The jump squat (which can be done with a barbell, dumbbells, weighted vest, trap bar or body weight) can be an excellent exercise to build explosive power. Developing explosive power is essential for many athletes across most sports, especially for athletes who rely heavily on acceleration and muscle contraction velocities. The key is to use an external load held down at arm’s length or against the chest, which is easier on the shoulders and safer than holding a barbell across the upper back.
Proper technique for dumbbell jump squat
STARTING POSITION (SETUP)
- Stand with your feet wider than shoulder width while holding a trap bar or a dumbbell in each hand.
- Perform a quarter squat while keeping the knees over the feet (see figure a).
- Perform the jump by explosively extending the hip and knee joints as you drive through the center of your feet (see figure b).
- Land as softly as possible without your knees buckling inward, mimicking the starting position.
- Repeat the smooth, continuous motion for reps.
Jump squat variations
BARBELL JUMP SQUAT
- Hold a barbell across your upper back. Position your feet just wider than shoulder-width apart and plant your heels firmly.
- Lower yourself into a quarter squat by bending at knees and easing your hips back. Keep your chest high and look straight ahead.
- Explode upwards from the squat using your leg strength. The force of the extension should take you off the floor.
- Cushion your landing by bending your knees and easing your hips back slightly.
- Recover to the squat position.
TRAP BAR JUMP SQUATS
- In this variation you execute the movement using a trap bar.
- All instructions already given for the dumbbell/barbell jump squat apply here too.
WEIGHTED VEST JUMP SQUATS
- The weighted vest is the most “natural” as it allows you to perform a loaded jump without restricting arm motion. Once you’ve mastered the unloaded landing, using a weighted vest is the next progression.
Main benefits of performing weighted jump squats include the following:
- Increase your explosive power (explosiveness);
- Improving upper and lower body strength;
- Burning calories much faster than with regular squats;
- You do not need to use heavy weights. The explosive force is enough to build rapid muscle growth in the target muscles.
Muscles engaged in dumbbell jump squats
Below is a listing of the muscles targeted by dumbbell jump squat.
Jump squats also increase your heart rate. Squat jumps, therefore, combine the benefits of strength training with cardio.
Exercise demonstration video
In this tutorial video you can learn the proper technique of the exercise, so you can complete it with confidence and safety.
There are many explosive (dynamic) lifts for developing power & explosiveness.
- Power clean
- Power snatch
- Power clean from hang
- Power snatch from hang
- Squat clean
- Heavy front squat
- Overhead squat
- Jerk balance
- Snatch balance
- Split snatch
- Push press
- Kettlebell high-pull
Your entire body works in this explosive movement (dynamic lift) that develops leg strength and balance. Make sure you can execute the movement fluently by practising it unweighted or with light weight. Also, keep in mind that every time you jump there is the stress of the landing. As such, jump squats have a higher degree of stress on the joints compared with other squat variations. Therefore, it’s crucial that you have healthy knees, hips, and ankles if you want to try this move. Otherwise stick to a traditional squat that doesn’t involve a jump.