Not only is this an excellent cardiovascular exercise, it also helps develop and improve lower body strength and power, as well as challenge dynamic stability and coordination. When done correctly, you will target the glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves. You will also engage muscles that stabilize the core and hips, those that are used for rotational movements and even improve ankle stability.
The jump lunge exercise targets:
- Hip flexors
- Core stability, particularly the transverse abdominus
This exercise can be modified by changing the speed at which you perform the transitions, the depth of each lunge, and the height of each jump. Power is generated during each push-off phase as you load the foot, ankles, knees and hips with body weight and then quickly drive upward during the transitions to the next lunge. The jump lunge also challenges coordination, balance and proprioception during the landing phase of each movement.
How to Do It
Prepare to Jump
- Stand in the ready position as pictured: one leg forward, one leg back.
- Hold your arms in a ready position as well: elbows bent at 90 degrees, and one arm in front of your body and the other arm back.
- Prepare to jump by bending your knees and sinking down into a deep lunge, lean slightly forward and contract your core muscles.
Initiate the jump
- Quickly sink your weight down and then explosively drive both feet into the floor and launch your body upward fully extending your knees and hips.
- As you jump into the air, bring your feet quickly together and switch positions as you begin to land. You should also switch arms as you do this.
Control the landing
- As you land, maintain a balanced foot position (your forward knee should be over your forward foot and not beyond).
- Attempt to land softly on the forward mid-foot and let your heel come in contact with the ground (avoid remaining on the toe of the forward foot).
- Keep your hips back, allow your hips and knees to bend deeply to absorb the landing.
- Don't lock the knees.
- Drop to a deep lunge position as you prepare to start the next jump lunge.
- Maintain core muscle engagement throughout the movement.
- Be sure to keep your forward heel in contact with the ground as you begin and end each lunge movement.
- Repeat the jump lunge movement for the duration of your exercise time. Aim for a few reps to begin and work up to a full 60 seconds.
- Stop if you lose balance or proper foot position, and start again more slowly.
Jump Lunge Tips for Beginners
It's important to master the standing lunge movement before launching yourself into the air. Once you can perform a basic lunge, it's helpful to practice this exercise with one small jump at a time to develop the appropriate balance and control before linking the lunges together. Focus on landing correctly on the forward foot with control and proper position.
If this is still too difficult, go back to basics and practice the Walking Lunge Exercise until you develop lower body strength and control.
It's also helpful to learn how to do a basic tuck jump landing before attempting an alternating jump lunge landing. The basic tuck jump can help you learn how to land softly and with control. It also helps reinforce good body mechanics at the hip, knee, and ankle. Once you have good hip mobility and control, the landing of the jump lunge will be much easier. Still, always begin small jumps, maintain good landing position and body mechanics, and them add more explosive and powerful jump lunges.