There are many reasons why you should incorporate tuck jumps into your workout: they’re challenging, they torch calories, and boy, do they get your heart rate up fast. They’re also a great HIIT move to add to your circuits or to pair with other moves.
“The benefits of plyometric exercises are about maximum force production in the least amount of time, so the intensity is explosive and high,” explains Astrid Swan, celebrity trainer and Barry’s Bootcamp instructor in Los Angeles.
But if you’re doing tuck jumps with improper form, they can cause added strain on your knees and joints, setting you up for a few more rest days than you’d like. “Jumping in general can put stress on the body and doing them incorrectly puts more strain than usual. You want to protect the joints with proper form,” she says.
So before giving tuck jumps a go, here’s exactly how to do them without risking pain or injury.
WHAT TO DO:
“To perform a basic tuck jump, start in standing position, feet hip-width apart. Slightly bend your knees and extend arms out at shoulder height. Using the power from your legs, bend deeper and jump straight up lifting your knees to touch hands extended. Be sure to land softly and again with bent knees,” says Swan.
Avoid locking your knees when you’re landing. “If you lock your knees, you are not able to absorb the impact of the jump. Locking out the legs causes pain on your joints, and pain can turn into tears and breaks,” she says.
You should also try to avoid arching your back, which provides no core engagement and puts you at risk for lower back or hip injury . You should also be landing with your spine in a neutral position.
TUCK JUMP VARIATIONS
Once you’ve mastered the basic tuck jump, it’s time to get a little fancy with some more challenging variations:
1) A SINGLE-LEG TUCK JUMP
“Start and land on same foot while still bringing both knees up the chest/shoulder height for a tuck jump. Using a weighted vest can also challenge your tuck jump,” she says. (Plus, here are a few other single-leg moves to try to burn major calories.)
2) SPLIT LUNGES
You can also turn tuck jumps into split lunges. “Start in a low lunge position and explode up into tuck jump, then land into opposite side low lunge,” she says.
These moves are more challenging because you don’t have the assistance from that second leg for power, as you’re using all your weight to shoot up with one, single leg, instead. ”Like all tuck jumps, you are working your legs, quads, glutes, hamstrings, and calves, while also working your core,” she says.
Yes, plyo can be punishing, but once you’ve mastered this basic move, you’ll be airborne in no time. Happy jumping!
By Isadora Baum