Barrier lateral jumps are one of the most effective exercises that can help you gain strength, speed and endurance. This is a physical activity that will challenge a variety of muscle groups, while simultaneously increasing the heart rate. The combination of strength training and cardiovascular challenge can take your fitness routine to a higher level.
A barrier lateral jump is executed from a standing position. You jump up and over an object in one direction – say for example from left to right. As soon as your feet hit the floor, you jump up and back over the object again. The “barrier” in this exercise is the object that you are jumping over.
The necessary equipment for doing barrier lateral jumps is very basic. First and foremost, you need to have a firm surface. Carpeted floors are not safe for this exercise, so go for concrete, tile, linoleum or firm grass instead. You also need to make sure you are wearing an athletic shoe with plenty of support, as this exercise is very high impact. Finally, you need to find the right size barrier. The height and width of the barrier are the most important elements. A tall or wide barrier will be significantly more challenging to jump over than a shorter or narrower one. Some appropriate barrier choices include boxes, step aerobics benches, or weight benches. With a firm surface, the right shoes and a barrier, you are ready to start jumping.
A properly executed barrier lateral jump will involve not only the legs in the jumping motion, but it will also engage the arms. Swing your arms to create more momentum and engage the muscles of the upper body. Finish your jumps with soft knees, as opposed to rigid ones which can create too much impact. The knees act like shock absorbers in the barrier lateral jump. Envision a spring bouncing from side to side.
It’s easy to modify barrier lateral jumps to meet your unique fitness needs. As you gain strength and stamina, you can adjust the height and width of your barrier to make it more challenging. You can also alternate between a short barrier and a tall barrier, as well as a narrow barrier and a wide barrier to make this exercise more interesting. Barrier lateral jumps work well as an interval training exercise, meaning that you can do them for a set amount of time and the rest for two to three times the duration of the exercise. For example, if you do barrier lateral jumps for 30 seconds, you can take a full minute to rest and then repeat the exercise. Allowing the heart rate to slow and the body ample time to recover between exercises will challenge your body and mind.
Barrier lateral jumps get the heart rate elevated quickly and engage all of the major muscle groups in the body. You can do them at the beginning of a workout, in the middle of your day at work, or to finish off a training session.