Jump to it to re­duce in­jury risk

Runner's World (UK) - - Injury -

WHEN YOUR FOOT HITS THE GROUND RUN­NING, many mus­cles in the legs and trunk lengthen as they con­tract. ‘This ‘ec­cen­tric’ con­trac­tion al­lows for a stronger ‘con­cen­tric’ con­trac­tion dur­ing the pushoff phase,’ ex­plains Joseph Mor­ley, a re­searcher at the Los An­ge­les Col­lege of Chi­ro­prac­tic, US. How­ever, it’s also the point at which mus­cles are most sus­cep­ti­ble to dam­age. ‘Ex­er­cises fo­cus­ing on ec­cen­tric con­trac­tions can strengthen the mus­cles and min­imise the chance of strains,’ says Mor­ley. A sta­tion­ary jump is his move of choice for work­ing the quads, calves and trunk mus­cles through an ec­cen­tric range. Per­form one set of 8-12 jumps, us­ing each of the fol­low­ing vari­a­tions:

1 / Stand with feet hip-dis­tance apart. Flex your knees and hips and ex­tend to jump up­wards, keep­ing a tall pos­ture. Land softly (balls of feet, then heels) and go im­me­di­ately into the next jump.

2 / Re­peat the first move, but flex your trunk slightly for­ward on land­ing to in­crease the ec­cen­tric ac­tiv­ity of the erec­tor spinae (sta­bil­is­ing mus­cles in the back). Go im­me­di­ately into the next jump.

3 / Re­peat the first move once more, but twist the trunk slightly to al­ter­nate sides as you land, to chal­lenge the trunk ro­ta­tors. (Don’t flex for­ward as well.) Take off again as you land.

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