Tip: The Bodyweight Leg Destroyer

Ramp up your low-body training with this athletic move.

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The Forward and Backward Squat Hop

If you're a lifter, odds are you can perform a few bodyweight squats, so this should be manageable for most (at least the forward variation).

This has the added difficulty of a small plyometric move, and teaches your body to use the stored elastic energy in the glutes and hamstrings at the bottom of the squat to "bounce" you back up. Although doing a squat hop forward is relatively natural, doing it backwards is a very unnatural movement that requires a lot of proprioception, balance, and coordination to successfully complete the movement.

Here's how to do it:

  • Be sure to land on the balls of your feet before transferring your weight to your heels.
  • Once your heels are planted, push your hips back, and drive your knees outward just as you would perform a normal bodyweight squat.
  • Keep your chest up and maintain a strong flat back so you're using your legs and not relying on your lower back to get you through the movement.

The goal with this movement isn't to jump as high as possible, but to keep every squat jump smooth so that one hop flows right into the next. Try completing 3 rounds of 10 yards both forward and backward with no rest.

TJ Kuster is a certified athletic trainer (ATC) and certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS), specializing in mobility and injury prevention. He coaches at Method Sports Performance in Bloomington, IL.