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Triple joint extension, which refers to a simultaneous extension of your hips, knees and ankles, is a key component in powerful, explosive movements such as jumping, sprinting and Olympic weightlifting. Incorporating triple extension exercises into your workout can improve your performance in many sports, including football, volleyball and basketball.
Vertical jumps allow you to train the movement of triple extension without added resistance, using just your body weight. Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Swing your arms back as you quickly flex your hips, knees and ankles. Jump up explosively, extending your hips, knees and ankles. When you land, absorb the impact by again flexing hips, knees and ankles. Land on your whole foot, distributing your weight evenly between your heels and the balls of your feet, then repeat.
Box jumps add to the difficulty of vertical jumps. Stand in front of a stable plyometric box. Flex your hips, knees and ankles and swing your arms back, Quickly jump up, landing on the box in a half squat with your hips, knees and ankles flexed. As in a vertical jump, land on your whole foot. Step off the box or, for more challenge, jump off the box, then repeat. Start with a low box. As you get stronger, you can increase the difficulty by moving to a higher box.
The Olympic lifts -- the snatch and clean-and-jerk, as well as related exercises such as the power clean -- are explosive triple extension exercises. The snatch involves lifting a barbell from the floor, followed by an explosive jump when the bar reaches the upper thighs, allowing the athlete to catch the bar in an overhead squat position. In the clean, the athlete jumps and catches the bar in a front squat position, supporting the bar on the fronts of the shoulders. The jerk requires the athlete to jump again, catching the bar with the arms overhead. Because Olympic lifts are highly complex, technical movements, they should always be learned from a qualified coach.
Before beginning your workout, warm up with easy, dynamic movements such as marching or lunging. Because the powerful, explosive movements involved in jumping and Olympic weightlifting require good form, practice them while you are still fresh, early in your workout. Jumping can stress your joints. When practicing vertical jumps or box jumps, beginners should limit themselves to no more than 80 to 100 foot falls. Rest at least two to three minutes between sets, and at least 48 hours between workouts. To stretch your calves and hamstrings after your workout, you can perform a pike straight leg calf stretch, similar to the downward-facing dog pose in yoga. Starting on all fours, lift your hips up into the air, straighten your knees and press your heels back until you feel a stretch in the back of your legs.