How to Land When Jumping
During a plyometrics workout, your body must absorb a great deal of force each time you land from a jump. Without proper landing technique, you risk injury to your ankles, hips and particularly your knees. All three of these joints must absorb the shock so that you land smoothly and softly, ready to rebound into your next jump. The basic mechanics of landing from a jump are the same no matter what type of jump you perform.
Land on your toes and transfer your weight through your foot. After your toes contact the ground, the balls of your feet should touch. Your heels should touch down last. By controlling your heels, you will be able to land softly. As you work through your feet, you should have equal weight on the outside and inside edges of your feet. Don’t let your feet roll inward -- pronation -- or outward -- supination.
Begin bending your knees as soon as the balls of your feet contact the ground. Don’t lock them when you land. Increase the depth of the knee bend gradually, so that when your heels touch the floor, your knees are fully bent. As your knees bend, they must be aligned with your second toes, or between your first and second toes. This reduces the rotation force on the knee and helps protect the ligaments.
Flex your hips. Upon landing, your hips should be over your heels. At the very end of the knee bend, you can push your hips slightly behind your heels so that they can flex more. This can help keep your knees properly aligned and your ankles on the floor.
Keep your abdominal muscles engaged throughout the jump and the landing to help maintain control of your torso. At the very end of the landing, you can move your torso slightly forward to counterbalance the backward movement of your hips.
Coordinate the movement of your arms. If you are doing a single jump, you can land with your arms stretched in front of you, parallel to your thighs. For consecutive jumps, press your arms slightly backward on the landing so that they can swing in front of your body on the next jump.
Begin working on your landings with very small jumps. Do one jump at a time, and at the end of your landing check the alignment of your ankles, knees and hips. Once you can consistently land a single small jump, you can gradually add more power to your jumps or connect several small jumps. Add either a small amount of force or one more jump each time, and only add more when you can consistently land with proper technique.
While the basic mechanics of landing for a jump is the same for all types of jumps, dancers must alter several components. If you are a dancer, do not push your hips backwards when you land. Dancers must also keep their torsos completely upright on the landing.
Kat Black is a professional writer currently completing her doctorate in musicology/ She has won several prestigious awards for her research, and has had extensive training in classical music and dance.