I’m a July baby so this is one of my favorite months. It’s hot, it’s beach time and it’s vacation time. What’s not to love?
I’ve been bombarded with tweets and emails about how to drop that last five pounds just before hitting the beach vacation. It seems as if half of D.C. has hit the same plateau at the same time.
When it comes to shedding excess fat, my favorite and most effective exercises involve jumping. Whether it’s box jumps, knee tucks, jumping rope, lunge jumps, bounds or one-legged jumps, I love to put on some House of Pain and jump around. As you can see there are a lot of jumps out there and I love them all.
Jumping is great because it requires no equipment, limited space and it burns a lot of calories. Jumping is one of the only exercises that truly uses every muscle in your body and gets your heart rate up fast. Besides blasting those calories, it also fires your type two fast twitch muscle fibers, which helps you build muscle and makes you better at sports. When I’m trying to stay camera- and beach ready, I intertwine a set of 10-20 explosive jumps between each of my weighted exercises. If I’m jumping rope, I just make it a solid minute of skipping as fast as I can. This gives my body that high intensity calorie and fat blast I need. My two most effective jumping exercises for burning calories are tuck jumps and lunge jumps.
Tuck jumps: No, tuck jumps have nothing to do with a drag queen quickly getting ready for stage. These are jumps used by every track sprinter in the world.
Start by standing with your feet shoulder width apart. Then start bending down at your knees and waist to gain momentum, jump up as high as you can while simultaneously shooting your knees up toward your chest. This is a lot harder than it sounds. When starting, perform each jump individually to make sure your form is correct. As you advance in skill and conditioning, your goal should be to repeat the jumps as quickly and powerfully as possible.
Bring out your inner Olympic gymnast. Think that you want your feet on the ground as little amount of time as possible. If you have knee issues, I would slowly work my way up to these or stick to a fast squat for a variation. As always, let pain be your guide. If it hurts, don’t do it.
Lunge jumps: Time to step your game up. Lunge jumps and I have a love-hate relationship because they are one of the hardest exercises I do and they always leave me falling on the floor. Still, you should try them.
Start in the bottom portion of a lunging position: one foot about two normal step lengths in front of the other with both knees and hips bent at 90-degree angles. From this position, push into the floor to explode your entire body into the air while switching one leg in the front and the other in the back. The landing position is the same as the starting, but the feet have alternated.
This takes a lot of balance, so take your time. If it sounds hard, that’s because it is. Before starting this exercise, make sure your core is very strong (see my favorite core exercise on my Coach G Fitness YouTube channel) and you are comfortable with normal bodyweight lunges.
Progress yourself from traditional lunges to this exercise by starting to perform your normal lunges as fast as possible. You eventually will build the power and balance to get some serious airtime.
Adding in jumping exercises to your normal workout and healthy nutritional regimen can help you unlock the body you want. Remember to start slowly and eventually advance yourself to the more difficult jumps. Incorporate these exercises into your workout and you’ll have those last stubborn pounds of fat running back in the closet.