Updated: Apr 2
Do you remember when was the last time you jumped in your 40s and felt good about it? I was there a few years ago. I definitely underestimated the benefits of agility training that emphasizes generating power quickly training fast twitching muscle fibers and keeping them healthy.
Before you start experimenting with jumping, you have to prepare your body to absorb the forces so your joints will not be impacted. In my Active8U Coaching program, we work exactly on that: improving lower body strength, mobility and balance.
Currently, I love adding dynamic movements to my strength training practice.
Our ability to react to the environment quickly keeps our brain sharp.
You have to rely on your ability to react quickly (fast twitching muscle fibers) when you are stepping on that icy spot or stepping over a stone while hiking.
Sometimes, it takes a coach to believe in you and give you a progressive plan. Of course, it is up to you to follow through the plan hoping for better results.
Did you watch the video above?
Did you hear or “feel” my soft landing? I was proud of that moment.
When I fully transitioned from yoga to strength training, I remember a moment when my trainer asked me to do some jumping on this little stool. I stood there for a while figuring out how to do it. It was not a part of my practice at all. Plus, I never was an athletic person.
I tried! It felt so weird. My brain had no recollection of jumping. My landing felt heavy and uncontrollable.
Then I heard: “Try to land softly!” I got puzzled again. “What does that even mean?” That was my first trainer and I did not know what to expect. I also did not know that by jumping more and more not very well, you may not get good at jumping especially in your 40s. Those fast twitching muscles of the achilles and caves did not have any springiness to them. They were stiff and non-responsive. I learned that afterwards.
I signed up for a HIIT class. Did I have to jump in that class?? Yes - burpees, jumping lunges, jumping over boxes and etc….. Did I mention that you do not really get better at jumping by jumping more especially in your 40s. What happened to me? My knees were begging me to stop. My heel pain and plantar fasciitis flared up. It started in my right foot and then transitioned to my left foot. It took me two years to heel my body from the ground up. Did I learn my lessons? Sometimes, repeating a broken record over and over again is not the best solution. I had to learn how to progressively restore my agility for the dynamic movements.
I had to regress in order to progress to jumping. I learned to prepare my body slowly and progressively from the ground up. My work included restoring my connection from feet to hips to core and breath. Now I progress every client to some form of a plyometric activity through a systematic approach to the lower body strength building. I also run a group coaching program that helps women 40+ to boost their level of fitness so they can return to their joyful walk, long and challenging hikes and running feeling strong and confident from the ground up. When you feel supported from the ground up, you have a better ability of resisting gravity and prolong your long distance walks.
Jumping is just one of the forms of fast moving movements or plyometrics. Why are they important especially in your 40s? It uses those fast twitching muscles keeping them springing and resilient. It also helps you develop a fast reaction when you may step on an icy spot or a stone while hiking. In my case with a history of plantar fasciitis, it has helped me build resiliency by strengthening muscles around my heels to reduce fascia straining.
Are there other benefits?
This article states many reasons why jumping is very beneficial for keeping our body in good shape especially if you want to hike in some challenging places, or walk many miles or return to running. If you simply want to keep your lower body strong and responsive to the ground, you need to include some form of dynamic activities in your strength training routine. Having a progressive plan is your key to success.
What are possible regressions?
Here are a few examples:
Here is a regressive version of my jumping progression.
- Hip Hinge and Inhale;
- Exhale and extend with power through from the bottom up shifting to the toes (heels up)
Many of my clients love this Sit to Jump progression.
- Exhale and keep rib cage to pelvis connection as you extend up;
- Inhale and squat down;
- Find your fluid rhythm;
The last word: dynamic movement is SIMPLY FUN! It boosts my mood and my happy hormone. Also, knowing I CAN DO IT is simply powerful. It is another way for me to feel empowered through movement. Yes, you can jump after 40!
Why not jumping backwards?
It is definitely more challenging just because we do not do many things backwards.
Why not? Try it!
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