Getting More Height In Your Leaps

Reader Question:

Do you have any tips for leaping higher?  My dance teacher says my leaps are good, but I wish I could get higher in the air.  What can I do?

Leaps are a skill that a lot of dancers struggle with. Leaps are an essential part of many dance styles, and being able to achieve a high, graceful leap can add a lot of impact to a performance. There are so many things to consider – the position of your hips, your front leg, core strength, If you’re looking to increase your height in leaps, here are a few tips to try:

  1. Practice proper technique – The key to achieving a high leap is good technique. Make sure you are using proper alignment and body positioning, and focus on engaging your core and using your back muscles to propel you into the air.
  2. Stretch – make sure you have properly stretched your calves and hamstrings prior to leaping.
  3. Build Flexibility – by working on achieving a full split.
  4. Strengthen your legs and core – Strong leg and core muscles will help you achieve more height in your leaps. Incorporate exercises such as squats, lunges, and pliés into your dance training to build strength in your legs. Try core-strengthening exercises such as planks and crunches to improve your stability and control.
  5. Practice using different takeoff points – Experimenting with different takeoff points can help you find the one that allows you to achieve the most height. Try taking off from a flat foot, a demi-pointe, or even a full pointe to see which works best for you.
  6. Practice leaping with no prep or only one step preceding the leap. No chasse, no chaine, no run-run. Just one step in deep plié and LEAP! The more you practice leaping without a prep (standing position); the better and higher your leaps will get with the prep.
  7. Ankle weights – get some that are about a pound and a half! Wear them across the floor for technique (not just for leaps but battements and even turns), as well as wear them during barre work. You will be amazed by the results.
  8. Think of traveling the leap rather than trying to stop it mid-air. You will not only go higher, but your back leg will stay up longer and straighter!
  9. As you leap, look up a bit to help increase your height in leaps.
  10. Experiment with different shapes and styles of leaps – Different styles of leaps may feel more comfortable. From straight-leg leaps, to split leaps to switch leaps, each one requires slightly different skills. 
  11. While trying to improve the height in your leaps, remember not to sacrifice height for proper technique such as keeping your toes pointed and your knees straight.

Last Week’s Question

9 COMMENTS

  1. my dance coach tells me to go into a deeper plié to get mine higher so that might help too

  2. I’m so glad you’re tackling this element. Height makes dancing even more fun!
    I have a couple disagreements with your tips:

    You should never do static stretching (where you hold the stretch longer than 10 seconds) right before dancing. This can actually decrease your power and lift for a couple hours afterward.
    Getting your flexibility up IS important though. Try doing dynamic stretching before you dance and save a good long static stretch for after.

    Weights:
    Jumping with ankle or held weights is terrible for your joints. You want to have knees and ankles when you’re 30. Wear weights for barre work and standing, low impact drills and battlements, but remove for across the floor and for when both feet leave the ground.

    Thanks!

    • I did what you said and yours advice helped me so much the rest of my team mates did what this said and they failed thank you so so so so so SOOOOOOOO much you saved me

  3. You do an amazing job of offering advice and encouragement to the ladies posting these questions. I would add, practice, practice, practice. You can leap anywhere! Keep on leaping, even if your friends and family think you are crazy. Take pics of yourself leaping and eventually you will get higher and higher!

  4. Another tip is to focus on the height of your intiating grand battement/extension in your leap. The higher your grand battement/extension, the higher your leap will be as your pelvis and torso rise up towards the height of your leg in the air.

  5. I like how you said that ankle weights are a great way to heighten your leaps. I have been doing ballet for years but need help with some technique. Thanks for the tips on getting high leaps.

  6. So because I have long legs and a short torso, will I not be able to leap higher? 🙁

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