Jump-Improving Exercises for Kids
Kids' vertical leaps are a measure of how high they can jump. An impressive vertical leap can be an asset in some sports such as basketball, a game in which the ability to jump high can help a player get rebounds or block the shots from the opposing team. Kids can improve their vertical leap with simple exercises that can also be fun.
Kids can improve their jumping ability by exercising with a jump rope. There are fun jumping patterns that can be used with a jump rope, such as varying the jump rope pace from slow to fast, or one kid can try to mimic the pace of another kid, who tries to be disruptive. Kids can jump rope backward and try to do two jumps for every passing of the rope under their feet. Kids can also use a skipping movement instead of jumping.
The trampoline does not have to be full-size in order for kids to improve their jumping ability by exercising on one -- mini-trampolines also work. If no trampoline is available, an old mattress can also be used. Kids practice their jumping on the trampoline by seeing how high they can go. They can sing while jumping in rhythm to the song. Younger kids can practice counting the number of jumps on the trampoline. A portable radio can provide a musical beat for kids to jump in rhythm with.
This exercise resembles the movements of a speed skater because of the side-to-side movements, but it also requires you to jump as high as you. Two targets, which can be traffic cones or some other visual marker, are placed side by side. They should be about two feet apart, depending on the age and size of the kids. The kids will stand behind the first cone or marker, then jump laterally behind the second marker and land on only one foot. As quickly as possible, they will jump back to the original cone or marker, again landing on one foot. This side-to-side jumping can be repeated for 30 seconds, followed by a 30-second rest period. Three sets of this exercise will help kids develop the muscles used in jumping.
Doug Hewitt has been writing for over 20 years and has a Master of Arts from University of North Carolina-Greensboro. He authored the book "The Practical Guide to Weekend Parenting," which includes health and fitness hints for parents. He and his wife, Robin, are coauthors of the "Free College Resource Book."