If done correctly, the tuck jump is a powerful, calorie-burning, and strength-developing exercise. Here is everything you should know about it.
In this article:
- What are Tuck Jumps?
- How to Do Tuck Jumps Correctly
- Tips on Performing Tuck Jump Exercises
- Tuck Jump Variations
What are Tuck Jumps?
Otherwise known as a knee tuck jump or knee-to-chest jump, the tuck jump is an advanced plyometric exercise that uses powerful and fast movements.
Plyometric Exercise Definition: Plyometric exercises, also known as jump training or simply plyos, are movements that force the muscles to move with as much effort in as little time as possible. They aim to increase overall power by using rapid and explosive movements.
The tuck jump mainly works the quads, but it also engages the hamstrings, calves, and glutes.
It helps improve power and agility. It also helps increase the rate of muscle contraction and improve overall athletic performance.
Because of the exercise’s demand for high amounts of energy, the tuck jump is an excellent exercise for torching fat. Often, the movement is integrated into high-intensity interval training workouts (HIIT) for its ability to burn more calories in less time.
How to Do Tuck Jumps Correctly
Step 1: Get in the Starting Position
Look for a flat and smooth surface, preferably one with a rubber mat or exercise foam, to lessen the impact on your knees and shins when you land. Make sure there is enough space to move freely and jump high enough.
Stand up straight with the feet about hip-width apart. Keep the abdominal muscles tight and the spine straight.
Roll the shoulders back while sucking the belly button in.
Step 2: Jump
Begin the movement by bending the knees down until you’re in a half-squat position. Keep the arms extended straight in front at shoulder height.
Remember to push the hips back and lean forward. Keep the chest out and the back flat as well.
Drive power from the legs, then push the ground down with as much effort as possible and explode upward off the ground.
Swing your arms to help increase momentum so you can jump higher. As you jump, bring your knees up as close to the chest as possible.
Step 3: Land
In performing tuck jump exercises, the landing is equally important as the jump itself.
When landing, land on the balls of your feet. Avoid stomping the ground as this can injure your knee joints and shins.
Avoid locking the knees during the landing: this can cause pain on the joints and, worse, tears and breaks. Instead, land with a slight bend in the knees and the hips pushed downwards and back.
Additionally, avoid arching your back. Arching the back prevents the core from engaging and can injure your lower back & hips—instead, land with the spine in a neutral position.
Upon landing, be ready to jump back up again for the next repetition.
Tips on Performing Tuck Jump Exercises
To make the most of the exercise, and to avoid injuries, keep these tips in mind:
- Even when done correctly, Tuck jump exercises still put a lot of pressure on the knee joints. As much as possible, avoid doing them more than twice a week.
- As with any exercise, make sure to warm up before doing tuck jumps to reduce your risk of injury.
- Keep the jumps progressive by pushing with as much force as possible every time. Don’t get frustrated if you can’t raise the knees to the chest in the first few attempts; this is an advanced move.
- Using the right supplement will not only help improve performance but also boost strength and recovery.
Tuck Jump Variations
1. Jump squat
One of the easiest ways to add a twist to the tuck jump is to incorporate a squat.
Before exploding from the ground, lower down into a full squat. Remember to squat down until the thighs are parallel to the floor.
Jump and then go straight back down into another squat when you land.
2. Burpee Tuck Jump
The burpee tuck jump increases the intensity of the exercise to burn even more calories. The idea is similar to performing the jump squat.
In this movement, however, perform a burpee immediately after landing. Finish the burpee, and go back into a half squat to power through another tuck jump.
3. Single-Leg Tuck Jump
The single-leg tuck jump also helps develop balance, among other functional skills like power and agility.
To do this, begin the exercise and land using the same foot. On the upward motion, bring both knees up to the same height as the chest or shoulders.
Some people even perform the exercise with a weighted vest to work the muscles more.
4. Split Lunges
You can also combine tuck jumps with split lunges.
Start in a low lunge position before exploding up into a tuck jump. Make sure to lower the body down until the knees are bent at 90 degrees.
Then land into the opposite side low lunge.
If you’re having trouble switching sides between jumps, try simple jump lunges first. When you’ve got those down, add in the tuck to make it harder!
The move provides an extra challenge since you don’t have the assistance of the second leg to provide power. Instead, one leg carries all the weight and does the lifting.
This exercise variation works the core on top of all the lower body muscles tuck jump exercises mainly target.
Do you have other questions about how to do tuck jump exercises the right way? Ask us in the comments section below!