The pike jump doesn’t just look challenging; it is actually very challenging.
It involves folding your body in half, and then suspending it in the air for a few seconds.
Sounds like hell, yeah?
But you don’t have to be scared of it if you are following the right steps and avoiding the mistakes that we will discuss later in this article.
So, let’s get right into these steps, shall we?
- Stand upright on the floor/any even surface, with your legs hip-width apart and your arms by your sides.
- Bend both knees and then swing your arms behind your body to help you gain momentum.
- Brace your core.
- Then, swing the arms in front of your body and explode into the air as you kick your legs in front of you until you have fully extended them.
- At the same time, hinge your hips and fold your upper body over the lower body.
- As you begin your descent, raise your upper body and stretch out your hips to move both legs underneath your body.
- Land softly on the balls of your feet, bending your knees slightly before you get back to the starting position.
WHAT MUSCLES DOES THE PIKE JUMP WORK?
There are a lot of muscles involved when you jump into the air and fold your body in half, and most of these are lower body muscles.
Firstly, you need your calves to generate the power with which you will launch into the air explosively.
Then, your hamstrings and glutes will be recruited when you extend and flex your hips as you fold your body.
Also, you need your core to help stabilize your spine and lower back during the jump and subsequent fold in the air.
BENEFITS OF THE PIKE JUMP
INCREASES MUSCLE POWER
Being a plyometric movement, the pike jump trains your muscles to lengthen and shorten quickly to improve your overall agility, coordination and speed.
STRENGTHENS LOWER BODY MUSCLES
Lifting your whole body and folding it mid-air requires a lot of strength from your calves, quads, glutes and hip flexors.
Hence, such exercises as the pike jump strengthen your lower body muscles by forcing them to work much harder to launch your body into the air.
INCREASES CORE STRENGTH
Although it does not primarily target your core, this jump requires a lot of stability to pull off.
This is where your core comes in; when you keep it tight during the movement, it activates your abdominal muscles to help stabilize your body and enable you fold it in the air.
INCREASES CALORIE BURN
The pike jump requires a lot of energy to perform, which makes it a great option if you are looking to lose weight.
ALTERNATIVES TO THE PIKE JUMP
The box jump is a quintessential plyometric movement where you jump from the ground onto a box, or any other appropriately elevated surface.
It essentially targets your glutes, quads, calves and hamstrings.
- Stand with a box (about 14-20 inches tall) in front of you. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart.
- Bending your knees slightly, drop down into a quarter squat and bring your arms behind you.
- Use the momentum you gain from the squat to propel your body as you jump onto the box.
- During the jump, allow your arms to swing out in front of your body.
- Land softly on the ground with the balls of your feet. As you land, bend your knees slightly so that your legs absorb the force safely.
- Repeat as many times as you desire.
Note that the height of the box you use is determined by your height.
However, if you are a beginner, it is advisable to use a relatively low box until you have mastered the correct form.
The pike plank is a more challenging variation of the basic plank that involves combining the plank with a pike, where your body gets into an inverted letter “V” position.
Here are the detailed steps:
- Get into the plank position, with your feet hip-width apart.
- Focus on getting your entire body in a straight line, from your head to your heels.
- Keeping your core tight, lift your hips up and backwards into an inverted “V” position that is similar to the downward dog.
- Pause when you get to the top position before lowering back to the plank.
PIKE JUMP MISTAKES TO AVOID
LEANING THE UPPER BODY TOO FAR
This is probably one of the most common mistakes people make when doing the pike jump.
If you lean your upper body too far, you risk falling forward and hurting yourself.
To fix this, think about hinging your hips back when you are swinging the arms forward; this prevents your body from leaning too far as you fold your legs to get into the air.
LANDING ON YOUR HEELS
Most people tend to land on the ground on their heels, which can cause you to lose balance and fall backward.
Instead, make sure you land on the balls of your feet at a lower intensity so that your legs absorb the landing force safely.
FAILING TO WARM UP
Explosive movements like the pike jump require that you first warm up before performing them to increase your blood flow and fully activate your muscles before you begin the training.
Focus on getting your hamstrings and calves fully prepped, since you require them to launch your body into the air and extend your hips mid-air during the fold.
As you have probably noticed by now, this exercise is not for the weak.
It requires you to have a lot of lower body strength, core stability and agility to pull it off with a minimum chance of injury.
So, if you are a beginner with less lower-body strength, you may want to sit this one out.
But if you insist on doing it, the steps and tips in here will guide you into doing it safely if you follow them a T.