Jumping is a vital human movement skill. You don’t need to leap across large gaps or great heights, but a little bit of jumping will help your joints and bones build resiliency and responsiveness. This helps you react more quickly in an emergency, and the light impact of a jump helps develop a more complex bone matrix and muscle fibers. The framework within a bone as well as the direction and density of muscle fibers are developed when we receive a controlled impact. Without a bit of jumping in your life, you’re more likely to incur injuries and cultivate fragility in the bones, tendons and ligaments.
Obviously there is also the benefit of becoming more physically capable and adaptable to expand your movement potential and move more like a human being should be able to.
In this video we are looking at 3 ways to train jumping without any equipment. These three techniques include jumping horizontally across flat ground, jumping vertically into the air, and jumping up and rotating in the air, 180 or 360 degrees.
Leaping horizontally can include moving forward, backward, sideways or diagonal, so make sure you explore each directly. On flat ground, try not to bob up and down when you leap, only come up off the ground high enough to project your body. When landing on a balancing surface, you’ll want an arc in your jump to stick the landing easier, but on flat ground keeping the head level is a great way to build control in the motion. When leaping your max distance, landing in a deep squat will allow you to reach your feet out a bit farther and extend your jump more.
Leaping vertically here with the tuck jump is all about getting your feet up and in front of your body like getting into the “cobbler” pose or “butterfly” stretch in mid air. Getting the feet in front of the body instead of under the butt gets them out of the way when jumping onto or over an obstacle, which protects you from clipping your feet and increases the potential height you can clear by the length of your foot! Vertical leaps can also include jumping downward into a squat, as if someone suddenly swung a baseball bat at your head. You’re just pulling your legs out from under you and letting gravity yank you down.
Spiral leaping is a quick way to turn around, but this is more about control, proprioception in motion, and spatial awareness. Try to challenge yourself to land without losing your footing or stumbling, and when you can do that, start trying to land with your feet in the same place as they took off from. The more you can keep your spine vertical, the less you’ll pull yourself off balance. During this movement, your spine is the axis of the rotation, so if you lean or bend your back at all during the spin, your spine will “swivel” around your center of gravity and pull you off balance, so try and stay upright during the movement.
With these three categories of jumping, your body engages with the forward and backward forces, lateral forces, rotational forces and compressive forces, all of which strengthen the integrity of the bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, stimulate circulation in a big way, and cultivate responsiveness in the nervous system and proprioceptors.