8 exercises for better leaps
Here are some exercises that will help you with your leaps. We are breaking down different elements you need to take into consideration while doing a leap: landing, and shape mainly as these are things many gymnasts struggle with. They are easy to follow, and they are an alternative to repeat a leap again and again, which can be boring after a while and even a little tedious. Make sure you are warmed up and stretched before doing these exercises. C
Do each of these exercises, for one minute with each leg, unless there is a certain amount of reps specified. If you are using both feet for the exercise equally, make it two minutes. Any question or problem? Comment or contact me to get some feedback!!
PS. This video was done in the morning, and I didn't stretch. The nerve pain medicine I take did not kick in so my back was painful. This means that you need to kick my legs much higher and straighter than me unless you are injured too! Also, check the video to follow and visualise what this exercises are meant to look like, but it's essential to read the description of each exercise below to do it properly. Make sure you pay attention.
1. With the help of chair or two stable and flat surfaces on each side of your body (ex. tables, chair), support your upper body leaning your arms straight and tight and kick front leg and then land on it putting your leg back in an arabesque position. Kick the engaged leg in the arabesque back and land on that leg this time (leg in the back) and land in a front leg balance. Try kicking your legs as high as you possibly can focusing all your attention on keeping legs straight and tight!
2. With the support of your stable surfaces (do not chance the set up from the previous exercise), hold yourself up and kick your legs simulating a split leap and switch side each time!
3.Use an old towel or jumper and put it on the floor close to a wall, lay your back on it facing this wall. Put your feet against it and hold your turn out. You should be in a plie position on the floor. Now, push your legs against the floor to simulate a jump. Remember, once you the wall away your feet should be pointed and your legs as tight as they can be! You need to measure how far from the wall you got and try to go further the next time, this will help you get nice and high leaps.
4.Put a little cross mark on the floor. You can use tape, chalk or anything that your parents have at home. Stand on the cross in a turnout and after going through plie, jump with your legs together as high as you can, and land on the same spot in a turn out too. This will train you to control your landings after a leap.
5. This time we will jump on the cross on the floor. Any leaps you have in your routine, you can practice it with this exercise. If you don’t know what leap to start with, split, stag, or ring are· always a good idea. On your turn out, jump into your leap shape. Just a jump, you don’t need to do your chasses into it. Then land your leap on the cross, in a releve. It’s going to be harder you have a good shape in the air just jumping staying on the x, but that is okay. This exercise is also useful for controlling your landing.
6. Do you have enough space at home? Try to get 10 perfect leaps ( 10x split, 10x stag and 10x ring /10x any leap in your routine). If you don’t do a second round of the previous exercise.
7. Kicks are a simple but very effective way to improve your leaps. Most of you know the right technique for these, so don’t be afraid to overdo them. Do between 30 and 50 kicks with each leg to each side (front /side /back) depending on your level. We will leave up to you how many you should do but be honest with yourself, try your hardest to do proper kicks. This means they have to be extra high, your toes should be pointed, and the hand is not against a surface should be out and tight. Do not twist your hips!!!!
8. Put your back leg on a big flat surface (your bed may work with a few pillows on top maybe?) in a split position and stand only with the leg you would have in the front of your leaps. Make sure the back leg is at hip level. Are you aligned and comfortable? Good, now try to kick that front leg to simulate a leap and land because you fall on the floor, obviously. When kicking your legs, it should go as high as it can so it looks like it should while doing a real leap.