Healthy, uninjured dancers have much to gain in strengthening their takeoff and landing muscles. Practicing pliés, followed by plié relevés and full jumps in parallel—looking in the mirror to monitor alignment—is a great way to fine-tune jumping technique anytime, say physical therapists Emily Sandow and Sarah Edery-Altas.
Keep your hips facing forward and knees tracking over the toes as you plié before takeoff and after you land. Try it on one foot at a time, incorporating the same form, for insight into strength imbalances.
“If the plié in parallel doesn’t have great alignment or plié to relevé doesn’t have great alignment, the risks [for injury] are much greater,” Sandow says. “We want dancers to be able to know their knee is tracking over their toe. All the fundamental things we think about at the barre must be applied to jumps.”