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I Love Squat Jumps: Leg Shredder Workout

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By Jillian Teta

I think the squat jump is under-utilized. This is just my opinion of course, but the squat jump is one of the most functional, full-body exercises that you can do. It is essentially a full-body contraction, stimulating the release of both human growth hormone (HGH) and testosterone, two powerful anabolic hormones that help your burn fat and build lean muscle. HGH also has anti-aging properties (ahem!).

Like every other move out there, proper form is key to get the most “bang for your buck” from the exercise and to prevent injury as well, so you can continue with your kick-butt training.

To that end, I have enclosed a short video of proper squat jump form, taken by the lovely Tara Ballard (below). You’ll notice that as I jump up, my hands are swept down past my hips, palms facing backward, to help “push” me up. Don’t laugh – it will add more power to your move. I try to land as softly as I can on my feet, arms in front of me, and do it again. I find using this form enables me to really pack in quality jumps in a short period of time because it is biomechanically efficient.

With squat jumps, quality is far more important than quantity. It is far more beneficial to get in a few really explosive jumps than twice as many lackluster ones. You’ll notice in the video Tara times me, rather than counts down reps, for this very reason.

So now that we’ve had our lil’ pow-wow about how awesome squat jumps are, let’s talk about how to pepper them in to your workouts. It can be just that – a peppering – or, if you are having a “plyometric day”, squat jumps can be your mainstay.

For a nasty plyo workout, if you find yourself short on time, on the road (literally, like on a car trip), or in a hotel room with no equipment, or stuck in your house because a hurricane is coming through, try this:

Squat jumps 30 seconds
20 second rest
Repeat 4x
Then rest 1 minute and repeat four more times
As in, you will complete a total of 16 30-second rounds! You’ll be sore the next day :) You can throw in other plyo moves here if you find yourself getting tired of the squat jumps.

Squat jumps are a great addition to your leg day as well for that extra bit of burn and puketastic factor. Here is one of our favorite circuit-based leg workouts:

  • Step ups to bench, squat at the bottom, using heavy dumbbells.
  • Superset that with heavy walking lunges
  • Finish with 30 seconds of squat jumps
  • Repeat for 3-4 rounds.

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