What are Jump Squats?
The jump squat is a compound lower body exercise that develops explosive power, especially in your quads, glutes, and hamstrings. This is a form of plyometric training where it trains your muscles to produce power, which is a combination of strength and speed. Moreover, it will improve your balance and agility.
An empirical study has found that a training volume of <10 weeks, with 18 sessions, using high intensities with greater than 90 jumps per session is a strategy that will maximize an athlete’s ability to acquiring significant developments in performance. Jump squats can improve several athletic performances.
Asignificant improvement in sprint time with the greatest developments during the acceleration phase of sprint running over distances from 5 to 30 meters in adolescents and 40 meters in junior soccer players. Moreover, improvements of 0.5.0.7 seconds have also been seen in agility trials. This development is crucial for scoring points and winning the game in competitive sports.
What Muscles do Jump Squats work?
Your lower body muscles contain some of your biggest and most powerful muscles. Jump squats will help to strengthen and tone these muscles. The primary muscles worked are the glutes, quadriceps, and hamstrings. The secondary muscles worked are the adductors, hip flexors, calves, and abdominals.
What Level are Jump Squats?
This exercise is for intermediate level or above as it is a progression from the traditional bodyweight squat, therefore, you will have to be comfortable performing them before moving onto this exercise. However, beginners are also welcome to try it, and if it proves to be challenging you can regress to bodyweight squats.
How to do Jump Squats?
1. Stand Tall
Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart, and toes pointing slightly outwards. Place your arms are by your sides.
2. Lower Down
Inhale as you lower down into a squat by pushing your hips back and bending your knees as if you are going to sit up a chair. Engage your core throughout the entire movement. Lower down until your thighs are parallel to the ground, or go lower if your flexibility permits you. Bring your hands out in front to counterbalance.
3. Explosively Push Back Up
Exhale as you jump off the ground as high as you can by pushing through the balls of your feet. Extending through the legs, with your feet being a few inches off the floor. Slice your hands backward to assist with momentum.
4. Land Safely
Land on the ground into a squat position to cushion the fall. You will land on your toes, following by bending your knees.
Repeat this movement for a desired number of repetitions (see in the recommended reps and sets ranges below).
Jump Squats Workout
- Beginners to this exercise should perform 5-10 reps, for 4 sets, 3 times a week.
- Intermediate level athletes should perform 11-20 reps, for 4 sets, 3 times a week.
- Advanced level athletes should perform 20+ reps or more for 4 sets, 3 times a week.
You should move on to harder variations once you have achieved your reps and set goals.
Goblet Squat Benefits
Burns More Calories
The jump squat is a high-intensity compound movement as it is performed a little faster which will tend to fatigue your body more. It will get your heart rate pumping, which adds more cardio components to your workout, therefore, it’ll more calories
Enhance Athletic Ability and Strength
If you participate in any sporting activities that require you to maneuver around, jumping squats are great to develop your speed and explosive strength. For example, the use of jump squats could be a secure strategy for increasing speed ability in soccer players. This would also apply to other team sports, such as football, basketball, etc.
Jump squats will give your legs mechanical damage and metabolic fatigue, which means more tension in your muscles, which include your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, adductors, and hip flexors. This is a great way to develop hypertrophy in these muscles
Develop Core Strength
Jump squats will require a significant core activation to stabilize your body during the movement to maintain your lumbar spine in a neutral position. A strong core will improve your posture, reduces lower back pain, and improve your balance.
Jump Squats Variations
Weighted Jump Squats
This variation is a progression to bodyweight jump squats, which is an excellent way to further develop leg strength. It will enable you to utilize an explosive force through your legs, along with developing your grip strength. You will require a pair of dumbbells. To perform this, you will:
- Stand tall with feet shoulder-width apart, and toes pointed slightly outwards. Hold a pair of dumbbells in your hands (start with a lower weight and gradually build up).
- Inhale as you squat down by first bending the hips, followed by the knees. Engage your core throughout this movement to keep your torso upright. Keep the weight as close to the legs as you can, and lower down until your thighs are parallel to the ground.
- Exhale as you explode upwards as fast and as high you can, straightening your legs and jumping into the air. Your arms should remain straight and rigid by your sides.
- Safely land, first on your toes whilst simultaneously bending both knees to cushion the landing.
- Repeat this movement between 5-14 reps for 4 sets.
Tabata Jump Squats
Tabata jump squats is a four-minute, high-intensity training that will feel like one of the longest 4 minutes you have ever endured. Tabata training was uncovered by a Japanese scientist Dr. Izumi Tabata, along with a team of scientists from the Nationtional Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo. This training method has found benefits in developing both aerobic and anaerobic systems. The structure of the program is as follows.
- Perform as many jump squats reps as possible during a 20 second work period
- Rest for 10 seconds of rest
- Repeat this for 8 sets
- 4 minutes workout in total
Your goal is to be able to perform 5 rounds of Tabata jump squats, this will be a total of 20 minutes workout.
Bulgarian Jump Squats
Bulgarian jump squats are great for increasing your speed and power, especially in your vertical jump. This is a unilateral training, which means you will train a single leg at a time. Doing this will correct any muscle imbalances you may have in your lower body. To perform this, you will:
- Stand tall with your front foot about 4 feet in front, and the rearfoot on an elevated surface such as a bench, chair, or a plyometric box. This is your starting position.
- Inhale as you lower your body down until your front thigh is parallel to the ground. Engage your core to keep your torso upright.
- Exhale as you explosively push through the heel of your front foot to vertically lift your feet off the ground.
- Land at the bottom position of the Bulgarian squat by bending the front knee to cushion to landing.
- Repeat this movement between 5-15 reps on each leg for 4 sets. Practice on both legs in a single set.
Split Jump Squats
The split jump squat is another great unilateral exercise that is often used by competitive athletes to develop strength, power, flexibility, and balance. Since you are working on one side of the body at a time, it can cause you to become unbalanced, which forces your core muscles to be actively engaged to avoid falling. To perform this, you will:
- Place your front foot about 4 feet in front of your rear foot, with both knees being slightly bent. Your core is engaged to keep the torso upright, and your toes are pointing forward. This is your starting position.
- Inhale as you lower your body down until your front thigh is parallel to the ground, and your rear knee is 1-2 inches above the ground. Engage your core throughout this movement.
- Exhale as you explode up and vertically jump into the air, extending your legs and swinging your arms back to assist with the momentum. Switch your back leg forward, and lunge back with the other leg. You can also land on the same front foot, and rearfoot, rather than switching them in mid-air.
- Land softly into a deep lunge, with legs, switched in positions. Land first on your toes followed by bending both knees to cushion the fall.
- Repeat this movement between 6-20 reps for 4 sets.
All Lower Body Exercises
I’m Pat Chadwick, a qualified Level 2 and Level 3 calisthenics coach and athlete from London, England, with six years of experience. I’ve competed in various UK competitions, including the Kalos Stenos Championships, where I achieved third place in the lightweight category. My passion is highlighting the beauty of calisthenics as an authentic and pure form of body expression. I believe that everyone has the potential to become a champion of their body and mind, and that calisthenics opens the door to personal empowerment.