Bodyweight Jump Squats: A Perfect Exercise That Builds Muscle And Burns Fat

When it comes to gaining muscle and burning fat one of the best bodyweight exercises are jump squats.  Although it is a rare exercise to see in any gym they are an extremely effective way of turning your next muscle-building program in to a cardio workout.

Although bodyweight workout routines are not very popular among typical gym goers, and anyone looking to lift weight, when these exercises are done right they can be a great complement to weight training or they can work independently and as effectively as any other strength training workout.

Benefits of A Jump Squat

  • Build Athleticism
  • Stimulates Fast Twitch Muscle Growth
  • Builds Explosiveness
  • Builds Strength and Speed
  • Builds Power
  • Is A Plyometric Exercise

Why Bodyweight Squat Jumps Burn Fat And Make You Lean

As you can see from the list above there are many benefits with this exercise.  When performing this exercise you are helping trigger muscle growth through explosive movements.  In order for the legs to adapt to explosive movements it has to adapt by creating lean muscle.

A simple bodyweight squat only forces the legs to carry the weight of the body through repetitive movements.  By adding a jump the legs have to carry the weight of the body plus get it to forcefully lift off the ground and land.  This exercise improves vertical jumping ability and helps increase speed as well.

When we add a jump to a squat it not only forces the muscles to work but also gets the heart rate elevated the same as any cardio workout.  When we combine both the muscle building and cardio benefits together the fat burning abilities increase greatly.

Make It Twitch For Strong Muscular Legs

You have probably looked at a football player, soccer player, basketball player or any other athlete who requires jumping in their sport.  Their legs are very muscular.  Due to the explosive nature of these sports their legs develop a higher degree of fast twitch muscle.  Fast twitch muscles are what give the body a leaner and muscular appearance.

Compare the legs of athletes who do movements and workouts in short bursts with those who train for endurance like a long distance or marathon runner.  Someone who exercises for endurance or distance has a thinner looking physique, as they do not require fast twitch muscles in order to be explosive.

In order to increase and stimulate fast twitch muscle growth the best way to do so is through burst training and plyometric exercises.

How To Perform A Jump Squat

If you have ever seen or performed a traditional squat using weights then you will know how to perform a bodyweight jump squat.

  • Begin by standing with feet shoulder width apart
  • Lower your body at the hips into a seated position
  • Jump as high as you can
  • Do not land with feet straight but rather come down to the seated position on landing

Weighted Jump Squats vs. Bodyweight Jump Squats

Although many athletes perform a weighted version of this exercise using dumbbells or barbells this is not something I see necessary or ideal for the typical person.  Athletes use weights in order to increase the load and demand on their legs.  However, for the average person it can be risky on the lower back when adding additional weight.  Simply use a bodyweight version of this exercise and you will be fine.

At What Point In Your Workout Should You Perform This Exercise?

These exercises can be done before beginning your leg workout, also as a warm-up doing lower body plyometrics workouts or at the end of your weight training.  There really is no ideal or perfect method. If you are doing weight training for your legs it may be best to leave the jump variations until the end as you may find yourself taxing the muscles too early which could affect quality of your weight training.

A Workout That Combines Squat Jumping For Fat Loss And Muscle Growth

The following is a workout I began practicing several years ago that incorporates weight training for legs, jumping squats and interval cardio that develops strong legs and also burns fat very effectively.

Deadlifts- 4 sets of 6 to 8 repetitions; rest 1 minute between sets

Squats- 4 sets of 6 to 8 repetitions; rest 1 minute between sets

Leg Press (optional)- 3 sets of 6 to 8 repetitions; rest 1 minute between sets

Sprint running for 15 minutes in the following sequence

  • Walk for 2 minutes
  • Sprint for 1 minute
  • Walk for 2 minutes
  • Sprint for 1 minute
  • Walk for 2 minutes
  • Sprint for 1 minute
  • Walk for 2 minutes
  • Sprint for 1 minute
  • Walk for 2 minutes
  • Sprint for 1 minute

Jump Squats- 3 to 4 sets of 10 repetitions

Rest 30 seconds between sets

The above workout sequence has been a favorite of mine for quite some time.  It is challenging on the legs but forces the muscles to grow through a combination of explosiveness and bursts of activity.  This workout should only be done once a week in order to allow the legs to rest and recover.

For a strictly bodyweight version of this routine you can simply eliminate the weighted squats, deadlifts and leg press and only perform the sprints and bodyweight squat jumps twice a week.

Include jump squats regularly in your lower body workouts and you will find that it is not only a fun exercise but also great at building lean muscle, burning fat and building athleticism.

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