The split squat jump is a tremendous exercise to build power, muscles, coordination, and improve athletic performance. It may appeal to those with a more advanced level of training, but it can still be used by those just starting out.
Split squat jumps take some practice to master, but can be an effective part of any training routine. They are often used by competitive athletes to improve power and performance.
For the average trainer, they are a great way to add variation to your program, improve strength and muscle, and develop more explosive power. Split squat jumps can also help improve other lifts.
This will be a look at how to do a split squat jump, which muscles it works, and the benefits of performing them.
How to do the Split Squat Jump
Before any workout—and especially with a lower-body one—it’s important to prepare the body for exercise. A 5-10 minute warmup is important to get the heart rate up and get the blood flowing. Next, some dynamic stretching involving leg swings will also engage the muscles and get the blood flowing to the lower body.
Here are the cues to follow to perform an effective split squat jump:
- Start in the split squat position: one foot will be forward, but the knee shouldn’t lean out past the foot. One step forward should be comfortable. The back foot will be a full step behind you. Make sure to keep the feet pointing forward and not angled out at all.
- Keep your head up and pointing forward, and engage your core to keep it tight as you lower down to the starting position. The chest should be out and shoulders back. The back knee should not be touching the floor
- Drive upwards, pushing off the floor with both feet. Make sure that the hips drive up and not forward. As you come back down, make sure to lower under control and stop just before the back knee touches the ground
That’s one repetition. You can continue the set by doing your specific amount of reps on just that side, or alternate legs between each jump.
Key tips: Focus on exploding upwards on the jumping portion—imagine that you’re trying to push the Earth away from you as you drive upward. Make sure you exhale as you drive upward and inhale as you are coming back down. Drive the arms upward as you jump as this will help to lead the legs.
Split Squat Jump Muscles Worked
The split squat jump primarily uses the muscles of the lower body, but also provides some core engagement. As you keep your abs tight, your core has to keep the upright position of the upper body. This will help strengthen them and will also improve other full-body lifts such as squats and deadlifts.
The other primary muscles used include:
- Calf muscles
- Hip flexors
- Spinae erectors
- Adductor magnus
Split Squat Jump Benefits
As mentioned, the split squat jump helps to improve muscular coordination, power, strength, vertical jump, and stability. They also improve mobility because of the muscular coordination required. This has big applications for sports where the body is not in a stable position. Just picture kicking a football off balance, or taking a jump shot in basketball.
This unilateral focus is also important to improve power for exercises such as cycling, sprinting, and jumping. One study involving netball players found that the use of split squat jumps improved their postural control while moving and also improved their balance while running and moving.
One other enormous benefit is they can help protect the joints. Not only do you learn to use your muscle instead of favoring the joints and tendons, but split squat jumps build the muscle surrounding the knees to better support them.
They can help the average person by making everyday tasks easier, such as climbing the stairs, lifting heavy items off the ground, or just getting out of a seated position. Most people have one leg that’s dominant, and split squat jumps help to balance out strength and muscle through the lower body.
Split squat jumps are a powerful exercise. Average gym-goers, up to Olympic athletes, use them. They can be done anywhere and don’t require any equipment. You can add resistance by holding a pair of dumbbells, or a weighted vest, to make the exercise more challenging.
They take some practice to master, so be patient. Focus on your form and technique before you add in any resistance. Since most people have a dominant side, the first few times may be frustrating because of the imbalances in strength and muscle. If you stay consistent with them, this should balance out over time. Beginners may want to build up to the split squat jump by starting with regular split squats, lunges, and squats.
If done correctly, split squat jumps will probably not need any extra resistance as they provide a tremendous workout that not only