It’s common knowledge that jumping causes you to burn calories. But how many exactly? And is it better to do it in a group or alone? We examined the science behind the popular practice and discovered that there’s more than one way to skin a cat—and that the answer depends on your goals.
The Jumps That Will Help You Lose Weight
When you’re trying to lose weight, any kind of movement will help you burn calories. There’s no need to take the bus or the train to work when you can take the stairs. If you walk a few blocks to the bus stop, you can burn enough calories on the way to work to offset the food you had for lunch. (Yes, those vending machines at work are the worst. I mean, who actually eats snacks at work?)
But which type of jump will help you lose the most weight? We examined studies on the subject and discovered that there’s more than one type of ‘jumper’ and that the answer varies based on your fitness level and personal preferences.
The Squat Jump
If you want to lose weight, you’re going to have to put in the work. And to do that, you’ll need to change how you move. The squat jump is a great place to start. It’s a simple and easy way to incorporate more movement into your day. (And it gets the muscles in your legs working hard which is great for weight loss.)
Doing a squat jump puts your muscles under loads and forces them to work harder than usual. Meaning, when you squat, your muscles are working harder than they would if you were just standing or walking. This is because when you’re squatting, your body has to maintain its posture (which is supported by your back muscles) while your muscles work to move your body weight.
So, when you squat, you’re actually doing several different types of jumps. There’s the vertical jump, the depth jump, and even the air-spring pop (when you squat and push off with your feet). While these movements are all great for weight loss, the squat jump is the simplest and most effective of them all.
The High Jump
If you’re looking for an all-around workout that’ll help you lose weight, try the high jump. It combines the work out of a steady jog with the challenge of an obstacle course. So, while you’re not going to be doing any real running, you are going to be working hard to climb over, under, or around various objects.
Doing the high jump not only burns calories, it forces you to work harder than usual to keep your balance while bounding across the plane. (Yes, those things are coming to a playground near you soon.)
But it’s not all fun and games, the high jump can be dangerous. Like a real obstacle course, there are many places where you can injure yourself. (Did someone mention the potential for injuries during the high jump craze? I think we can band together to create a ‘Caution: High Jump Area’ safety zone. Especially given the upcoming summer Olympics.)
The Short-Short-Short Jump
For those of you who are serious about losing weight, you might be tempted to take the easy way out by choosing the shortest route to your goal. That’s not what we recommend though. The short-short-short jump is a great way to spice up your routine. Instead of doing one long jump (as in the traditional approach), you’ll be doing several short ones. But, as the name would suggest, this variation is not for the faint of heart – especially if you want to lose weight.
While the group of three jumps works hard to achieve its goal, it is not an easy option. Doing three short-short-short jumps is equal to doing a single very, very long jump. This is because your body has to coordinate the effort of three muscles (the gluteus maximus, the hamstring, and the quadriceps) working in unison to jump as high as possible.
The Sprint Jump
If you want to lose weight, it’s best to choose a workout that’ll help you get there as quickly as possible. And what better way to do that than with a sprint? The sprint jump is a combination of the high jump and the short-short-short jump. Except, instead of having to climb over or jump over something, you’re going to be moving as fast as you can towards a finish line. (And yes, that’ll be a lot of fun.)
A sprint works the muscles in your arms, legs, and lungs and forces you to do a series of short bursts of work. During a sprint, your body is working harder than it would at a steady jog. A sprint is like a short-short-short-short-long jump. But, instead of being measured in feet, it’s measured in meters. And instead of your breath, it’s regulated by a timer. (I mean, who wouldn’t want to lose a little bit of weight while having fun?)
Sprints are great for anyone looking to lose weight. However, if you’re not used to working out at a fast pace, you might find yourself injured or exhausted before you reach your goal weight.
The Jumps That May Not Help You Lose Weight
While we recommend the squat jump for anyone trying to lose weight, it’s not for everyone. If you have a history of knee problems, it might be a better option to avoid that type of jump. The same goes for anyone with diabetes or a hip problem. The same goes for anyone who is pregnant or has had a Cesarean section.
But even if you have the perfect health background, there are still some types of jumps you should probably avoid. For instance, if you have flat feet, you might want to stay away from anything that involves a depth jump.
Doing any type of jump that involves a depth jump will increase the load on your lower vertebrae. If you have back pain or suffer from nerve problems, you might want to avoid the deeper the better – at least until you’ve tried other options first.
There are different types of jumps for different types of people. If you want to lose weight, it’s best to choose a routine that’ll help you meet your goal. But if you have a history of knee problems, it might be a better option to avoid some of the more demanding routines.