Another great exercise for the legs and your cardiovascular system is Squat Jumps or Jump Squats. This plyometric and compound exercise is multifunctional and stimulates numerous muscles.
Below we’ll look deeper into squat jumps and cover the following topics :
- Muscles involved in squat jumps
- Benefits associated with jump squats
- How to properly do squat jumps
- Common mistakes when performing squat jumps
- Lower body exercises to complete your leg workout
- Video on how to do squat jumps
What Muscles Do Squat Jumps Work?
This exercise engages most muscles in your lower body:
- Quadriceps or Quads: This large muscle group is located on the front of the thigh, the front & sides of the femur. It’s composed of four muscles (rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, and vastus intermedius). The origin of the name, quad, means four – hence quadricep (four-headed muscle). The quadriceps are knee extensors and hip flexors – essential for in walking, running, jumping, and squatting. They, also, help to stabilize the patella and knee joint.
- Gluteal Muscles (buttocks): These muscles are involved in the extension, abduction, and rotation of the hip joint. They also help keep the body erect and assist human locomotion (running, jumping, sprinting, etc).
- Hamstrings: Located on the posterior thigh in between the hip and the knee, and are composed of three muscle groups (semitendinosus, semimembranosus, and biceps femoris – long and short heads). These muscles are antagonists to the quadriceps and are involved in hip and knee movements. They participate in the deceleration of knee extension and help flex the knee and extend the hips. They are essential for daily movement (walking), speed (running), and deceleration (stopping movement).
- Core Muscles: The erector spinae (set of muscles that run vertically along the side of the vertebral column, originating at the hip and extending up to the skull. They help rotate and extend the spine and neck) and abs (muscles in the abdominal wall: rectus abdominis, obliques, transverse abdominal) make up the core muscles.
- Gastrocnemius: Superficial two-headed muscles that are in the back part of the lower leg, forming the calves. They flex the foot at the ankle joint and the leg at the knee joint. They are involved in fast movements such as running and jumping.
Benefits of Squat Jumps
- Heart Health: Jump squats’ rapid movement keeps your heart highly engaged, accelerating your heart rate:
- Hypertrophy: As with any other squat movement, squat jumps promote an anabolic environment, helping you to build leg and glute muscles.
- Aesthetics: They help you get a rounded firm booty.
- Fat Loss: Working out several muscles while accelerating your heart rate helps you burn more calories and lose body fat.
- Strength & Power: These jumps work your lower body intensely, making your legs strong and powerful.
- Mobility & Agility: The wide range of motion involved enhances mobility, keeping you more agile as you age.
- Balance: Jumping forces you to work on your balance, which helps prevent falls and further injury.
- Core: Squat Jumps highly engage your abs, which help stabilize you throughout the movement resulting in a stronger leaner core, and translating into better posture.
- Sports Performance: This great lower body exercise enhances overall performance, allowing you to jump higher and run faster.
- Circulatory Health: Jump squats facilitate circulation, helping to deliver nutrients to tissues and organs and remove waste.
- Overall Wellbeing: Squat jumps help prevent disease by working your cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems simultaneously, and keep you mentally healthy by boosting your mood and confidence.
How to Perform Jump Squats
- Stand tall with your back straight, chest open, shoulders back, and core tight
- Position your feet shoulder-width apart or slightly wider and pointed outwardly about 15 degrees
- Look straight ahead and squat down, moving your butt backward as if you are about to sit
- Keep descending as you inhale until your upper thighs are parallel to the floor or lower
- Press down with the ball of your feet and jump straight up in the air as high as possible, using the thighs like springs. Exhale during this portion of the movement
- Immediately squat down and jump again
*️⃣ If you want to challenge your endurance and cardiovascular system more, you should perform this exercise faster and for longer periods of time.
*️⃣ If you want to increase your lower body power and challenge yourself more, you should add some resistance. You can rest a barbell on your shoulders or hold dumbbells or a medicine ball while you jump. You can also wear a weighted vest or ankle weights. With this approach, you don’t do as many repetitions but you exhaust your legs more.
Jump Squats’ Mistakes
Now that you know how to perform jump squats, pay attention to your form so you can avoid the most common mistakes associated with this exercise:
- Overstressing your knees: Your knees shouldn’t pass your toes as you squat down. Pushing your hips back as you squat down helps avoid unnecessary pressure on your knees.
- Keeping your glutes in a neutral position: You should move your booty back as you descend in order to activate your gluteal muscles and engage more muscles.
- Rounding your back and shoulders: Keep your chest open and shoulders back to help keep your back straight.
- Having your knees caving inward as you descend down: This is referred to as knee valgus. You avoid that by keeping your knees angled slightly outward instead of inward.
- Doing half squats: You should perform the squat’s full range of motion. Stopping the movement before hitting the full bottom of the position doesn’t allow you to reap the full benefits of the exercise.
- Being careless: Even though is a jump, make sure to land in a controlled manner with your feet straight in order to avoid straining your ligaments.
🛑 Caution: Do not perform this movement if you are suffering from a knee or back injury since this is a challenging high-impact exercise.
Squat Jumps Video
You can incorporate jump squats in your lower body workout by adding them to your leg routine. Here are more leg exercises:
Additionally, you can incorporate plyometric exercises into your routine such as:
- reverse lunge with knee hops
- plyo lunges (or jumping lunges)
- horizontal jumps
- judo rolls with jump
- start jumps
- kneeling jump squats
- plyo spider lunges
- plyo pushups
- tuck jumps
- single-leg deadlift jumps
As you can see, the jump squat is a wonderful plyometric exercise. It offers numerous benefits associated with hypertrophy, improved strength, athleticism, and muscle endurance. Now that you know the correct form to properly perform jump squats, you can avoid the most common mistakes associated with this exercise and complement your bicep workout.
Remember, whether you want to lose weight, tone your body, gain strength, or increase muscle size, all muscles must be trained – Lift, Burn more Fat, Get Stronger, and Live Healthier!
To a Fitter Healthier You,
The Fitness Wellness Mentor