Last week I listed the many benefits of jumping. Let’s jump back, pun intended, to the fundamental exercises listed in the second book of The Natural Method trilogy, the jumping chapter being part of the 3rd book on functional training (in its “complete” meaning, not the reductive misunderstood concept of asinine drills often seen and described as “functional”).
As Hébert wrote, the drills in the second book constitute a primer, a prerequisite for proper development and preparation of the joints, muscles and movement patterns associated with the major aspects of being a well-rounded athlete: walking, running, jumping, swimming, climbing, lifting, throwing, self-defense and games/sports/manual labor.
So, in order to be able to jump well, it is important to not neglect the training of the legs. Here’s a excerpt (abridged from the chapter on leg training) from the Fundamental Exercises:
“Main benefits of the leg movements.
Toe elevation acts on the extensors of the foot (gastrocnemius and soleus muscles making up the calf).
The elevation of the leg mainly works on the thigh flexors (iliopsoas, anterior forward of the femoral triceps), the leg extensors (femoral triceps) as well as foot extensors, and secondarily on the abdominals and trunk extensors.
The lateral elevation of the leg works on the abductors of the upper leg (buttocks), the abdominals and especially the lateral trunk flexors (lumbar quadratus, external and internal obliques, core).
The elevation of the leg backwards works on the extensors of the upper leg (buttocks), as well as the spine and the abdominals.
The angle of lean of the body in relation to a vertical line must be very small in order to not lose balance/equilibrium, during a movement.
Flexion of the lower limbs works on the leg and foot extensors (quadriceps, gastrocnemius and soleus). Flexion with spread legs laterally has an extra action on the adductors and the thigs.
The forward slit has an action on the straightening of flexion of the spine and stabilization of the shoulders.
Example of a movement combining leg and arm movements.
Forward slit: 1) with both arms elevated in line with the trunk. 2) with one arm up, one arm back. 3) With both arms extended backwards. 4) with lateral straight arm raise, palms facing up.
The backwards slit has a very intense action on the abdominal muscles, which workt through by getting shorter, if the alignment of the Upright Stance is repected.
The lateral slit works on the oblique musculature and the sacral-lumbar muscles on the opposite side.
in all leg movements, the trunk is never flexed at the hips, not forward, not backwards, not laterally.”