It might not be the first move that comes to mind when we think about fitness, but tuck jumps are the exercise when we’re talking about true athleticism. These elastic jumps help us build explosive power and springiness by training plyometric actions in our muscles and elastic recoil in our fascia.
Because the tuck jump relies on elasticity in our connective tissue and joints, it’s not the best starting move if you’re not used to jumps. Beginners should build strength, as well as mobility and agility with gentler jumps first, like hopping off a low step or box.
- Think springy: This move is all about using elastic recoil. Think Tigger. Or Elastigirl.
- Attack the ground: It might seem counterintuitive, but the energy that fuels multiple jumps actually comes from the force of our feet hitting the ground. The harder we land, the higher we’ll leap if we can really explode out of it.
- Don’t hunch: You want to keep a nice long spine and then stay pretty quiet in your upper body. Too much moving up top wastes energy that we should be putting into our jumps!
Master this: Tuck Jump
- Set your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Start with a few little hops that get higher and higher.
- Once you’re feeling bouncy, jump high and drive your knees up toward your chest.
- As you descend, prepare to land and instantly leave the ground again.
- Try to land and take off from the same place every time.
Make it easier: Try vertical jumps without the tuck, one at a time. As you feel more comfortable, add more jumps and then the tuck.
Make it harder: Make it a traveling tuck jump by moving forward with each jump.
Make it even harder: Move side to side with each jump.
Photo and video credit: Mark Kuroda, kurodastudios.com
Model: Brandon Garcia, Fitness Manager at 24 Hour Fitness