Why You Shouldn’t Rush to Jump Squats and Box Jumps Without Mastering Bodyweight Squats
When it comes to fitness, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of advanced exercises and flashy movements. Especially when they are literally all that is coming up on your social media feed when you search fitness. However, it’s crucial to prioritise building a strong foundation before progressing to more challenging exercises. I totally get that you want to push yourself harder and feel like you’ve worked hard during a training session. BUT would you jump into the deep end if you couldn’t first swim in the shallow?
Proper Form and Technique:
The bodyweight squat is a fundamental movement that serves as the building block for many other exercises. It helps develop lower body strength, mobility, and stability. Mastering the technique ensures you have a solid foundation, which is vital for preventing injuries and maximizing the benefits of your workouts. Jumping into advanced exercises without proper form increases the risk of strain, sprains, or other unnecessary injuries. If you search jump squats on Instagram, I would put money on the majority of videos showing valgus collapse of knees (knees falling in) when jumping and landing. This puts huge strain on the knees. It isn’t because the exercise is bad or they are doing it wrong. It is because they’ve not yet built the foundations with the basic squat to tolerate this increase in intensity.
Muscle Engagement and Activation:
The bodyweight squat targets several muscles, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and core. By mastering this exercise, you develop the necessary strength and muscle activation required to perform more advanced movements. Jump squats and box jumps require explosive power and stability, which can be compromised if your muscles aren’t properly engaged due to a lack of foundation in bodyweight squats.
Joint and Ligament Adaptation:
Jumping and landing place additional stress on your joints, particularly the knees and ankles. It’s crucial to allow your body time to adapt gradually. Mastering bodyweight squats helps strengthen the ligaments, tendons, and connective tissues surrounding these joints, making them better prepared for the impact of more advanced exercises. Rushing into jump squats or box jumps without this foundation increases the risk of joint strain and potential long-term issues. We see this a lot of the time with new mums who have been pushed way to hard in “mum fitness” classes. Six weeks after having a baby, Relaxin flowing through the body and the instructor thinks jump squats holding baby is a “cool exercise”. Please stop!
Balance and Coordination:
Bodyweight squats contribute to improving balance, coordination, and proprioception. These skills are essential for executing more complex movements safely and effectively. By focusing on mastering the bodyweight squat technique, you enhance your body’s ability to control movement and maintain balance, reducing the risk of falls or accidents during higher-intensity exercises.
Progressive overload is a key principle of strength training, wherein you gradually increase the demands placed on your muscles and body. It’s crucial to progress safely and systematically, allowing your body to adapt and grow stronger over time. Skipping the foundational step of bodyweight squats and jumping straight into advanced exercises may lead to plateaus or insufficient progress due to inadequate muscle development and conditioning. We see this all the time in our injury clinic with patients reporting knee pain and damage as a result of progressing too quickly without building the foundation.
While it’s tempting to rush into advanced exercises like jump squats and box jumps, mastering the bodyweight squat technique is an essential step that should not be overlooked. Building a strong foundation with proper form, muscle engagement, joint adaptation, balance, and coordination sets the stage for safe and effective progress in your fitness journey.
So, be patient, focus on the basics, and allow your body the time it needs to develop and excel. Remember, a solid foundation is the key to reaching new heights in your fitness goals.
Did you know that we offer one off 121 Movement Analysis sessions to look at key movements such as the squat and deadlift? We can analyse your technique and then develop a programme to master these movements to enable you to progress.