3. The Jump Squat.
The third place in my body Weight list goes to the jump squat. Once again, we are talking about a simple exercise, one of the basic ones. We squat all the time, so squatting is a familiar motion for us, but as soon as we add a jump to the squat we create a deadly combination.
Through my experience as personal trainer and gym instructor, I got to respect and fear the jump squat, even more than the Burpees and the push-ups.
In fact the Burpees are really hard, but while your legs are in motion your arms are resting, which makes it doable...
The push ups are the kind of exercise you can or cannot do, as soon as the lactic acid has built up you just have to stop.
The jump squat is dynamic, explosive, concentric and shorter than the Burpee.
This means that, unlike the basic squat you are jumping, which is a demanding explosive movement, you then have to control the landing, squat down and repeat.
These motions are quite taxing on the legs muscles and the glutes. On top of that, being a short motion, you hardly have time to rest between reps unless you stop.
You end up building a lot of lactic acid, like when you were doing the push ups, but on top of that as you are using bigger muscles you also get out of breath.
In my classes and with my clients the jump squat is in any form always present.
To perform a jump squat:
1. You stand with your feet shoulder width apart (more or less), toes pointing forward or out (what feels better).
2. Your chest is up, your lower back straight ( neutral spine), your arms along your legs. You bend your knees keeping your feet flat on the ground, till you complete a full squat or your hand touch the floor.
3. Now, you jump up (few centimetres), bringing your arms above your head, reaching for the ceiling. Then, You repeat as many time as necessary.
What I like to do:
Variety and focus are a must, depending on what you try to achieve, you will change few things in the execution of the movement.
Power: I will execute the jump squat as explained above, nevertheless, I will jump as high as I can. After a set of 6-8 reps, I will give myself a 1-2" rest.
Strength endurance: I will, depending on the workout I am doing, do as many sets and reps as the workout requires. Generally, after 30-40 reps the lactic acid builds up, and from then on, I am obliged to stop every 10-15 reps.
Open-close squat: It is a variation I lately introduced in my workouts. I follow the steps 1, 2 and 3 but I start with my legs together and straight, then I jump into a wide squat "Sumo squat" and spring back to the initial position.
This variation places more emphasis on the gluteus and aloud to work on hips and groin flexibility.
The benefits of the Jump squat:
Muscle builders: Your body weight providing the resistance, the quads, the glutes and hamstrings are fired up. As calisthenics proves, we don't need weights to be ripped, toned and strong.
Increase in strength: As mentioned above the squat action followed by the explosive jump motion helps you become stronger and more powerful. One thing is to move some weight another is to do it fast. The definition of power is strength at speed, so jumping will increase your strength and power.
Improvement in ankles, knees and hip mobility as well as balance: The squat helps in building the hip joint mobility. When we jump ( the take off and landing) work our balance as well as our ankle and knee joints which have to work hard in order to cushion the landing and make it stable and safe.
Fat burner and mental toughness: The jump squat does not only work on your muscles and stamina, it also work on your mental toughness.
It provides an intense and "hard" workout, when the lactic acid builds up in your legs, it takes more than just fitness to keep on jumping. You need to fight the pain to make it happen..
They are Versatile and FREE...
Test yourself by performing 150 jump squat, tell us how you feel and how long it took you.
Give it a go.