Dr. Hawley’s Health Corner

Am I jumping correctly?

One of the best ways to prevent lower limb injuries when performing dynamic or plyometric exercises is to focus on your jumping technique and modify it accordingly.  The part of the jump that most people can modify to prevent injuries is their landing.  Most people land with their knees too straight or they land on either their left or right foot instead of landing on them both at the same time.

There are few cues that everyone should be aware of whenever they are going to be adding in jumping into their workout routine.  You must be aware of how much bend you have in your knees when you land, how much bend you have at your waist, are you leaning left or right when you land and when your left and right foot are hitting the ground and what part of the foot hits first.  

  1. Knee Bend (flexion)
    1. Your knee flexion should be more than 30 degrees. If you have ever landed straight legged you know how uncomfortable this can feel.  The more flexion you have in your knees the less force gets transmitted up your spine.
  2. Waist Bend (Trunk Flexion)
    1. The same idea goes for your waist.  More than 30 degrees is optimal.  This allows for proper force displacement.  
  3. Waist Lateral Bending 
    1. A very common issue when someone is new to jumping is that they land while leaning to the left or right.  This not only puts more pressure and force on that side but also makes them very unstable if they are looking to explode into another jump.
  4. Asymmetrical Foot Landing / Bending
    1. This is also extremely common.  It rare that you find someone, new to jumping, that lands with equal pressure on their left and right foot.  This can help predict future injuries so it is important to get this corrected as soon as possible.
  5. As with your waist and your knee’s the position that you foot lands in is also of great importance.  When landing from a jump you ideally want your toes to make contact with the ground first then your midfoot and finally you heel.  
    As you can see there are many things that you need to pay attention to when you are trying to perform a proper jump and more importantly a proper landing.  There are many app’s out there that you can put on your phone that will allow you to video tape yourself and then watch it in slow motion.  The one that I use is called Ubersense – it is currently free and very easy to use.  Download the app and have a friend tape your jumping.  I bet you will be surprised with what you see!