I know you want to jump higher, but what about the landing? One question I get often is "What exercises will help me jump higher?" My answer isn't complicated - squat, deadlift, hip thrust, and lunge variations are the foundation of good jump training. Most people ignore the fact that when done correctly these tried and true lifts also prepare you for the landing. 

The Kettlebell Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat will help you to strengthen the muscles around your hip and knee while in a single leg position. Your glutes, quadriceps, and even the hamstrings are targeted. Developing strength in these areas will help you to protect your lower body and enhance lower body performance. If you want to avoid lower body injury and train to have better balance, run faster, jump higher, or land better then you need to be doing lunge variations like this.

Don't let your knee drift too far over your toes but don't keep it too far behind your toes either. The lead knee should ever so slightly cover up the toes when you look down. Avoid letting your knee cave in during the motion. Keep your core tight and bellybutton close to the rib cage. This will ensure that you avoid a hyper-arch position of the low back as you drop into the squat. Finish the move in a tall knee position. You want to be statue tall - no less, no more. Your knee should be locked out, but be careful of letting this cause a rock-back position through the low back. Be sure to keep the shoulders from rolling forward while you hold the weights. Select a height of the surface to place the rear foot up on that feels comfortable throughout the entire range of motion of the exercise.

This exercise fits perfect in a lower body or total body lift. Ideally you should super set or pair this with an exercise that is grip neutral (doesn't require grip action). Shoot for 3-5 sets of 4-12 repetitions.

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Tim DiFrancesco, PT, DPT, ATC, CSCS spent 6 seasons as the Head Strength & Conditioning Coach of the Los Angeles Lakers and is the founder of TD Athletes Edge.  He is nationally renowned for his evidence-based and scientific approach to fitness, training, nutrition, and recovery for athletes and fitness enthusiasts.

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