The next time you’re getting ready to do squats, try adding a few sets of jump squats to your warm-up. You might find you’re able to add more weight to the bar than usual.
“It’s a plyometric movement that’s meant to prime your nervous system for a bigger core lift,” says Peter Jenkins, director of personal training at Blink Fitness.
Watch the video above to see Jenkins perform the jump squat, which he recommends doing before big lifts like the front squat or back squat.
It’s important to note that your form for the jump squat will be slightly different from that of a barbell squat or even a body-weight air squat.
“You don’t have to do a full squat with these,” Jenkins says. “It’s probably down to a quarter, or maybe a half.”
You’ll also take a slightly narrower stance with your feet than you usually would—approximately shoulder-width apart.
Just because you’re not performing a full-depth squat, that doesn’t mean you should be taking it easy. This is an explosive movement intended to wake up your nervous system, pick up your heart rate, and prepare your body for the intensity that comes with heavy compound lifts. Just be sure to keep good form in mind throughout.
“You really want to work on absorbing that landing,” Jenkins says.
Ready to give these a try? Jenkins recommends going for three sets of 10, either before your big lifts or at the end of a workout to torch some extra calories.
By Dean Stattmann