Jumps are generally designed to enhance lower body strength, but scissor jumps take the challenge to a whole new level.
By having to switch the positions of your legs mid-air, you get to challenge your lower body muscles a lot more than you would doing the standard vertical jump.
Among its many benefits is the fact that if gets the job done without you needing so much as an exercise mat.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. It’s only proper that we begin with how to do it with the correct form before anything else.
- Stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent.
- Stack your hips directly under your shoulders while maintaining a neutral head position.
- Distribute your bodyweight evenly between your feet and grip the floor with your soles to create a stable position.
- Keep your arms straight by your sides with a slight bend in the elbows.
- Inhale deeply to pretension your hips and shoulders.
- Exhale and brace your core.
- Lower yourself into a lunge. The front knee should be over your big toe and your hip over your back knee.
- Stand on the balls of your feet to take your heels off the floor and push your chest in front so that it is ahead of your hips. This is your starting position.
- Drive the front foot into the ground while swinging both arms forward to launch into the jump explosively.
- At the top position of your jump, switch your legs quickly by bringing the rear foot forward and the front one behind.
- Land on the balls of your feet in a lunge position. The landing posture should be exactly the same as your jumping posture.
- Continue jumping while alternating sides as many times as you desire.
WHAT MUSCLES DO SCISSOR JUMPS WORK?
Scissor jumps work every major muscle group in your lower body, from your calves all the way to your hamstrings.
Your calf muscles help you launch into the air and land safely while your quads, glutes and hamstrings extend your hips as you jump explosively and switch leg positions mid-air.
Your core also plays a part in stabilizing your body during the movement.
BENEFITS OF SCISSOR JUMPS
LOWER BODY STRENGTH
By strengthening major muscle groups in your lower body, scissor jumps help enhance your overall lower body strength which comes in handy when performing other intense lower body exercises.
BETTER CARDIOVASCULAR HEALTH
Scissor jumps can help improve your cardio endurance if you include them in your high intensity interval training (HIIT) program.
You may find the conventional scissor jump boring after doing it for a while, but not to worry.
You can spruce things up a little by wearing ankle weights or performing burpees in between reps.
However, take note that this could be challenging if you are not at an advanced fitness level; so if you are a beginner it’s best to stick to the standard variation.
This exercise increases your explosive power by training you to launch into the air explosively during the jump.
Plyometric training is especially important for professional athletes who take part in exercises such as sprinting, jumping and running.
ALTERNATIVES TO SCISSOR JUMPS
This dynamic plyometric movement tones your legs and arms alongside working the muscles of your core.
Here’s how to do it:
- Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Extend both of your arms outwards to your sides, with your palms facing the ground. This is your starting position.
- Then, drive your feet through the ground to launch your explosive jump into the air.
- At the top of the jump, cross your left arm over your right and your left foot over the right one.
- Land on the balls of your feet to your starting position, and then repeat the steps with the opposite limbs.
- Do as many reps as you can without taking too much rest time between jumps to allow for maximum muscle engagement.
The rotational jack is an equally popular plyometric exercise that adds a twist to the standard jumping jack to work your core alongside your lower body muscles.
Here’s how to do it:
- Stand up straight and extend your arms out to your sides to form a “T” position.
- Brace your core and explode into the air, extending your feet beyond shoulder width and pointing your toes out.
- Land on the balls of your feet and twist your torso as you reach your right hand towards the ground and your left towards the ceiling.
- Jump once again to get back to the starting position.
- Repeat the movement on the other side and perform as many reps as you want.
Note that your core should remain tight throughout this exercise not only to work your abs maximally but also to protect your lower back from injury.
SCISSOR JUMPS MISTAKES TO AVOID
LANDING ON YOUR HEELS
When you land on the ground from your jump, you should do it with the balls of your feet instead of your heels.
This is because the balls of your feet are in a better position to absorb the landing force than your heels, which are most unstable and are likely to make you fall over.
NOT BRACING YOUR CORE
You need a tight core to stay stable during this immensely challenging exercise.
So make sure your core stays nice and tight from the lunge in the starting position to the time you land on the ground from your jump.
Like almost every other plyometric exercise, scissor jumps can be hard on your ligaments, tendons and your knee and ankle joints.
So before you try them, make sure you have the fitness level and strength necessary to do them safely.
Also, if you are a beginner and you wish to add this movement to your routine, work up to it gradually, increasing its duration, difficulty and intensity slowly.
Consider seeking the counsel of a fitness professional when you are starting out to help you develop proper technique while minimizing as much as possible the risk of injury.