Doing more unusual exercises like single leg hops can also offer benefits. Find out how to do the movement and what the effects are.
As the name implies, single leg hops are an exercise where you jump up and down on one leg.
The most common way to do this “exercise” is to do smaller jumps.
This version would make single leg hops more of a warmup, coordination, and balance exercise.
You can also go through your leg a relatively high amount and focus on jumping really high.
Doing single leg hops this way makes it more of a plyometric leg exercise that engages your calves, quadriceps, and glutes a nice amount.
In turn, this second variation would focus more on improving leg muscle power and potentially even building muscle.
You do want to know that there is a certain risk of creating muscle imbalances when doing single hops.
How to do a single leg hop
If you want to do a really explosive single leg hop variation, it is smart to warm up your muscles and joints first.
That aside, take the following steps to do the warmup version of a single leg hop:
- Stand upright with your feet together.
- Raise one leg off the ground. Hold on to a sturdy object or use your arms for balance if needed.
- Jump up and down. Depending on what body parts you want to engage you can change what muscles you use. You can use your calves or quadriceps of the support leg or hip flexors of the leg in the air. Make sure your support leg is slightly less than stretched so it can fold a bit on impact.
- Repeat the same number of single leg hops or minutes on the other leg.
Initially, single leg hops can feel really challenging in terms of balance.
This should get easier as you do the exercise more often.
When it comes to technique, you mainly want to focus on keeping your upper body upright and your leg slightly folded during single leg hops.
Single leg hops muscles worked
When doing the smaller single leg hops, the exercise will mainly work your calves and quadriceps (front thighs).
You can also say the hip flexors of the non-support leg have to work to some extent.
These same muscles have to work in single leg hops that are really plyometric-focused but this variation will also work your glutes (butt) and hamstrings (back thighs) a bit more.
Additionally, muscles like your inner thighs, outer thighs/hips, and core muscles will keep you upright during all of these variations.
The warm-up version of single leg hops will work your muscles but likely not to the extent where you actually see any training results.
If you really go through your knee and jump high, you can improve muscle power in the main muscles you work and potentially even see some growth.
Really advanced individuals who want to see these last two results to a larger extent could even consider doing single leg hops with dumbbells or similar weights.
Single leg hops benefits
Single leg hops as a warmup before intenser workouts or as an exercise on their own can offer nice benefits. Some examples are:
- Injury prevention: Warming up your muscles with single leg hops can help you avoid injuries in more intense workouts that engage the same areas.
- Improved athletic performance: Another benefit of warming up with single leg hops is that it can actually improve your performance in competitions. Additionally, doing the plyometric version can improve leg muscle power which could help you run faster.
- Balance and coordination: Single leg hops are relatively challenging in terms of balance and coordination which can be a good thing if you want to improve these skills.
- No equipment or location required: Single leg hops offer a lot of resistance without equipment. In turn, you don’t have to invest in equipment or spend time going to specific locations.
- Potentially build muscle: Plyometric leg exercises like single leg hops can generally help you build muscle.
Single leg hops are not necessarily the best option for these benefits but they can help to a nice extent.
Single leg hop alternatives
Single leg hops can be good but you could also conclude that you want something with less risk for muscle imbalances or simply want to change things up.
In these cases, you can consider one of the single leg hop alternatives below:
- Power skips
- Jump squats
- High knees
- Balance board exercises
- Agility ladder drills
- Butt kicks
Whether you want to warm up or really improve certain fitness components will influence what single leg hop alternatives you prefer a lot.
Are single leg hops a good exercise?
Small single leg hops can be a good exercise to warm up, improve balance and improve coordination.
The high-jump single leg hops could be suited for leg muscle growth, strength, and power progress.
For the high-jump version, you do want to keep in mind that it is hard to make single leg hops equally challenging on each side.
In turn, these involve a certain risk of creating muscle imbalances which can lead to injuries and/or an uneven look.
That means depending on your training goals, certain exercise alternatives could be better options than single leg hops.
It is worth noting that personal preference matters to some extent too. If you like doing single leg hops, you may be willing to give up some effectiveness.
What are single leg hops?
Single leg hops are an exercise where you jump up and down on one leg.
You can keep the jumps low to warm up and improve coordination or really jump high to improve leg power and size.