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March 26, 2021 10 min read

Weight lifting is a great way to build muscle. It’s straightforward and it’s easy to track your progress, just keep lifting more weight next week and you’ll see how you’ve improved. Weight lifting comes with some downsides that you have to reach outside of your exercise routine to solve. If you want to streamline your workout, you want to incorporate exercise that will add flexibility to your muscle gain, you’re going to have to get creative.

Tuck jumps are an exercise that will push your lower body to its limit. You’re going to be moving your full body the entire time you’re jumping and tucking your body together in a way that will force your body to limber up at the same time. If you’re looking for a way to branch out, then tuck jumps are the leap to the next level that you’re looking for.


What is This?

Tuck jumps are as simple as it sounds. They’re a vertical leap where you bring your knees up to your chest. This is an excellent exercise for building your coordination along with your lower body and core. Jumping happens all the time in video games and in the animal kingdom, it’s the ultimate power fantasy because human beings are particularly bad a jumping. If you have a cat in your home you’ll see them springing all over the place, up to heights many times their own height. If you’re not training your lower body, you’ll be lucky to get yourself a foot off the ground. Tuck jumps are a great way to learn how to master your lower body and get your body higher in the air.

Tuck jumps are almost the same as bodyweight squat jumps. You can think of them as the natural progression of a squat jump. In fact, if you’re struggling with tuck jumps, you should consider starting with squat jumps until you’re proficient with them. It’s like the jump equivalent of training up to a pull-up by slowly lowering yourself from a bar rather than pulling yourself up a tiny bit at a time.

Nitty Gritty

What makes tuck jumps an exercise with so many benefits? They’re a plyometric exercise meaning you’re going to be pushing yourself hard and fast to make progress. They’re intense and well worth the effort. It’s literally the name of the game. The name plyometric comes from the Greek words plythein meaning “to increase,” and metric literally means “to measure.” Plyometric exercises are all about progress and growth.

Plyometric exercises are also often also known as jump training or just plyos if you’re not up for the mouthful that “plyometric exercise.” These are exercises where your muscles are going to be exerting their maximum force in some pretty small intervals of time. Your goal here is going to be to increase the power of your jumps. That means you’re going to be aiming to build muscle and mastering the movements of your upper body and tuning into the movement of your lower body. Plyometric training puts all of your focus on training the jumper to move from a muscle extension explosively. That’s what doing quick subsequent jumps in a special manner will do for your body. 

If you’re a weightlifter then plyometrics are probably going to be a little unfamiliar to you. Typically plyometrics are used by athletes, especially martial artists, sprinters, and high jumpers, to jack up their performance on game day. They’re great for improving the aspects of fitness that athletes are drawing from. Your cardio and explosive power are going to benefit a great deal from plyos.

Plyo Concerns

Because jumping is so strenuous for humans, you’re going to have to take some precautions before diving in feet first. 

Flexibility is required to prevent injury. This is the case as well as in any other exercise, you want to keep yourself flexible. Building muscle should always be paired with flexibility. Muscle is dense and tough. Whenever you build a lot of muscle in an area you’re going to be adding a lot of tension to the joints and ligaments. The only way you can prevent long term injury prevention when you’re building muscle is to keep your body limber. 

Tuck jumps will also just benefit from keeping your body flexible. If you’re able to pull your knees up towards your chest quickly after leaving the ground is going to make a world of difference in your progress. Folks with a lot of experience with plyometric exercise will combine their plyometric exercise with intensive stretching to keep their joints healthy and keep your body ready for the repetitive movements of your jumps. This also keeps your body limber enough to protect it from the shock of landing. Proprioception is an important component of balance, coordination, and agility, which is also required for the safe performance of plyometric exercises.

If you’re concerned about injury there are a few factors you should monitor in your own body before you start your tuck jumping journey. 

  • Age: If you’re getting up there in years and approaching tuck jumps as a plyometric rookie you should work your way up to tuck jumps. Try some low box jumps and squat jumps before you’re leaping and tucking. The same goes for folk that haven’t hit puberty yet because of hormonal changes and the rapid growth associated with it
  • Technique: This is going to be the single largest aspect of tuck jumps that separates the pros from the injured newbies. The technique is going to amplify your jump and protect you on the way back down. If you’re doing any sort of plyometric exercise, you should take extra care to lean and maintain good technique. 
muscle map

    Muscles Worked

    One of the most exciting things about tuck jumps and adding them to your workout routine is how many of your muscles you’re going to be working out at the same time. Your legs, obviously are going to be getting the most benefit from this, but when you get into tuck jumps, you’ll quickly see that your core and your upper arms are also going to see a lot of involvement and improvement. 

    Lower Body

    The jump and the tuck are going to recruit nearly every single muscle in your lower body. You’re extending your muscles rapidly and with enough force to lounge an entire human being into the air after all. Imagine the kind of force it would take for you to launch 100 or more pounds into the air and all of the muscles you’d need for such a feat. Your quadriceps, gluteals, hamstrings, calves, and hip flexors are all coordinating to lower your body towards the ground, lend you the explosive power you need to leave the ground, and contracting once more while you’re up in the air.


    Your core is going to bring your lower body and upper together once you’re up in the air. Your abs are responsible for bringing your upper and lower body together, and when you’re up in the air this is more evident than ever. Tuck jumps are a unique opportunity to observe this aspect of your anatomy. When you’re flexing your upper body, you’re technically pulling both halves of your body together, but you’re usually being stopped by another plane or gravity. But up in the air, there’s nothing stopping the rectus abdominus from doing its job to the best of its ability. 

    You’re also going to be recruiting your obliques. When you’re setting your core, you’re adding pressure to your abdomen and setting your torso in place. In order to get the most exercise done, you need a solid core that’s not going to wobble all over the place as soon as you’re exerting force. It’s just physics at that point. If you don’t have a solid core then your exercising is going to be doing you instead of the other way around.

    Upper Arms

    You’re going to be employing your upper arms to generate a little bit of swing. This is going to be a cakewalk for your biceps, but your anterior shoulders aren’t designed to take a lot of punishment, so this exercise ends up working your shoulders pretty well. 

    Overall, tuck jumps are an incredible calisthenic exercise for your full body. As you become more comfortable with this exercise you open yourself up to a world of plyometric exercises. You’re going to become much more coordinated because of the cooperation between so many of your different body parts, and learning to leap into the air and hang there like Jet Li is a pretty sweet skill to have. If you’re looking to get shredded and trying to make yourself more powerful, then you’ll want an exercise that engages as many muscles as tuck jumps.


    Tuck jumps are an excellent addition to your workout for a number of reasons. You’re going to be building up your flexibility and loosening your muscles up at the same time that you’re strengthening your core and building out lean and thick quads. Tuck jumps have the benefit of bringing a lot more to the table than just building muscle for you, unlike a lot of other exercises we tend to work on.

  • Shock absorption: the human body isn’t built to withstand shock very well. The biggest source of back pain comes from simply existing in a human body. Our spines are naturally contorted all the time in comparison to animals with a similar spinal column, and they’re also positioned to receive a lot of punishment. When you practice tuck jumping you’re also practicing your landings. You’re going to be training your body to receive the shock of that movement, and that’s going to transfer to the rest of your life, leaving you feeling better and more spry.

  • High-intensity, Low-repTuck jumps are going to force your legs to move your entire bodyweight. When you’re just starting out, these are going to be great for building muscle. High-intensity exercises combined with a good diet and ample rest are the single best way to build muscle. You can continue the trend by weighing down your tuck jumps. If you feel like lifting and squatting isn’t doing the job quite fast enough you can add tuck jumps into your workout routine and watch the results roll in.
  • Force Transferrence: Proper tuck jumps don’t come naturally. When you start working on them, you’re very quickly going to find that you need to master momentum and figure out how to engage your legs, core, and arms just right. Tuck jumps are an excellent tool for getting in tune with your body and drawing out all of the power possible. Learning how to tuck jump means you’re going to be intimately understanding the function and limits of your body in a way that will allow you to surpass your limits in ways you never thought possible.
  • Brain-body Connection: Tuck jumps are the poster child for the brain-body connection. If you feel like it’s a bunch of mambo jumbo, then tuck jumps will sell you on it. The brain-body connection is an important part of growing as a weight lifter or just as a person concerned with improving their fitness. We take our own bodies for granted, sometimes. Taking the time to learn what our limits are and intimately understanding how all of our muscles interact with our bodies is going to increase your ability to lift weight and perform in the gym. Improving your brain-body connection means you’re going to approach exercises with optimal form and optimal engagement of your muscles. 
  • Flexibility: Building muscle often comes with the downside of stiffening up your body. When you start bulking up, you’re going to be adding dense, tight, and stiff muscle to your body. If you’re not great about warming up and getting regular stretches in, you can start damaging joints and misaligning your body. Poor posture and jacked up joints are going to haunt you later in life if you don’t catch them early. Tuck jumps demand flexibility. When you’re building up to them and tuck jumping regularly, you’re going to be building flexibility no matter what. This is an exercise that’s great not just for your cardiovascular system and your skeletal muscle mass, but for your joints and flexibility as well.
  • Jumping

    Getting the Club Jumping

    Tuck jumps are useful and fun, but they’re also pretty easy to wrap your head around. Take the time to learn proper tuck jumping technique, and you’re going to be off to the races. 

    • Start with your feet shoulder-width apart, you want to be comfortable enough to blast off of the ground, so find a good spot for your feet
    • Bend at the hips and lower yourself to the ground into a quarter squat. Your chest should be in line with your toes at this point at a 45-degree angle, keeping your body in line is going to be key for getting yourself up in the air
    • Swing your arms back at the same time you lower yourself towards the ground. At this point, your arms should be parallel with your spine
    • This first set of movements should all happen pretty fluidly. You’re winding yourself up, getting ready to reverse this motion and momentum with enough power to launch your body up in the air
    • Immediately rise up, reversing the movements that lowered you to the ground. When you’re jumping, make sure you push yourself up to your toes, you should be getting some good ankle action in there. Don’t hold back, this exercise doesn’t work if you’re not jumping to the best of your ability. Make sure you swing your arms forward too, this is going to help you get some lift 
    • As you’re defying gravity, start bringing your knees up towards your chest. You’re not trying to make yourself into a cannonball, your thighs should be about parallel to the floor and your back should stay as tall as it can in this position
    • Extend your knees when you’re on the descent. Aim to get your toes out under you, you’re going to use them to buffer your landing. Try to land as silently as possible. If you’re making a lot of noise you’re also applying a lot of shock to your body, and you’re not trying to slam yourself against the floor multiple times a week
    • Before you go straight into your next jump, make sure your feet are set in a comfortable and confident position, but otherwise, you can continue straight into the next bound as long as you’re not too fatigued to maintain good form

    Jumping to Conclusions

    Tuck jumps are an exercise that you should absolutely consider tucking under your belt. You’re going to be learning skills from them that you can apply to the rest of your workout routine as well as building muscle and flexibility at a rate that a lot of other exercises could never come close to promising you. If you’re looking for something that will broaden the horizons of your workout routine while keeping your body limber and working out your full body and giving you a fresh skill, then you should jump on board. Tuck jumps are refreshing and fun as well as being an excellent exercise for reaching your fitness goals.