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FEB 29, 2024

Leap into Fitness with Dynamic Leap Year Exercises


Check out our host of jumping plyometrics to add to your exercise routine to mark the leap year.

Read time: 4 minutes

It’s a leap year everyone! That special time of year when those who are born on February 29th get to make a weird joke about only being 7, despite hurtling towards 30. And we all politely laugh while rolling our eyes. Or maybe that’s just me. Well, in the spirit of this calendar oddity, we thought we’d do something a little unusual. Let’s take a metaphorical leap and focus on a fitness routine that focuses on unique jumping exercises.

Plyometrics (jump training to you and me) offer a wide range of health benefits, from enhancing muscular strength and endurance to improving cardiovascular health and agility.

Squat Jumps

Targeted Areas

Quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, calves, and core.

How to Perform

  1. Starting Position: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes slightly turned out. Engage your core and keep your chest up.
  2. The Squat: Lower your body into a squat by bending your knees and pushing your hips back, as if sitting in an invisible chair. Keep your back straight and chest lifted.
  3. The Jump: Explosively jump upwards, extending your legs fully and pushing off with your toes. Swing your arms for momentum.
  4. Landing: Land softly back into the squat position, absorbing the impact through your legs.
  5. Repeat: Perform 3 sets of 10-15 jumps, resting for 30 seconds between sets.

Benefits

Squat jumps increase lower body strength, improve explosive power, and boost cardiovascular fitness.

Broad Jumps

Targeted Areas

Glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, and core.

How to Perform

  1. Starting Position: Stand with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent, and arms by your sides.
  2. Preparation: Lower into a half squat position, swinging your arms behind you.
  3. The Jump: Propel yourself forward, swinging your arms forward for momentum, and jump as far as possible.
  4. Landing: Land with your knees bent to absorb the impact, ideally landing on both feet at the same time.
  5. Repeat: Aim for 3 sets of 6-8 jumps, with a brief rest in between to recover.

Benefits

Broad jumps develop lower body strength, improve long jump technique, and enhance overall explosive power and balance.

Standing Long Jump

Targeted Areas

Quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, calves, and core muscles.

How to Perform

  1. Starting Position: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart at a marked starting line.
  2. Preparation: Bend your knees and push your hips back into a semi-squat position. Swing your arms back.
  3. The Jump: Swing your arms forward and upward, jumping forward as far as you can.
  4. Landing: Land with knees slightly bent to absorb the impact, aiming to keep your balance.
  5. Repeat: Conduct 3 sets of 5-7 jumps, resting between sets to maintain quality.

Benefits

This exercise enhances explosive power, improves balance, and increases the distance of your jump.

Jumping Lunges

Targeted Areas

Quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, calves, and core.

How to Perform

  1. Starting Position: Begin in a standard lunge position with one foot forward, both knees at 90 degrees.
  2. The Jump: Explosively jump up, switching your legs in mid-air to land with the opposite leg forward in a lunge position.
  3. Landing: Land softly with both knees bent in a lunge. Stabilize your posture before the next jump.
  4. Repeat: Alternate legs for 3 sets of 8-12 repetitions per leg, resting as needed.

Benefits

Jumping lunges improve muscular endurance, coordination, and balance, while also offering a cardiovascular workout.

Jump Rope Tips

And to shake things up a bit, let’s look at how to make jumping rope part of your routine. Because, let’s face it, it’s more than a classic playground game, it’s versatile exercise that can significantly enhance your leaping ability while improving cardiovascular health. So, here are some tips to get the most out of your jump rope sessions:

  • Choose the Right Rope: The rope should be of appropriate length. Stand on the middle of the rope and lift the handles; they should reach just under your armpits.
  • Focus on Form: Keep your elbows close to your sides, use your wrists to turn the rope, and maintain a straight posture.
  • Start Slow: Begin with a basic single jump and gradually increase speed as you become more comfortable.
  • Vary Your Routine: Incorporate different jumping styles, such as single-leg jumps, alternate-foot jumps, and double-unders, to challenge yourself and keep the workout interesting.
  • Practice Regularly: Consistency is key to improving your skill and endurance. Aim for shorter, more frequent sessions to build up gradually.

Indulge in the Novelty

Yeah, we’re having a bit of fun here, but the truth is that leg day can be more than just weight- based. There are so many interesting and novel ways to enhance and improve your lower body muscles. And having an extra day in the year feels like the perfect excuse to give them a try!

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Written by Matthew Stogdon

Matt has been writing for two decades, across print and digital media. He is also an accomplished filmmaker, with several accolades under his belt.

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