Training for the horizontal jump will translate beyond taking your Physical Abilities Test (PAT). The jump requires a combination of mobility and athleticism, It takes another level of coordination to be able to pull off the jump mid-run, without losing momentum or excess energy.
The jump requires explosive strength, which is essential for athleticism. Here are my favorite exercises to develop lower body power to master the horizontal jump.
Exercises 1-5 are all POWER based exercises, while Ex 6-7 are STRENGTH focused. If you are new to strength training, check out my breakdown on How to Train for POWER and How to Train for STRENGTH. (Here are the cliff notes tho.... POWER: fewer reps with more speed, never do a bad rep; STRENGTH: lift heavy for 3-5 reps, push your fatigue but don't fail reps).
1. Broad Jump
Bilateral leg power. The Broad Jump is both a test and an exercise. Set up a tape measure to compare your jumps. Take 1-3 mins rest between sets of 1-3 reps. As soon as your average across the 3 reps drops below your previous set you are DONE.
Measure your progress over multiple training sessions.
2. Box Jumps
Pretty much the same philosophy for the Broad Jump. Less is more. Chris does a great job in this video touching on the basics of programming/integrating box jumps into your training.
Usually I use bounding as a warm up for power training, but if you struggle with the 5'/6' jump you can use it as a regular working set. Like any power exercise, make sure the quality doesn't go down. Personally, I like the version from the Prehab Guys (2nd video), because it forces you to control your landing and get used to finding your feet underneath you.
4. Power Skips
Power Skips are going to help you get the vertical trajectory you need to clear the mat. The jump is a combination of a bound and a vertical skip. Most people who struggle with the jump try to STEP over the mat instead of JUMP over the mat. This teaches you to jump.
5. Kettlebell Swing
The KB Swing can be either a power or a conditioning exercise. To perform the KB Swing as a POWER exercise, limit yourself to 5-6 reps with a HEAVY weight. Pick a weight that you would force you to slow down by 10 reps. As usual, limit your sets to as many as you can perform WITHOUT losing amplitude.
6. Pause Squats
These suck, but they make you stronger. That's all I have to say... Have fun suffering.
7. Rear Foot Elevated Split Squats
The jump is a unilateral power move, so it makes sense to develop some unilateral strength. RFESS are in my program pretty much every week.
Keep your form on point and feel your glutes burn.
Thanks for reading.
If you ever have ANY training questions, don't hesitate to hit me up: firstname.lastname@example.org