The Health Benefits of Jump Training
How Jump Training and Force Plate Technology can strengthen and improve your balance.
If you’ve put on a few “pandemic pounds,” you’re not alone. Multiple studies confirm a link between high-stress levels caused by a lifestyle disruption from the COVID-19 pandemic, and weight gain. 42% of American adults have gained an average of 29 pounds since 2020, according to an American Psychological Association study.
The main reason behind pandemic weight gain has been the shift to a more sedentary life with less physical activity. Additional factors shown for weight gain include snacking (particularly after dinner), increased alcohol intake, decreased water intake, and emotional eating — all leading to a decline in sleep quality — another trigger for extra pounds.
Now that you can safely get out more, consider including (or intensifying) fitness in your life. When feeling out of shape, it can be daunting to begin a new exercise regime. Experts suggest working with a qualified trainer who can assess your fitness level, set health and wellness goals with you, and safely approach exercises suited for your needs and your body. And the best way to stick to a fitness regime is to incorporate something you’ll enjoy into your exercise plan.
That’s where Jump Training comes in. It’s a fun and safe way to build strength and balance at any age. No, we’re not suggesting that you start leaping into sand pits at the local high school track — although you may feel like you’re back in high school when Jump Training! We are suggesting that you reignite this childhood past-time to come away with a newfound understanding of the benefits of jumping.
So, what is Jump Training?
Jump Training is a sophisticated and well-monitored program that utilizes technology to determine health and fitness functionality. The Sports Medicine Professionals at Canyon Ranch use Jump Training technology to help create specific strategies and plans for guests to boost strength and neuromuscular balance, and improve posture, gait, vitality, and confidence.
“Jump Training is unique. It’s so fun, yet also yields many health benefits for people of all ages and fitness,” says Carlos Jimenez, Director of Sports Medicine for Canyon Ranch. “Jump Training increases bone mineral density, muscle girth and size, and reduces the risk of falls — all while burning calories — helping you lose weight and move confidently.”
A 72-year-old guest that Carlos recently worked with incorporated a Jump Training plan into her routine two days a week. Previously, she had poor balance and found herself intimidated to go on long walks. Now, she’s able to take weekly nature walks with confidence.
As mentioned, Jump Training has benefits for all ages and all fitness levels.
“Jump Testing and Training is something I did a lot when I worked with some of the best athletes in the world in the NBA. And it can be done safely and effectively no matter what age or experience,” reiterates Sam Barthel, a Performance Scientist at Canyon Ranch Tucson.
“Jump Testing on Force Plates is an important way for beginners to measure the function of the neuromuscular system, or nerves and muscles working together. Force Plates specifically allow us to see how high you jump, but more importantly — how you jump and land — which informs what jumping exercises your body needs,” Sam further explains.
For instance, Sam assisted a 62-year-old guest who wanted to lose some weight and gain strength before getting a knee replacement.
“We incorporated jumping into every session to maximize the fast-twitch muscle fibers. She loved how fast it got her heart rate up, as she was receiving small interval and cardio benefits to each workout,” Sam says. “This guest’s post-operation rehab has gone very smoothly, and he has received comments from doctors and physical therapists on how remarkably quick her quadricep strength returned after surgery.”
So, how exactly does Jump Training work?
Once you try this fitness strategy, you’ll meet with a physical trainer at a Canyon Ranch resort to sit down and connect. The first step is to discuss your current health and wellness and address any previous injuries or health concerns. Next, you start with exercises and stretches to prepare for jumping. When warmed up, you’ll be asked to step onto a machine called a Force Plate, which has a digital sensorized floor for motion analysis. It measures how fast and high you can jump as a diagnostic tool to test strength, posture, balance, and gait. The Force Plate garners information from the jumps (you’ll likely jump between two to five times) and then compares the information with statistical healthy average ranges per age group. For instance, if someone is determined to jump at low levels for height and force (compared with peers), a trainer will suggest specific exercises for improvement that will be safe. A person who tests at a different level may receive an entirely different jump training plan. For instance, Sam often suggests the use of hand supports, whether it's suspension straps or holding onto a rail or chair, to stabilize the upper body and take the focus straight to the lower body
“It’s critical to do the right exercises and with proper alignment and to utilize safe weight levels,” adds Carlos.
After Jump Training on-site, a personalized plan is created for guests to take home and incorporate, typically twice a week. Follow-ups occur afterward by phone to monitor progress and answer questions.
“I’d say the biggest perk to Jump Training is the ability to gain confidence,” says Carlos. “When I hear how people begin to enjoy life more, feel better, and have less fear of injury, I’m thrilled.”