Jump Squats – Bodyweight Cardio Exercise Guide with Photos

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Muscles Targeted: The jump squat is an excellent body weight exercise for increasing strength and explosive power in the large muscles of your lower body. This exercise mainly targets the quadriceps, hamstrings, calves and glutes (butt). If you want to increase your vertical jump for sports like basketball, then incorporating this exercise into your workout routine is highly recommended. You can also implement jump squats as a finishing exercise at the end of your leg workout to really burn out your legs.

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Jump Squats


Exercise Instructions: To begin this exercise, get into an athletic stance with your feet positioned a little wider than shoulder width apart and your feet pointed slightly outward. You can either leave your arms hanging down to your sides, if that is more comfortable for you, or you can place your hands at about chest level with your elbows bent at about 90 degrees. Placing your arms and hands in this position is more of an athletic position and is very similar to a football or basketball stance. With your body in the “ready” postilion, squat down as far as you can go. Your own level of flexibility will dictate how low you can go on the squat portion. Focus on keeping your feet and knees pointed outward a little. As you squat down, keep your back flat with your chest out and your shoulders back. From the bottom squat position, extend your legs and explode up by jumping as high as possible while raising your arms and hands overhead. As you come down to the ground, immediately go back into the squat position and repeat the exercise for your desired number of repetitions.

Why This Exercise is Important: Jump squats are important because they increase size, strength and power in your lower body. This is a great exercise because you don’t need any type of expensive equipment or machines to achieve a great leg workout. If you want to tone and tighten your quadriceps and glutes then adding this movement to your workout routine will benefit you greatly. If you play sports like basketball, football or soccer, then jump squats will be beneficial because your explosive power and quickness will be increased. The other benefit of this exercise is the calorie burning effects you will receive when adding jump squats into your workouts. By targeting the larger muscles in your lower body, you will increase the number of calories burned which will help you burn fat faster.

Things To Avoid: There are a few things you need to be aware of when performing jump squats. The biggest thing is the safety of your knees and ankles since this is a high impact exercise. Make sure to always have a slight bend in your knees when executing this movement. Avoid keeping your legs straight when you land on the ground after the jump portion of the exercise. This will add extra pressure and tension directly on the knees and this could cause injury. Keeping a bend in your knees will ensure the majority of the pressure is placed directly on your quadriceps versus your knees. When squatting down into the bottom position, do not allow your knees to point inwards and “collapse” in. They need to be pointed slightly outwards. Also, make sure to go low enough in order to recruit the important muscles of your quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes. If you only bend your knees slightly while squatting down you will not be able to get the most out of this exercise. Squat down as low as you can comfortably go and then explode up. It’s important to be under control during the jump portion of the movement. You want to explode as high as possible but make sure you are always in control to avoid injuries.

Reps and Sets: For beginners, focus on 10-15 reps of jump squats for 2-3 sets. Advanced individuals can go as high as 40-50 reps per set. You can also use a timer or stopwatch and do intervals for a set amount of time like 30 or 60 seconds and even longer. Do as many jump squats as possible in the allotted amount of time. Check out our entire exercise guides database for exclusive access to over 500 muscle building and fat burning exercises!

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