When I ask my clients which body part they’d like to work on first, the answer comes like it was shot out of a canon: butt and legs, of course. This is especially true around this time of the year, what with all the miniskirts, short-shorts and leg-baring bathing suits everywhere you look.
Since our glutes and legs are among the largest muscle groups of our bodies, it's important to give them some extra attention. The more muscles you have, the more calories you’re going to burn. And that's exactly what we are looking for, right?
Besides the power squat, I consider the split jump to be one of the most effective leg exercises I regularly use with my clients.
I'm a huge fan of efficient and effective body-weight exercises, so I'm totally in love with this compound exercise. You're not only working your hamstrings and quadriceps, but your calves, glutes and core as well. The split jump is based on the lunge exercise, and is a so-called plyometric move, which incorporates jumping and leaving the ground.
Here’s how to do it:
1. Make sure you're properly warmed up. Any move that brings your heart rate up is fine; I like to jump five minutes with the rope before I start.
2. Start in a lunge stance position. Extend the right leg behind the body with the knee almost touching the ground and the heel off the floor. Bend the right leg to the front and make sure that the knee is in alignment with the toes.
3. Engage your core and pull your shoulder blades back and down.
4. Push off the bottom of both feet into a jump.
5. In midair, you switch the position of your feet and land in a basic lunge with your left leg in front.
6. Repeat without rest.
More the visual type? Check out my video below for guidance.
Be sure to start this exercise slowly to perfect the form first and to get used to the movement. It’s crucial that you keep your core engaged; otherwise you’ll risk a shaky landing, which would put too much pressure on your knees.
If the jumping part seems too strenuous for you, simply start with the basic lunge to build up your muscles first. From a standing position step forward with your right foot, make sure that your knee doesn’t go over your toe line. Keep your back straight and slightly lift your left heel off the ground. Pause in this position for around five seconds and repeat with the left leg. Start with two sets of 16 repetitions, three times per week.
Awesome, now you know every dirty little detail about the split jump, but how do you start?
The split jump is a really intense exercise, so I wouldn’t recommend doing them more than three times a week, because your muscles need time to recover in between. Start with two sets of 15 repetitions and work yourself up to 40 or 50 reps.