Hops of various types.
Description:Hopping, specifically over objects.
Motions trained: Jumping.
Main muscles used:Legs, abs.
How to do it: Jump.
How to work up to it: Try hopping without anything, just bouncing.
Then bounce from side to side or back and forth (this also is a great little
way to warmup, since it ups your metabolism without requiring any sort of stretching.
Oh, it also gets you doing the basic movement for jumping rope, which you really
should investigate one of these days...)
Next, put a folded towel on the ground and hop over that in various directions. This
is just to get you practice at pulling your feet up a bit and if you land on it, no big
deal. Now practice pulling up your knees, as high as you can. This speeds up your leg motion
for landing. Now you can add some power by trying to get lower to the ground. Jumping
high is only partially about getting your body up in the air, and almost as much
about getting your legs tucked in. Think of those as separate things to practice.
Jumping rope is also very, very useful. Didn't I say that?
Ramping it up: When you jump. practice throwing in turns
of 90, 180, 270 and 360 degrees. Get a partner or other obstacle on the
ground and practice hopping over him. He can start out on his stomach then get up to
being on all fours. Try jumping with a 180 degree turn. You can also get a box
and jump up to the that and back down. Finally, you can hold a pair of dumbbells, but I
advise against doing anything other than straight jumps, so no obstacles, turns or
anything else like that because the torque on the knees is ferocious. All it
takes is getting your timing off once for a nasty spill.
Do's and don'ts: Watch your landing so that you always come down like a cat.
This means on the balls of your feet rather than on the heels. If there is any jarring,
practice just bouncing in place until you are sure you are landing well. The acid test
for a good landing is doing a few of these barefoot on a hard floor. Do not do this
as a regular part of practice or you will injure yourself! This is something to try
a few times if you are not quite sure how smooth your landing is, before you go back
to doing it on mats with shoes on.
Comments: Landing is one skill to practice since it will help you
avoid lower-body injuries.