A split jump is an exercise done in repetitions or timed intervals meant to target the upper legs as well as the gluteal and abdominal muscles. To perform this move, one first drops into a lunge by stepping one foot forward. Then, the individual lowers himself toward the ground until a 90-degree angle is formed by the bend in both knees. Then, one jumps into the air, fully leaving the ground, and switches the placement of the feet, with the opposite foot now forward. This jump is repeated, switching back and forth between lead legs. Dumbbells may be used to increase the intensity of the workout.
Form can be an important factor when doing any exercise, especially when hand weights are added, in order to avoid injury. During the split jump, one may help prevent hurting oneself by keeping the lead leg's toes aimed straight ahead, yet pulled up off the floor and in toward the shins—doing so will help one to land softly. This form may also help to push off into the jump using the correct muscles so as to create the least amount of impact and strain possible. The leading knee should stay behind the toes. Those who have knee problems or have been advised against high-impact workouts should not perform a split jump without supervision.
When one pushes off the feet entering the jump, it may be helpful to engage the gluteal muscles in addition to the quadriceps. Keeping that idea in mind may help not only with power, but in achieving more of a total body workout. One should also strive to keep the core muscles engaged throughout, as they tend to help with stability and balance.
One can also incorporate more of an upper body workout when doing a split jump. Using the momentum of swinging the arms forward going into the jump could help to gain more height during the exercise. One should not, however, rely only on this momentum.
The split jump falls under the category of plyometrics exercises in which muscles are contracted and released quickly. Plyometrics are believed by many fitness experts to be a fast way to improve cardiovascular health and muscular strength. Split jumps may be quite difficult when one first tries the move; 10 to 15 seconds may be a sufficient goal interval for beginners.
An individual may choose a number of repetitions to complete, such as 20 jumps in total, or 15 jumps off the right leg for a total of 30 jumps. Another option is to focus on the time interval and try to gradually increase it. A common ultimate goal for split jump intervals is one minute with a short period of rest, followed by a second and possibly a third interval.