Nearly every fitness class you’ll ever take involves some sort of squat. It’s for good reason! This movement is a compound exercise, meaning it works multiple muscle groups at once. You’ll shed calories while simultaneously building strength in your leg, glutes and core muscles. The standard down-up motion of a regular squat will provide lasting results, but could that extra hop in a jump squat really reap more benefits?
Jump squats increase your explosive power, improve upper and lower body strength, and burn calories faster than regular squats. Explosive power gives you the ability to take off faster and move quicker, which athletes in football, tennis, and track and field strive for.
But even if you’re no longer playing on the turf or court, this power is still needed for real-world activities like lifting heavy objects or standing and sitting multiple times a day. Plus, the flexibility gained in your ankles and hips from the fluid motion of a jump squat will help prevent injuries during other exercise routines. And that part about burning calories? Well, the more muscle you have, the faster you burn calories. In fact, for every pound of muscle you gain, you’ll burn an additional 50-70 calories per day. Time to start jumping!
While you might think squats only work the leg muscles, you’ll see plenty of gain in your upper body as well. When done correctly, squats can actually trigger the release of testosterone and human growth muscle, which will increase muscle mass when you work other areas of your body. Plus, muscle growth also helps regulate your metabolism and insulin, which helps prevent obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
And while you might think squats put too much pressure on your knees, this move actually strengthens the knees and ankles and makes them less susceptible to injury as you get older.
To get the most out of this move, it’s recommended beginners do two to three sets of squats just two to three times each week to allow for important recovery time. While both a jump squat and a regular squat build upper and lower body strength, jump squats add that extra cardio component missing from its static cousin, which helps burn more calories faster.
Both types provide muscle growth that wards off preventable diseases, so it’s up to you on whether you’d like to push for that extra hop. So when you’re struggling to get in that last rep, consider this: You’ll cut calories and contribute to living a longer life. That’s something you can jump on.