the toe touch position and return to the seated tuck position as quickly as possible. It will take several of these to learn the proper balance. Focus on good technique, keeping your toes pointed, your legs straight and your back upright.
In addition to building strength, this exercise helps you to practice the proper technique of 'sitting back' in your jumps.
Again, start with three sets of five and work up to 15 reps in a row.
This exercise, and its variations, really isolate the hip flexors. Since this muscle is rarely used in other exercises, take caution not to overdo it in the beginning!
Start by sitting on the floor in a straddle position. Place your hands on the floor on an imaginary line drawn between your knees. This helps stop you from sitting back and using your abs (remember, we're working the hip flexors here).
Lift one leg about two inches off of the floor for a count of two and then set it back down. Keep your leg straight and your toe pointed. Repeat with the other leg. Do this five times (approximately 10 seconds on each leg). Work slowly up to holding each leg twice for a count of five, and then once for a count of 10.
Once you have built up some strength, you can lift both legs at once. Remember NOT to lean back! You can also perform 'reps' with this exercise by lifting the leg(s) up in repetition without letting them touch the floor.
Tip: To see your progress, videotape your jumps each week and compare them to the previous week and to the first session.
See you in the air!
Special thanks to Westfield High School, of Houston, Texas. Go Mustangs!