3 Exercises to Drastically Improve your Jumps and Leaps

01/12/2024

Recently I’ve been spending a lot of time doing private lessons in studios all over Minnesota. At these studios, I’ve worked individually with dancers on their solos, skills, and technique.

One of the skills I repeatedly see during these private sessions is a variety of jumps and leaps, including side leaps, toe touches, switch tilts, and more.

I’ve noticed the biggest struggles for most dancers in their leaps and jumps are:

  • Bent front and back leg
  • Lack of overall power
  • Low jumps
  • Difficulty maintaining technique
  • Hip turn out

Even if dancers have turnout on the floor and can sit in their splits, without enough strength and power, a dancer’s technique gets lost. This happens because of a lack of strength to hang in the air long enough to rotate the hips and hit their full split in the air before they land. Whether it’s a switch tilt or a regular grand jeté, they simply don’t have the strength built up… yet. 

I did three simple exercises with every single dancer.

Take a look at the tremendous improvements in just 30 minutes of private sessions with strength training!

 

⬆️ At the beginning of her session, she didn’t make it high enough to execute her jump — she didn’t have time to straighten her front leg. But after 30 minutes of strength training for jumps and leaps, both legs were straighter, and she was able to hang in the air for a second. You can see that in the slightly clearer after picture.

⬇️ I worked with this dancer to improve her jumps and leaps with strength training as well. Before, her leaps were even with the window sill, and her head was about midway up the sign on the wall, with a bent back leg.

After engaging her glutes, releasing behind the knee, and strengthening her turnout muscles, her back leg is straighter, and she kept her alignment in mid-air. Her front leg is almost at the top of the window, and her head is level with the top of the sign, meaning she got higher in the air. 

All of these improvements in their jumps and leaps with just one 30-minute session of strength training!

And you can achieve these same results too.

How Do Dancers Improve Their Skills So Quickly?

At Dancer-Fitness, we used strength training exercises to engage dancers’ glutes, release tension behind their knees, open their hips, and strengthen their turnout muscles. 

That’s it! 

Other studios may focus on constant stretching or repeated exercises. But through years of experience dancing and training, I’ve learned that isn’t the way to go.

It wasn’t until I was 28 years old, on my way to becoming a personal trainer, that I learned how the muscles work together and started training at the gym.

And guess what?

I was dancing the best I ever had in my entire dance career.

That’s why I’m so passionate about creating strength training plans with exercises designed specifically for skills you want to master. Because I’ve seen it work over and over again.

I promise, that these exercises are simple, safe, and effective in improving your leaps and jumps. All you have to do is implement it.

Here’s what we did.

👉🏻 Negative Straddle Stretch

👉🏻Behind the Knee Release

👉🏻 Banded Monster Walks

Strength Training Is the Secret

Notice we didn’t do dancers’ skills repeatedly. That leads to tired dancers and nothing to show for all of your efforts.

Instead, we focused most of our private sessions on strength training and the mobility of

dancers’ hips and glutes.

And that’s how we achieved incredible improvements in their jumps and leaps.

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