Running and jumping can go hand-in-hand with training for any type of race. If you’re trying to improve your running endurance or speed, including jumps in your cross training or pre-run routine has the potential to make a difference.
Is jumping good for running?
Jumping provides a variety of benefits for the muscular and skeletal systems. Regularly including jumps can increase your power on the run, making your stride more efficient. In addition, some runners notice endurance benefits such as being able to kick it into high gear near the finish of a race or tough workout more easily.
While running and jumping might seem like a strange combination, incorporating both in your training will help improve your all-around fitness, resulting in better performance on the run.
Benefits of Jumping for Runners
There are many physical benefits that come from jumping. Jumping is involved in most plyometric exercises, which help improve your body’s overall resilience. Whether you complete running jumps on their own or as part of a HIIT workout, they provide a wide variety of benefits for runners. Here are just a few.
- Strengthens and tones leg muscles
- Promotes good balance
- Activates full body muscles to help avoid imbalances
- Burns more calories than other forms of cross training
- Improves bone density to reduce risk of stress fractures
- Can help increase metabolism
- Requires only bodyweight to complete
These are just some of the benefits that come from jumping. While jumping burns a similar number of calories as other plyometric exercises, it is one of the most effective when it comes to improving bone density and toning lower body muscles.
Combining running and jumping doesn’t have to involve a lot of time or planning. Simply incorporating 10-15 minutes of running jumps each week on a cross training day is all it takes to benefit from this powerful plyometric exercise.
Tips for Running Jumps
If you’re ready to add some jumping to your training plan, you’ll probably be surprised to discover how little time or effort is needed for success. However, in order to maximize the benefits of running and jumping, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind.
- Fewer jumps with proper form are better than more poor-quality jumps
- Save jumping for a cross training or easy day
- Stay consistent with your jumping routine
- Find a style or jumping workout you enjoy
- Take the time to learn proper form and posture
When you first begin adding jumping into your running routine, you’ll want to take things slow and focus on learning proper form. As you get more comfortable and confident with jumping, you’ll be able to complete more repetitions or vary the style of jumps you complete.
Stay consistent, even if that means starting out with just 1-2 jumps per week. Continue to practice those running jumps and gradually build on your foundation. Here are 5 jumping exercises that will improve your running, and are perfect for beginners.
5 Jumping Exercises to Improve Your Running
These 5 exercises are a perfect place to start if you’re hoping to combine running and jumping. Each exercise requires nothing other than your bodyweight, and very little time out of training.
Try these jumps to improve your running in many different ways.
Jump from Squat
This is an incredibly effective exercise for running and jumping, as it engages and utilizes all of the lower body muscles. Jump squats help build strength in the feet, ankles, calves, shins, hamstrings, quads and glutes, all while enforcing full body balance.
Stand with your feet about hip width distance apart. Lower down into a squat position as if you were about to sit on a chair, bending the knees. Next, straighten your legs to jump into the air, landing with feet back in their original position.
If you’re wanting to incorporate running jumps, one of the most challenging – yet beneficial – exercises you could try is a box jump. This exercise strengthens the small stabilizing muscles which frequently develop imbalances and become inactive while running.
You will need a sturdy stool, box, chair or step for this exercise. Position yourself about a foot in front of the box, with your feet spread slightly. Bend at the knees to gain momentum, and jump high into the air, bringing your knees up to your chest and propelling your body forward to land on the box with both feet.
Box jumps can be incredibly challenging, both mentally and physically. If you are struggling in the beginning, start by jumping onto a slightly elevated surface. As you gain confidence, you can increase the height.
This jump exercise is similar to a squat jump, but utilizes a different plane of motion. You’ll strengthen all of the lower body muscles, engage your core and improve your balance as you complete a broad jump.
Begin with feet spread about hip width distance apart. Lower down into a squat position, and this time, jump forward without straightening. Land in the same squat position, just slightly in front of where you started. Test your body to see how far forward you can land without straightening your legs to jump.
A lateral jump is a great compliment for any training routine, as it utilizes the opposite plane of motion as running. To reap the benefits of running and jumping, you’ll want to incorporate some lateral jumps. Lateral jumps work lower body muscles, but engage them in a different way than running. This helps strengthen your muscles and prevent injury in the future.
You can choose to complete lateral jumps on either one foot or two feet. Begin with your feet spread slightly apart, and jump directly to your right.
You’ll either push your right foot out to the side to land with your feet spread apart, or jump both feet into the air to land your entire body to the right of where you started. Complete in the opposite direction as well.
A simple, yet beneficial, exercise to try when you’re just getting started combining running and jumping is the continuous jump. This type of jump is really beneficial for your lower leg muscles, such as the calf, shin, ankle and foot. You’ll strengthen and stabilize these muscles while also testing your balance.
To complete a continuous jump, also referred to as a hop, you’ll stand with both feet together. Jump slightly into the air, landing with your feet back in their original position, and continue to repeat.
These running jumps are an easy, quick, accessible way to improve your running that is surprisingly efficient. Adding some elements to your training that don’t involve the actual act of running can sometimes be even more effective than trying to up the intensity of an actual run.
Try adding some, or all, of these jumping exercises to your training plan and see how your running improves!