A leg hop is an exercise designed to improve muscle strength and explosiveness, which is the ability to produce movement forcefully and quickly. It can be executed in several different ways: a single leg hop requires the person doing the exercise to jump in a particular direction on one leg only, landing on that same leg to propel the body in a specific direction again. Double leg hops require the person to use both legs to propel the body in a particular direction. These exercises are usually part of a larger training routine for athletes or other fitness exercisers.
The muscles that are generally strengthened by doing a leg hop include the calves, hamstrings, quads, and even the muscles of the feet. Performing the exercise is not exceptionally difficult, but it can become strenuous very quickly. The double leg hop starts by positioning the feet about hip width apart, then jumping forward and landing squarely on both feet. In some instances, the person doing the exercise may choose to squat upon landing, thereby working the muscles of the thighs, though some exercisers prefer to move quickly into the next thrust forward instead, thereby working the calves, knees, and hamstrings.
A single leg hop puts even more weight on the muscles of the leg, and performing a squat at the end of the hop is a great way to perform a high intensity workout. The exercise starts with the legs hip width apart. Then, the exerciser will jump forward and land on one leg; he or she can then perform a squat, or continue onto the next hop without performing a squat. If no squat is performed, the exerciser should focus on performing the next hop in rapid succession as quickly as possible, keeping his or her balance throughout the motion. Obstacles can be placed at regular intervals to ensure the foot comes off the ground enough to make the exercise even more difficult.
Backward leg hop exercises are performed in a similar fashion, but the person doing the exercise will move backward instead of forward. This works an entirely different set of muscles in the leg, ensuring a thorough workout. Hops can be done to the sides as well, and forward lunges can be done with the person moving forward and to the left, then forward and to the right. The variations on this exercise will allow the person to thoroughly work all muscles in the leg while improving mobility and coordination.