The skater jump is one of the most effective ways to incrementally build strength and stability in the lower legs, ankles, and feet while also challenging balance and coordination. Plus, this lateral bounding move can help correct left–right imbalances and give your cardiovascular system a run for its money.
These single-leg, side-to-side jumps can vary in speed and be small or large — ranging from a hop from one foot to the other to a bound that spans several feet.
To get the most from this move and avoid injury, aim for maintaining control above all else. Large jumps aren’t worth it if you can’t stick the landing. And moving fast doesn’t offer much benefit if you lose your balance or twist an ankle.
Start slow and small, keeping your landings soft. Get a feel for the jump and control of the motion. Notice when the jump is too wide or too fast. Trust that in time, with practice, your skill will expand.
Try adding skaters to your warm-up or incorporate them into a strength-and-conditioning circuit. The move also translates well to plyometric work, quickly raising your heart rate. The key is to move explosively — and, remember, always under control.
1. Start with your feet at hip width and knees slightly bent, as if you were doing a quarter squat. Push off your right foot to hop to your left, landing gently.
2. Lower onto your left heel, allowing your knee to bend into a partial single-leg squat. Bring your right foot behind your left ankle.
Tip: Keep your knees bent and feet facing forward.
3. Push quickly off your left foot to hop back to your right. Alternate sides for rep count or the duration of an interval; take care to stick each landing.
Tip: Land softly and under control. Don’t jump again until you have regained balance.
Tip: Keep an upright posture with a proud chest.
4. Play around with long strides as well as jumps that are short and fast. You can add weight by holding a light medicine ball or dumbbell.
Tip: Let your arms move freely, crossing in front of your body as you jump.
Tip: Keep your core engaged throughout the movement.