Jumping, hopping and bounding are great for training lower body power and stability. When performing these movements you’re teaching your body 1) how to generate power from both a single leg stance and a symmetrical stance and 2) how to stabilize your lower body in a dynamic situation. Both are very important qualities to possess from both a health and performance standpoint.
Just going into the gym and doing a bunch of hopping and jumping without a plan is a surefire way to end up injured though. When hopping and jumping there is a huge amount of force being generated and absorbed by your body so you have to progress these movements in a way that allows your tissues to adapt so they are better prepared for the stress. Here’s how we progress jumps, hops and bounds at Absolute Performance.
Jump/Hop/Bound and Stick
The first step is teaching the body to properly absorb the eccentric landing force. In this initial phase we teach our clients and athletes to stick their landings and stabilize for 2 seconds before going into the next jump/hop/bound. It’s important to land on your toes and land softly.
Jump/Hop/Bound with Double Contact
After learning how to slow down and stabilize the force of your body, we want to teach you how to begin to quickly reapply force so that you can go directly into another jump/hop/bound. During this phase we add a mini-bounce during the landing. You’ll land, use the small bounce to orient your body and when you land the second time you’ll go directly into the next jump/hop/bound.
Now that you’ve spent time teaching your body to absorb force and then how to reapply it, it’s time to piece those two together into a true “plyometric” exercise. During this phase, you’re going to spend as little time as possible on the ground between each jump, hop and bound. You’re going to quickly absorb the landing force and reapply it into another jump/hop/bound.
A hop starts on a single leg and lands on the same leg. In our program, we perform linear, lateral and medial hops.
A jump starts on two legs and lands on two legs. We usually just perform linear jumps but on occasion will jump laterally – the progression is the same.
A bound starts on one leg and lands on the other leg. We generally just perform lateral bounds with our athletes.
Key Coaching Points for Hops, Jumps and Bounds
- Start and end in an athletic position. Knees and hips flexed and chest tall.
- Knees should track your middle toe. Don’t allow the knee to cave in during the landing.
- Land softly and quietly, with the ball of your foot hitting the ground first.