How to Jump

Three Methods:Jumping VerticallyLong-JumpingIncreasing Your Jumps

Even if you've been jumping since you were a kid, you need to learn the proper technique. Landing improperly can wreck your knees and eventually put you out of commission. You can learn the basics of jumping vertically and jumping horizontally, as well as some good tips for improving your hops. If you're interested in more specifics types of jumping, you can then read up on how to hurdle, increase your vertical jump or even jump onto a wall.

Method 1
Jumping Vertically

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    Take one or two preliminary steps. Even if you're going to jump straight up into the air, adding a couple of lateral steps into your jumping routine can help you put some extra hop in your step. The energy developed in those steps can help generate additional upward lift that can put an extra inch or two into a vertical leap.[1]
    • A vertical jump is highest off two feet. Use the power of both your legs to push off the ground, even if you're taking a few steps before you hop.
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    Drop into an imaginary chair. To get the most power out of your legs and the most height into your jump, you need to bend your knees. For many people, it's helpful to imagine sitting in an imaginary chair, just before you jump. Your feet should be about shoulder-width apart, and your hips should be flexed at 30 degrees, knees bent 60 degrees, ankles flexed 25 degrees in order to generate the most power without injuring your knees. You should be able to lift your toes up and down while sitting in this squat form, balancing on the balls of your feet.[2]
    • Be careful that your knees don't point inwards in a "knock-knee" position, with your toes pointed inward. Keep your knees as straight as possible, ideally positioned vertically over your toes.[3] Have your arms at your sides.
    • Keep your back very straight while you're jumping. Practice in front of a mirror dropping into the imaginary chair and keeping your back straight to avoid injury.
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    Push your body up with your legs. Spring off the balls of your feet, swinging your hands up into the air, towards the ceiling, for additional momentum. For some jumpers, it's effective to picture pushing through the floor, or trying to push the ground away from your body, trying to extend your legs with as much power as possible. The power and the height of your jump will come from the power you put into this step.
    • Properly done, your feet should roll forward, from your heels to your toes as you jump off. You should feel pressure on your heels moving up your feet towards your toes as you come back to a standing position, normally, and in a jump you'll do the same thing much more quickly. You must roll all the way to your toes when you are actually jumping.
    • Keep your arms parallel to each other and move them just behind your rear. Swing your arms forward while straightening your whole body, as though you were uncoiling a spring.
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    Breathe out as you leap. Just as when you lift weights when you're doing a rep, it's important to exhale while you're pushing off into a big vertical jump. While this might not necessarily help you jump higher, it's more comfortable and fluid to exhale as you approach the leap. Think of it as one big motion.
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    Land on the balls of your feet. To avoid landing hard and hurting yourself, it's important that you land on the balls of your feet and roll back onto your heels. Landing flat-footed is a good way to twist your ankle. When you land, you should take care to land in such a way as to keep the kinematic chain going in a single plane from the ball of your foot through your ankle into your knee and finally through your hip joint.
    • Bend your knees slightly before you end to soften the impact on your knees. Let your knees absorb the momentum, falling into a partial squat, not past 90 degrees, to absorb the shock. Straighten up from the squatting posture.
    • By bending your joints when you land, you transfer the force of landing into your muscles and tendons, which are built to absorb and dissipate force like this. You can even briefly store and release this energy elastically by propelling you into another jump.

Method 2

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    Practice your sprints. Long-jumping is a lot more like sprinting than it is like high-jumping. If you want to develop the distance of your jumps, you need to work on your speed. Practice wind-sprints, long distance running, and working on your short bursts of speed. Good long jumpers are fast runners.
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    Find your dominant foot. If you're going to work on your long jump, you'll leap off your dominant foot, the foot you feel most comfortable leaping from or kicking with. Usually, this will be the same foot on the side that you write with, but not necessarily. If you're not sure, take a soccer ball outside and kick it around a few times. Which side feels more comfortable? That's probably your dominant foot, and it'll be your plant foot for long jumps.
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    Only practice long-jumps in the appropriate track location. Long-jumping is usually done in a sand pit, and careful technique is necessary to avoid injury. Never attempt long-jumping using this form on the ground.
    • If you don't have access to a long-jump pit, you need to practice doing hops and landing on your feet. This is a great way of building up your distance and getting better long jumps later. It won't be time wasted working out.
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    Sprint to the take-off line. The take-off line should be clearly marked, beyond which will be the landing zone, where your jump will be marked. When you're long-jumping, it's important to take off as close to the line as possible to get the most out of your jump, but not to cross it, or your jump won't count. Watch the line closely, and plant your plant foot just on the right side of it.
    • Accelerate and continue powering to the take-off line. You need to be going as fast as possible when you reach the end of the running strip. It's your momentum that should carry you into the jump, less than your strength.
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    Take off. Plant your dominant foot on the right side of the line and focus on jumping as far forward as possible, thrusting your hips forward as much as possible. Let your momentum carry you up and over the line and into the landing pit as far as possible. Thrust your hips forward to carry you as far as possible.
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    Kick your arms and legs forward before the landing. As you feel the apex of your leap begin to pass and you feel yourself starting to come down, thrust your feet and your arms forward to prepare for the landing and to give yourself a few extra inches on your leap. The jump will be measured at the farthest point you touch from the take-off line, so sticking your feet out far in front of you is important.
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    Land as softly as possible. The landing isn't nearly as graceful as the take-off in a good long-jump. Your landing should be mostly dictated from proper take-off form, but you can keep yourself safe by keeping your knees flexed slightly, your ankles very straight, and not using your wrists to brace your fall. Let the sand do the work for you.

Method 3
Increasing Your Jumps

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    Get stronger. Technique and conditioning are the two most important parts of jumping. You must first know how to move your body correctly in order to achieve the motion. It is then necessary to train your muscles and joints to withstand the exertion you put on them as well as allowing them to assist you in jumps of greater distance. That means strength training, aerobic exercise, and flexibility.
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    Improve your flexibility with regular stretching. The athletes and dancers who can make the most powerful jumps are the ones with total body flexibility. If you're jumping over a hurdle, it helps to be able to swing your leading leg wherever you want it to go so that you can maximize the momentum of your jump.
    • The best jumpers have 3:2 strength ratio between their quadriceps and hamstrings, respectively. If you're not flexible, you tend to develop an imbalance of strength that will limit your ability to jump. Stretch regularly so you can increase and maintain flexibility in your ankles, knees, and hips.[4]
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    Strengthen your inner abs. Just because they don't make a six-pack doesn't mean you should neglect your inner abs (the transverse abdominal wall). They play a key role in every power movement, including jumping. To strengthen them, suck in your stomach with a deep breath, hold for 20 seconds, then release. Repeat 4 times, 3-4 times a week.[5]
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    Strengthen your dorsi-flexors. These muscles are used to decrease the angle between your foot and your leg (when you bring your toes closer to your shins). When you're jumping, you actually need to opposite motion (plantarflexion, the same motion as when you push down on the pedal when driving) to push off of the ground. So why strengthen your dorsi-flexors? Because each set of muscles is only as strong as its opposing set. Your ability to push your foot down will be limited by your ability to pull your foot up, because the dorsi-flexors act as stabilizers. One way to exercise your dorsi-flexors is to walk around on your heels, without letting the balls of your feet touch the ground, until you feel a good burn.[6]
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    Work out your toes. You might think that the only people who need to work out their toes are ballet dancers, but the fact is that your toes add to the pushing power of your feet. In a proper jump, they're the last part of your body to leave the ground, and a little extra push from your toes can improve the power of your jump. To strengthen you toes muscles, curl and uncurl your toes repeatedly, or push up onto your tip toes and hold for at least 10 seconds.[7]


  • Do not jump while sick, you may feel dizzy and fall and hurt yourself.
  • Choose footwear with adequate cushioning and support.
  • Don't get scared or hesitate. You can get hurt badly.
  • Wear outfits that stretch well so you don't get hurt as easily.


  • Don't over-do workouts. Jump training is about short, high quality efforts rather than long, low intensity work.
  • Do not lock your knees. Avoid high impact. Flexing the knees allows the leg muscles to act as shock absorbers.
  • Don't push yourself beyond the limit of safety. Pain is your body telling you to stop and you need to listen. If you're sore from a workout, that means you went beyond what your body's used to. When you're sore, you shouldn't push yourself. If the pain is severe, go to the doctor. You may have pulled a muscle or sprained something.
  • Be wary of advertised jump programs. Do your research before buying one. This is very important.
  • Also look before you leap--you can jump into someone or something dangerous.

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