Jumping lunges are performed in both general fitness programs and sports performance systems to enhance lower body power outputs, movement mechanics, and injury proof the body. In this article we will discuss four primary benefits coaches and athletes can come to expect when programming jumping lunges into training programs.
Before we dive into the positive benefits coaches and athletes can expect from jumping lunges, let’s first revisit an earlier article by taking a brief look at what exactly a jumping lunge is, how it is performed, and some programming guidelines to adhere to.
What Are Jumping Lunges?
Jumping lunges are a unilateral lower body movement performed plyometrically (which is described here). The exercise demo, programming notes, and benefits of such a movement are discussed below.
Jumping Lunges Exercise Demo
Below is a brief video demonstration on how to perform jumping lunges. In the video below, the athlete is demonstrating dumbbell jumping lunges, however coaches and athletes can use bodyweight, weight vests, barbells, and other loading modalities to bring about very similar training outcomes.
Programming Jumping Lunges
Like any plyometric exercise, the focus should be on moving explosively and under complete control both in flight and during the landing phases. For beginners, sets of light jumping, not done for max power can be done to increase body awareness, increase joint and connective tissue loading, and develop a better basis for more powerful and demanding jumps. Three to five sets of four to eight repetitions are common (per leg), however there is some flexibility in the programming based on sport and/or training goal.
4 Benefits of Jumping Lunges
Below are four benefits of jumping lunges. Some of these are inherent to most plyometrics training, while other are a unique combination of plyometrics, unilateral training, and sports performance adaptations.
Unilateral Eccentric Abilities
Plyometric exercises have the ability to increase one’s ability to eccentrically contract to control the body as it goes into joint flexion. This can pay huge dividends when looking to increase strength, power, and the transfer of energy in dynamic and athletic movements like sprinting, sports, weightlifting, etc. The unilateral nature of lunges lends to also increase this benefit on a leg by leg basis, helping to minimize asymmetries and compensation patterning otherwise unseen by bilateral movements.
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Increased Stability and Movement Awareness
Dynamic movements involve multiple joints working together to produce large gross movement patterning. The jumping lunge (and other movements like squats, cleans, snatches, running, jumping, etc) involve large joints and muscle groups acting together to produce force. By increasing the need for speed in muscle contractions and neural firing patterns, you can also enhance a lifter’s/athlete’s ability to move with greater proprioception (awareness) and in turn find greater stability with the muscles, joints, and connective tissues.
Improved Movement at Higher Velocities
Increasing muscle contractile velocities is key to increasing force development necessary for powerful actions such as sprinting, jumping, weightlifting, sports, and even strength movements. By teaching the body how to absorb loading you can strengthen the connective tissues of the body, increase movement properties, enhance neural patterning and grooving of such movements, and ultimately work to transfer energy throughout the entire contraction cycle. This is necessary to optimize power outputs, increase athletic potential, and perform ballistic movements (weightlifting, sports, etc) safely.
Increased Gluteal, Hamstring, and Quadriceps Development
Increasing unilateral performance, plyometric ability, and correcting asymmetries will enable you to move more weight, increase the speeds at which they move, and ultimately enhance the power and strength of your lower body (when these properties are combined with traditional training modalities). Plyometrics have been repeatedly shown to increase power outputs, enhance strength abilities (due to neural drive and the stretch shortening cycle), which will undoubtedly help you develop greater leg and hip muscles and boost performance in movements dependent on such muscle groups.
Get Your Lunge On!
Check out these lunging (and other unilateral movement) guides to bulletproof your body and enhance your performance
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