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This high-impact cardio exercise will work every single muscle group

Beginners should sit this one out. Broad jumps are an explosive move that provide a full-body workout.
TODAY Illustration / Stephanie Mansour

 In this series, we’re helping you master basic exercises — as if you had a personal trainer by your side! Our goal is to equip you with the knowledge to perform these moves properly in order to get better results and prevent injury.

If you’re ready to kick your workouts up a notch, jump training is one of the simplest ways to do it. The movement of jumping calls on various muscle groups at once while also adding a cardio element to your workout. Because jumping requires us to use our upper body, legs, glutes and core, it’s a great way to get a full-body workout and get your heart rate up with no equipment. Over time, jumping can help us develop power and strength, which helps improve our performance in other types of exercise.

There are many exercises that require jumping. The broad jump is one of my favorites because it helps us feel our own power increase over time. However, the broad jump is not for beginners, and it requires practice and proper form to perform effectively.

What do broad jumps do for the body?

Broad jumps help increase our strength and power over time. The exercise tones the lower body from the calves to the glutes, strengthens the core and recruits the upper body as well. Because the move engages all of these muscle groups, it helps improve our coordination. Jump training also helps us develop explosive power — and you'll see the difference in your coordination and skill in future workouts.

The common mistakes people make when doing broad jumps

 It’s important to remember that broad jumps (and jumping in general) are a form of high-impact exercise that is hard on the knees and other joints in the body. So if you suffer from knee, hip or ankle issues, I would advise to stick with the modification or just do squats. 

Broad jumps require a lot of energy and therefore can be difficult for beginners or those who aren’t used to engaging various muscle groups at once. I’ve seen a lot of my clients swing their arms too much, causing them to lose control during the move.

I’ve also seen people not give enough energy when performing the move, taking only a small jump forward. Although it takes practice to figure out what feels right, it’s important to really give it your all and explode off the ground. To avoid these common mistakes, keep these tips in mind:

  • Swing your arms to maintain momentum, but don’t let them fly out of control.
  • Maintain a controlled movement of your body, engaging your core to make sure your upper and lower body stay coordinated.
  • Use all of your power to explode off of the floor when jumping forward and land with bent knees. Never lock your knees!

How to do a modified broad jump

Broad jumps require us to jump forward in space. If this seems too advanced or too high impact for you, there are other ways to challenge various muscle groups at once. If you’re looking for a modification, try the jump squat. You’ll still be using all of your energy to explode off the ground and following similar movements.

The modification is simply a jump in place, which will lessen the impact on the joints and require less energy than moving forward in space. Stand up straight with your feet hip-width apart and your arms at your side. Bend at the knees and extend your arms behind your body. Shift your weight to the balls of your feet before exploding off the ground. Jump straight up into the air, straightening your legs and raising your arms above your head before landing on the ground. If this is still too much impact, simply remove the jump and come up onto your toes before sinking back down into a squat. 

How to perform a broad jump correctly


The broad jump is similar to the jump squat, but you are moving forward in space. If you think you’re ready to try this advanced move, follow these steps:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend at the knees, extending your arms behind your torso.
  2. Bring your hips back and bend your knees to sit back into a half squat. Then, shift your weight onto the balls of your feet so that your heels are lifted off the ground.
  3. Explode into the air, pushing off the toes, and swing your arms forward and straight up above your head.
  4. Jump as high and as far forward as you can.
  5. Land on the ground with bent knees in a deep squat position to lessen the impact.

4 exercises that will help you perform broad jumps

Broad jumps require us to use a ton of energy and every muscle group. If you’re not used to this type of workout, start with these exercises to build up the strength required and master the form of each part of the full exercise.


Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, bend your knees and sit your hips back. Bend until you are in a squat position with your thighs parallel to the ground. Put your arms out in front of you for balance. Hold for a moment before using your glutes to push you back up to the starting position. Repeat 10 times.

Calf raises

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms at your sides. Hold a weight in each hand to increase difficulty. Use your calves to lift your heels off the ground, shifting your weight onto the balls of your feet and pushing up onto your toes. Return your heels to the ground. Repeat 10 times.

Jump forward and backward

Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Bend at the knees and extend your arms behind you. Jump forward a few feet, swinging your arms up toward the sky for momentum. Land softly with knees bent. Using the same movements, jump backward a few feet. Repeat 10 times front and back. 

Arm swings

Bend your knees into a half squat position. Swing both arms backward and then forward and up over your head in an exaggerated way, being sure to keep your arm muscles engaged (versus swinging them loosely). This will help you practice keeping your arms in control while using them for momentum like you will in the broad jump.

More ways to master the move: