This is the second post in the Compulsory leaps, jumps and dance presentation series. Click here to view last week’s post about developing leg strength for leaps and jumps.
The split jump is used in virtually every compulsory level. It’s important! I’ve compiled some videos of split jump drills that make for great side stations as well as deliver some results.
Fast legs are crucial in a split jump. The best way to develop speed is by doing kicks. Forward and backward kicks will develop those fast twitch muscles needed in a split jump. Read the first blog post in this series for more on the importance of working kicks. You will also find several drills and videos to reference for creating a kicking complex. Kicks are my number one recommendation for developing great split jumps!
This next drill is a regular in our gym. The girls like jumping off the mat because they feel like they get so much more time, then they really have to work hard to jump back up to the mat. Watch for: ribs in, back straight, and legs straight just before the landing. Some will try to compensate for a low jump by bending their knees to give them more time to get their legs together.
This drill is great for those gymnasts who just can’t seem to get their legs moving fast enough. The only downside is having to adjust the landing height for when you have girls of varying height. We have them take off a stack/panel mat so height can easily be adjusted by unfolding the stack/panel mat.
Hanging split jumps are a great way to ensure the gymnasts upper body stays tight. I like to use this drill on the gymnasts who close their hips, stick out their ribs, or drop their chest (or all three at once!). Slowing down the process allows you to pause and shape the gymnast in each stage of the split jump. This video is an example of it being used for switch leaps – but it’s easily modified for all kinds of leaps (including switch sides).
Also, if you feel like your split jumps and leaps are starting to plateau you can add therabands to make sure that the girls are really engaging their muscles and working for their split. This is one of my favorite things to do during beam warm-up.
To finish, my core tip for improving split jumps is to do them on as many surfaces as possible and as often as possible. Start on trampolines and progress through rod floors, spring floors, then beams. And do them every day. For higher levels, add some resistance via weights or bands. If you’re ever rattling your brain for more side stations, just add a split jump station in!
Video 1: Al Fong
Find it here!
The full 45 minute lecture of Bars Shaping from Pre-Team Up is now available for download, along with the full powerpoint and all of the videos!