Strength Basics

Getting stronger, fitter, and healthier by sticking to the basics. It's not rocket science, it's doing the simple stuff the right way. Strength-Basics updates every Monday, plus extra posts during the week.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


One simple, and often overlooked bodyweight exercise is the standing long jump.

All you really need is a place to land and a way to measure the results.

Jumping: Bring both your arms over your head. Then while bringing them down fast, come down into a quarter-squat, with your hips back and your knees bent. Your arms will come down to your sides and then behind you. This arm-and-squat action will trigger your stretch reflex. Then, jump forward, bringing your arms up and pulling your knees to your chest.

Landing: Try to avoid jumping onto a surface that is hard, slippery, too springy (like a trampoline), or unsecure (like a loose rug). You want something soft enough to help absorb the impact. Wrestling mats, sand pits at your local track (designed for this use!), and You don't want to land awkwardly, which could result in injury to your knees, ankles, or hands (when you fall!)

Simple jump, and count the maximum distance from the edge of the starting line to the heel of the rearmost foot. Don't count jumps where you fall. You can compare your distances here.

You can program these any way you like. I've done 8 sets of 3, 5 sets of 5, and 10 sets of 1, with a minute in between. Place these first in your workout - do your power exercises before strength or endurance. Doing explosive exercises when you are tired is generally counter-productive. You won't be able to jump as far or as hard, and you won't get as much benefit out of it.

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