Jump squats are a powerful exercise that combines the benefits of squats and plyometrics, resulting in improved strength, cardiovascular fitness, and athletic performance.
Many people think that jump squats are only necessary for people training for sports.
However, that is definitely not true.
As a professional basketball player, I certainly have a specific reason for doing jump squats, but that doesn’t mean I am the only type of person who they are useful for.
In this article, we will explore the benefits of jump squats and how to perform them properly.
If you want to check out a few of my favorite jump squat variations and learn how to do jump squats, check out this video:
Keep reading below to learn a few specific benefits of jump squats and how to use jump squats in your workout routine!
What Muscles Do Jump Squats Work?
Jump squats are a highly effective exercise that targets multiple muscle groups.
The primary muscles worked during jump squats are the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes, all located in the lower body.
The quadriceps are located on the front of the thigh and are responsible for extending the knee joint during the upward movement of a jump squat.
The hamstrings are located on the back of the thigh and are responsible for flexing the knee joint during the downward movement of a jump squat.
The glutes, or gluteus maximus muscles, are the largest muscles in the buttocks and are responsible for hip extension during the upward movement of a jump squat.
In addition to the lower body muscles, jump squats also engage the core muscles, including the rectus abdominis, obliques, and lower back muscles.
These muscles help to stabilize the spine and maintain proper form during the movement.
During the jump phase of bodyweight jump squats, the upper body muscles, including the deltoids, trapezius, and latissimus dorsi muscles, are also engaged.
These muscles help to lift the arms overhead during the jump, adding an additional challenge to the exercise and further increasing its effectiveness.
Benefits of Jump Squats – What Do Jump Squats Do?
Here are a few of the main jump squat benefits:
Increase Explosive Power
Jump squats are an incredibly effective exercise for building explosive power in the legs, making them a valuable addition to any workout routine.
While powerful legs are particularly beneficial for athletes, they also benefit anyone committed to exercising regularly.
In fact, the development of explosive power through jump squats can translate to other exercises, such as the back squat or deadlift, allowing individuals to lift more weight and achieve new personal records.
Additionally, adding jump squats to your routine can help break through weight-lifting plateaus.
When you perform the same exercises over and over again, your muscles can adapt and become accustomed to the workload, making it more difficult to continue making progress.
Incorporating jump squats into your workout routine can provide the necessary variation and challenge to overcome these plateaus and take your fitness goals to the next level.
Builds Lower Body Muscle Mass
Jump squats are an excellent exercise for building lower body strength, specifically targeting the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes.
The explosive movement required during jump squats helps to build muscle and increase muscle hypertrophy.
While jump squats are not generally considered a muscle-building exercise, research shows they can still be effective for building lower body muscle mass.
Many people do not typically perform “high rep” jump squats, where hypertrophy typically occurs.
Additionally, jump squats do not have a specific eccentric phase, where a lot of the muscle-building process occurs.
However, when you forcefully thrust yourself into the air during a jump squat, your leg muscles are forced to work at 100% capacity to jump as high as possible, which can still result in muscle growth.
Furthermore, jump squats can help to address muscular imbalances in the lower body.
Research suggests that when performing jump squats, the difference in force between the legs will be negligible, even if you have imbalances in your lower body.
To optimize muscle growth during jump squats, it’s recommended to use a small amount of weight.
This can produce a larger eccentric phase of the movement, which is beneficial for muscle building.
However, it’s important to note that using big weights during jump squats is unnecessary.
A study published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that weighted jump-squat training (WJST) produced greater inertia during the landing phase than body mass squat jump training (BMSJT).
This increased eccentric workload led to specific eccentric-like adaptations in muscle architecture, which may be beneficial for building muscle mass.
Additionally, the improved braking ability generated by the enhanced eccentric workload during WJST can lead to selective improvements in change of direction (COD).
While jump squats may not be the most well-known exercise for building muscle mass, they can still be effective when performed with proper form and technique.
Incorporating weight into jump squats can increase eccentric workload and result in specific adaptations in muscle architecture.
Improves Sprint Speed
Sprinting is a highly specific activity that requires a combination of power, speed, and agility.
If you want to improve your sprinting speed, incorporating jump squats into your workout routine may be a game-changer.
Research has shown that maximal concentric jump power is closely related to sprint acceleration, which means that building explosive power in the legs through jump squats can translate to improved sprinting speed.
In fact, a study published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology found that concentric force development is critical to sprint start performance, further emphasizing the importance of explosive power in the legs.
Another study published in Human Movement found that the height and power produced during the squat jump is the best predictor of sprinting speed.
Incorporating jump squats into your workout routine can help build explosive power in the legs, leading to improved sprinting speed and performance.
Helps You Jump Higher
As you can imagine, doing jump squats helps you jump higher.
If you want to increase your vertical jump, start doing more jump squats!
How to Do Jump Squats
To perform a jump squat, follow these steps:
- Begin by standing with feet shoulder-width apart.
- Lower into a squat position by bending at the knees and hips.
- As you lower down, engage your core and keep your back straight.
- Once you have reached the bottom of the squat position, explosively jump up, extending your arms overhead.
- Land softly back in the squat position and immediately repeat.
Can Anyone Do Jump Squats?
Jump squats are a high-impact exercise that may not be suitable for everyone.
If you have joint pain or mobility issues, speak with your healthcare provider before attempting jump squats.
Are Jump Squats Safe?
Jump squats can be safe when performed with proper form and technique.
However, if you experience any pain or discomfort, stop immediately and speak with a healthcare provider.
How Often Should You Do Jump Squats?
The frequency of jump squats will depend on your fitness level and goals.
However, it is recommended to perform jump squats 2-3 times per week as part of a well-rounded fitness routine.
Can Jump Squats Replace Traditional Squats?
Jump squats are a great addition to a fitness routine, but they should not replace traditional squats entirely.
Traditional squats can help to build strength and muscle mass, while jump squats focus more on power and explosiveness.
How Much Weight Should You Use?
Proper form and technique are crucial when performing jump squats to prevent injury and maximize the benefits of the exercise.
One lesser-known key to jump squats is keeping the weight light and fast.
While some individuals may be tempted to add weight to increase the intensity of the exercise, research has shown that this may actually decrease power output.
A study published in Sports Biomechanics found that system power output and joint power at the knee and ankle joints were maximized at 0% 1-RM (one-rep max) during jump squats.
This means that power output was significantly reduced as the weight was increased.
In other words, the researchers concluded that power output is optimized when using very light weights or even bodyweight only.
Therefore, it’s important to focus on explosive power and speed when performing jump squats, rather than the amount of weight used.
Jump squats are actually one of the best bodyweight exercises, as they require no equipment and can be done anywhere.
Bodyweight-only jump squats can be just as effective, if not more so, than heavy jump squats.
Using too heavy weight during jump squats can decrease power output, making it important to keep the weight light and focus on speed and explosiveness.
Concluding Thoughts – Jump Squats Benefits
As you can see, there are many advantages of adding jump squats to your current workout program.
Whether you want to jump higher, run faster, build stronger legs, or add lean muscle mass to your legs to help get an aesthetic body, jump squats are an effective exercise for you!