11.09.2012

Tuck Jump Big Butt Paradox

Not functional. Not the ideal, on a few levels. Advertising fail.

I've written before about how much I love tuck jumps. I catch myself eyeing up fences, retaining walls, and other items fit for normal domestic use. But I'm labeling them. My pulse quickens at about the 5 foot mark.

"I'd get over that. Probably."

The tuck jump is an explosive total body effort. You leap off two legs to go on or over some kind of target. They are a critical ingredient in any program designed for increased power and speed.

Jumping over a chair or fence or theraband (less penalty with failure) or onto a rock or picnic table - those are tuck jumps. Thousands of reps on an agility ladder and hundreds of burpees and billions of leg raises won't achieve what a max effort tuck jump will.

Tuck jumps make you commit. The brain takes an automated approach to generating maximal force off the ground, including timing and coordination of multiple body segments. Try doing a series of high effort tuck jumps and see how your abdominal and low back muscles feel the next day.

There's no pacing with tuck jumps, which is part of their magic! You are not trying to be graceful or even particularly quick. Simply get up and over, higher and higher still!

The butt is a funny thing when it comes to tuck jumps. It gets in the way and knocks the bar down. But then again, it's what gets you up to higher capacity in the first place. So please don't lose that butt. [Or insert your own mandatory Sir Mix-A-Lot reference).

                                      5 foot 3 inch fail, due to butt.

video

Most typical sport movements require tremendous hip strength and power. You simply cannot have a scrawny celebrity butt and be powerful and athletic. Nobody ever sprinted hard or launched high due to a big barrel chest, hulking biceps, or bulky thick calves.

It's the hips! So move on your squats and single leg squats and dead lift variations. And plyos. Many people benefit greatly from a few corrective type moves to turn on the circuitry to those muscles (like glute bridges, hip hinge reaches, kettle bell swings, etc).

If you get a bigger more muscular looking butt, most people should be saying "good." But really, who cares? If you can raise your entire body up and over 50 inches (or so) and land on two feet, most fitness and aesthetic concerns will have taken care of themselves. You don't need to run a marathon to establish that you are fit. Some yoga or cross fit or "quick feet" drills may have their place.

But if you lift weights and jump things, you can learn to do just about anything well.

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