How to Do the Jump Lunge

Proper Form, Variations, and Common Mistakes

Jump Lunge

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Targets: Lower body, core

Level: Advanced

The jump lunge is an advanced variation of a basic walking lunge exercise, bumping up the intensity by adding a jump. The plyometric transition consists of jumping high in the air and switching your forward foot before landing. You can add the jump lunge exercise to your high-intensity interval training routine, or use it to boost your heart rate during calisthenics or basic floor work. Because this exercise requires no equipment, you can do it any time and at any place.

Benefits

Not only is this an excellent cardiovascular exercise, but it also helps develop and improve lower body strength and power, as well as challenge dynamic stability and coordination. When done correctly, you will target the glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, hip flexors, and calves. You will also engage muscles that stabilize the core and hips, those that are used for rotational movements, and even improve ankle stability.

Power is generated during each push-off phase as you load the foot, ankles, knees, and hips with your body weight and then quickly drive upward during the transition to the next lunge. The jump lunge also challenges an athlete's coordination, balance, and proprioception during the landing phase of each movement. Developing this power and coordination can help you in sports such as sprinting, basketball, volleyball, and tennis.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Stand in the ready position with one leg forward, one leg back. Hold your arms in a ready position with the elbows bent at 90 degrees, one arm in front of your body and the other arm back, using alternating arms to legs. For example, if your left leg is leading, put your right in front.

  1. Prepare to jump by bending your knees and sinking down into a deep lunge. Lean slightly forward and contract your core muscles. You will maintain core muscle engagement throughout the exercise.
  2. Quickly sink your weight down and then explosively drive both feet into the floor and launch your body upward, fully extending your knees and hips.
  3. As you jump into the air, bring your feet quickly together and switch positions as you begin to land. You should also switch arms as you do this.
  4. As you land, maintain a balanced foot position. Your forward knee should be over your forward foot and not beyond. Attempt to land softly on the forward mid-foot and let your heel come in contact with the ground. Avoid remaining on the toes of the forward foot. Keep your hips back and allow your hips and knees to bend deeply to absorb the landing. Don't lock your knees.
  5. Drop to a deep lunge position as you prepare to start the next jump lunge.
  6. Repeat the jump lunge movement for the duration of your exercise time. Aim for a few reps to begin and work up to a full 60 seconds.

    Common Mistakes

    Avoid these errors so you can get the most out of this exercise without strain or injury.

    Lack of Warmup

    Because the jump lunge is an advanced plyometric movement, it should not be performed until you've completed a thorough warmup or some basic movement prep, such as a quick core workout or a glute activation routine. Even after a good warmup, this move requires a slower progression for mild jumps to higher jumps. Take it slow for the first few transitions.

    Knee Too Far Forward

    Do not allow your forward knee to extend beyond your foot as that places too much stress on the knee. Practice landing with correct knee position.

    Locking Knees

    If you lock your knees you are placing too much stress on them and reducing the ability of your knees and hips to absorb the force of the landing.

    Staying on Your Toes

    Be sure to keep your forward heel in contact with the ground as you begin and end each lunge movement. Stop if you lose balance or proper foot position, and start again more slowly.

    Modifications and Variations

    This exercise can be modified to make it a bit easier and less jarring, or much more difficult, simply by changing the speed at which you perform the transitions, the depth of each lunge, and the height of each jump.

    Need a Modification?

    It's important to master the standing lunge movement before launching yourself into the air. Once you can perform a basic lunge, it's helpful to practice this exercise with one small jump at a time to develop the appropriate balance and control before linking the lunges together. Focus on landing correctly on the forward foot with control and proper position.

    If this is still too difficult, go back to basics and practice the walking lunge exercise until you develop lower body strength and control.

    It's also helpful to learn how to do a basic tuck jump landing before attempting an alternating jump lunge landing. The basic tuck jump can help you learn how to land softly and with control. It also helps reinforce good body mechanics at the hip, knee, and ankle. Once you have good hip mobility and control, the landing of the jump lunge will be much easier. Still, always begin small jumps, maintain good landing position and body mechanics, and then add more explosive and powerful jump lunges.

    Up for a Challenge?

    Once you are able to perform the jump lunge with perfect form, you can start taking it up a notch. Change just one thing at a time. You can do the transitions faster, which will make it more of a high-intensity cardio move. Jump higher for more of a plyometric challenge. Or, go lower with each lunge.

    You can add a further challenge by doing jump lunges while holding dumbbells.

    Safety and Precautions

    Avoid the jump lunge if you have any injury to your knees, ankles, hips, or back. It is a high impact exercise and you should not do it if these exacerbate any condition you have. Discuss your plans with your doctor or physical therapist. Do not do this exercise if you are pregnant. Stop if you feel any sharp pain.

    Try It Out

    Incorporate this move and similar ones into one of these popular workouts:

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