The basic jump lunge is a fantastic plyometric exercise, and it gets even better with the variations we add this week to create the “Tornado Jump Lunge.” Using plyometric movements in bodyweight training is an incredible way to add variation to your program or a specific exercise. The tempo of a movement can completely change the outcome. If you train with faster, more explosive movements, then your body will adapt by producing more speed and explosive power.
The Stretch Reflex
The function behind a plyometric movement is something called a stretch reflex. It’s a neuromuscular reaction of a quick lengthening of a muscle followed by a rapid contraction. As an example, let’s look at a regular vertical jump. It’s almost impossible to get any height without first bending at the knee and hip, right? That’s the stretch reflex – the neuromuscular response to the quick stretch of the quad (thigh) by bending the knee, followed by the fast contraction, which extends the knee creating power for the jump. This same action happens at the hip.
Plyometrics in the Tornado Jump Lunge
Some of the most common plyos you’ll see are the jump lunge or the squat jump. But for this week’s exercise, we’ve added a unique variation to the classic jump lunge. As I’ve mentioned in other posts, most lower body movements typically move in single planes, emphasizing only the quads, glutes and hamstrings. In the Tornado Jump Lunge we’ve now challenged all of those muscles with the addition of inner and outer leg muscles like the adductors and glute medius, as well as the entire network of deep hip rotators. Throw in the powerful benefits of the plyometric action and this is one killer leg exercise!
This can be a complicated move to master, so in the video I also include two other exercises I recommend starting out with, either as your dynamic warm-up or as learning progressions. You don’t want to hurt yourself trying these out!
Now I know at first glance this exercise may make you think of the river dance or a ballet move but I guarantee that when you give it a shot it will be a truly humbling experience!