One of the most fundamental and yet neglected movement skills in parkour is maximal running long jumps, while there are a few examples of people who train this very consistently, it often gets lost in the focus on flip, flow, and vaults. This is problematic because a simple running jump is the most efficient means to cover large gaps and a powerful single leg take off opens up a wide variety of movement opportunities.
Last week we covered the precision jump and the necessity of repetition in training this capacity. The maximal running long jump is a different beast it responds best to a moderate volume of technique work developing the pieces and then a low volume of maximal work.
A true maximal running long jump at near full running speed involves extremely high force loads in hip ankle and knee, elite long jumpers usually train full jumps into the pit only a couple times per week with 6-8 jumps per session. Beyond this the body starts to break down. To supplement this they do a ton of speed and plyometric work the reason being in a running jump the distance is determined by the speed at take off and the elevation in the air, if you can get high in the air then your speed will carry you a long way. So you need to be fast and able to jump high and then able to blend speed with jumping high.
That ability to blend is where the difficulty lies, we need enough time on the ground in our final two steps to drop the hips down and then explosively extend them, however too much time on the ground will result in large braking forces and loss of speed. For most novices in jumping the biggest problem is focusing too much on the distance of the landing resulting in a low take off angle and lack of height. On the flip side when we focus to much on the take off and getting up out of it we over stride and cause large braking forces.
Jumping into a pit or soft surface is good place to start in developing your running jump take off because it it eliminates the worry about the landing, precision jumping practice is important but it will have minimal ability to develop maximal power because of the need to focus on the controlled landing.
So find a soft surface today to jump on today and work on finding the balance between holding your speed through your take off and being able to get up as much as possible.
Here is a simple long jumping protocol
Dynamic warm up
3×30 fly in sprints
1×20 meters of power skips
1×20 meters of bounds
6x a 7 step approach run The goal of the approach run is just to dial the distance for the approach to hit clean on take off on the 7th step, as you progress in long jumping you can learn to do longer approach runs to utilize more speed but 7 steps is close to maximal for most novices and still controllable and not too complicated its also about as far as you ever get to run up in a parkour context.
6 pops ups here we work on actually beginning to jump but not worrying about distance at all just run in pop up land and run out.
5x long jumps: now we are going to go ahead and lift our legs up in the jump and reach out with them to try and increase our distance, focus primarily on good speed and good height, fixing the landing to maximize distance is the last priority once the take off has been honed in.
Your inspiration the incredible long jump world record battle between Mike Powell and Carl Lewis.