A Wonderfully Simple Way To Improve Athleticism At Home

One guaranteed way to get yelled at as a kid is to jump off of furniture.
A couch, a bed, anything that was just high enough off the ground to create a house-shaking landing typically does the trick.
The funny thing is, that desire to challenge our limits to land from height in our younger years is actually a tremendous tool for building strength, power and speed down the road.
I know this seems a bit crazy, but hear me out.
Athleticism is best developed early in life through free play - running, jumping, throwing, kicking - all without the structure of team sports.
When we think of jumping, we usually correlate its value to the takeoff portion, but it is the landing that really does the most for our development.
Landing from height develops our ability to absorb force (called eccentric strength). The more eccentric strength we develop, the higher our capacity to produce force.
So the more force we train ourself to absorb, the more strength we develop.
And of course faster athletes spend less time on the ground because they can absorb higher forces and quickly bounce off into the next stride.
While all of this jumping off of things around the house may not be ideal for the furniture, it does have a genuinely positive effect on the athletic future of the jumper.
Now of course there is an element of danger here too. Jump from too great a height and you could get injured, so you need to be smart about it.
But something simple like jumping off the last step on a flight of stairs, then the 2nd step, then maybe a 3rd or 4th (probably no more than that, ever) can progressively develop eccentric strength for anyone.
Sometimes the best ways to become more athletic in our younger years are the simplest.

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