How to Improve Toe-Touch Jumps

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A toe-touch jump is a jump where you lift your legs straight out to the side, achieving a "T" position at the height of the jump. Although they should appear effortless, they require a lot of energy. Toe touches require strength in the leg and core, and flexibility in the groin and hamstrings. They are commonly performed in cheerleading, dance and gymnastics. You can improve your toe-touch jumps with hard work.

Things You'll Need

  • Trampoline
  • Weights
  • Strengthen your your legs and core. This will help you jump higher and make it easier to perform a toe-touch jump. Repeat squats, split squats, dead lifts, lunges, step-ups and jump squats, depending on your ability level and exercise experience. Begin with six weeks of strength training at 3 sets of 10 to 15 repetitions. Continue with four to six weeks of 3 to 4 sets of 6 to 12 repetitions. Advanced athletes might continue to four weeks of 4 to 6 sets of 3 to 6 repetitions.

  • Practice jumping. Squat halfway down and quickly jump into the air as high as you can. Don't pause at the bottom of your squat. Your squat should be fast to produce the maximum amount of force. Make your body straight and tall as you jump. Bend your knees and land softly. Make sure that your knees are not knocking towards each other during your takeoff or landing. Knocking knees increases your risk of injury and takes power away from your jump.

  • Practice side kicks. Stand on both legs with your toes, knees and thighs pointed out at a 45-degree angle. Keep your hips and shoulders square to the front while you kick your right leg out to the side. Kick your leg as high as you can while keeping your right hip down and your right thigh, knee and foot pointed up to the ceiling. Perform the side kick 10 to 20 times and switch sides.

  • Stretch your straddle split by sitting on the ground with your legs out to the side. Lean forward to make the stretch more intense. A flexible straddle will make it easier to lift your legs into position. Hold the straddle position for 30 to 120 seconds, or until you feel your muscles relax. Straddle stretches should be performed after activity, not before. According to the National Strength and Conditioning Association, static stretching before activity may increase your risk of injury.

  • Practice your toe-touch jump on a trampoline. The trampoline will help you jump higher so you can focus on lifting your legs into the correct position. Jump straight up and lift your legs straight out to the side. Snap your legs back down as fast you can and land softly. Use a trampoline with a safety net and make sure that the area is clear of obstacles.

Tips & Warnings

  • Warm up with at least 5 minutes of cardiovascular activity before participating in toe-touch exercises or stretches.
  • Always exercise with proper technique and under the supervision of a professional. Consult your doctor before beginning an exercise program.
  • Only perform jumps at the beginning of workouts. Performing jumps when you are fatigued can increase your risk of injury.
  • Limit jumping to 80 to 100 jumps per session, three to four times per week.
  • Toe-touch jumps are not appropriate for everyone. Consult your doctor if you are experiencing pain or have an injury or preexisting condition.

References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images
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