Whether you are a highly trained athlete or a workout novice, proper jumping and landing form plays a huge role in injury prevention. Jumping is advantageous for total body conditioning, cardiovascular health, and generating power. However, jumping is a high impact exercise and requires proper form to reap the most benefit. Improper landing form puts excessive stress on your joints including: hips, knees, and ankles. Landing softly and quietly is a good sign that you are absorbing the impact of the landing.
The two main ways we absorb the impact of landing is by utilizing our bigger muscles and allowing for mobility in our joints. Upon landing you want to have active glutes (and if you want to read more about activating your booty, check out our Sleeping Booty article here!) as well as your hamstrings; research shows that keeping the weight back in your booty and not allowing your body weight to shift forward into your quads places less strain on your ACL and can help prevent knee injury(Kelsey). Next up, another major muscle group you need to utilize is your abdominals! Keeping your core tight and active helps to stabilize through the hips and lower body, as well as, protecting your lower back from absorbing the impact (Again, super important muscle group! Check it out here).
The second way we absorb the impact is through mobility in our joints. In other words, you want to make sure you are allowing your joints to bend, not landing stiff-legged. When you land think about landing on the balls of your feet first and rolling the weight through your foot evenly until your heels reaches the ground. Simultaneously, your joints are in action helping to absorb your landing. As soon as your feet touch the ground your knees start to bend; by the time your heels are flat on the ground your knees should be completely bent. You are also absorbing through your hips, as you sit your weight back your will naturally push your hips back as if you were sitting back into a chair, this hip flexion helps to minimize shock taken by the hip joint.
All together, stabilization of large muscle groups and mobility of hip, knee, and ankle joints will help you to land softly. Landing softly is your cue that the shock of the jump has been properly absorbed! When you sound like an elephant upon landing, that is your cue to focus in on proper landing mechanics again.
Kelsey, Patrick. “Learn To Absorb Your Jumps And Cuts Better And Avoid Injury.” Ulitworld, 16 Jan. 2015, ultiworld.com/2015/01/16/learn-absorb-jumps-cuts-better-avoid-injury/.