Frog hops aren’t an exercise you do to bring out your inner amphibian (although no one is stopping you). Rather, it’s another useful lower body bodyweight exercise that can build and strengthen your lower body, help you to burn more calories and drop lbs, and improve your overall fitness.
This plyometric activity is ideal for those who can handle a little impact on the joints as it does involve hopping but nothing crazy, so most people who are a healthy weight with healthy joints should benefit from it.
In this guide, we’ve explained how to do it with tips, variations, and more.
In This Exercise:
- Target Muscle Group: Lower body
- Type: Plyometrics
- Mechanics: Compound
- Equipment: Bodyweight
- Difficulty: Beginner
Frog hops, when done safely, work the lower body muscles. Here are short descriptions of each one.
The quadriceps or quads for short is the large group of muscles that make up most of your upper leg mass. It has four heads; rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, and vastus intermedialis that help to flex the hips and extend the knees like during squats.
These muscles are also important for posture, walking, and function of the spine and pelvis.
Frog hops are a great exercise for working your quads!
The hamstring muscles are located opposite the quads on the back of the upper leg. It has three muscles/heads; the semitendinosus, semimembranosus, and biceps femoris.
The hamstrings play an essential role in hip extension, knee flexion, walking, and knee joint stabilization.
If you want to be explosive and athletic then you need strong hamstring muscles.
The glutes or butt and hip muscles are always activated during lower body exercises and activities. But the gluteus maximus, in particular, is what gives the buttocks and hips most of their shape and appearance.
Therefore, we want to really work this muscle to gets those highly sought-after buns of steel.
The function of the gluteus maximus is to extend and externally rotate the thigh.
The calves are the lower leg muscles consisting of the gastrocnemius and soleus. The gastrocnemius is the larger of the two and what most people think of when it comes to the calf muscles.
It’s the very visible muscle right below the knee that has two heads; medial and lateral and it gives the lower leg a lot of its shape. It joins with the soleus to form the Achilles tendon near the lower portion of the leg.
Then you have the soleus; a large muscle located deep to the gastrocnemius.
The calf muscles plantarflex (point the toes down) the foot and ankle. They are also important for posture, and athletic movements. Although they do have an uneven ratio of fast and slow-twitch fibers.
The gastrocnemius is composed of mostly fast-twitch fibers that make it better suited for quick and explosive movements. The soleus contains more slow-twitch fibers and is, therefore, better suited for endurance-type activities.
The core group of muscles includes the abdominals, obliques, deep core muscles, and even the spinal erectors. These muscles contribute to trunk movement and spine stability.
Squat variations are effective for building a strong and muscular core.
How To Do Frog Hops
It’s quite a simple exercise, but here are step-by-step instructions for performing frog hops.
- Place your hands behind your head but do not pull down on your neck.
- Squat down until your upper legs are about parallel to the ground while keeping a straight back.
- Hop several feet forward and land softly on your toes or midfoot while absorbing the impact by bending your knees as you return to the starting squat position.
- Continue to hop forward for the desired number of reps.
Here’s a video example of frog hops…
Frog hops tips
- Jump softly to minimize the impact on your joints.
- Avoid landing on your heels as this is not ideal for knee health.
- To make this a more explosive movement, you can use more force during your hops to jump higher and farther. Although, we recommend low to medium reps as this variation is higher impact on the joints.
While frog hops is a useful activity that you can do anywhere to train your lower body and athleticism, here are three variations/alternatives we recommend to keep things interesting and give you a more rounded workout.
The frog squat is another lower body builder with the name frog in it. This movement is one of the more unique ones but make no mistake, it’s a viable bodyweight option that you can use to build your leg muscles.
Box jumps are an excellent exercise that improves explosive power and strength and builds your leg muscles possibly better than frog hops. Not to mention, it’s a great calorie-burner to help you get leaner.
It’s an activity that many athletes perform to develop and enhance their athleticism and when done right, isn’t bad for your joints.
You can use any size box however, we recommend working up to a decent height box to really challenge yourself and reap the benefits.
Basic bodyweight squat
Of course, if you just want to work your leg muscles and aren’t able to do hops, the basic bodyweight squat is always a good choice.
Place your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width keeping your toes pointed slightly outward. While keeping your back straight, simply squat down to parallel or just below and push through your feet back into the standing position.
To make this exercise more challenging, hold two weights down by your sides or hold a kettlebell at your chest to perform the effective goblet squat variation.
How To Incorporate Frog Hops Into Your Training Regime
There’s no rocket science here… frog hops are just another lower body exercise option that you can include in your training via many different ways.
For example, you may not have access to weight or any resistance training tool. Therefore, frog hops make for a great exercise that only requires your body weight.
Or maybe you want to finish off your workout with a simple, easy-to-do plyometric activity that’ll help you to be more well-rounded and fit.
You could also include frog hops in a workout circuit as part of a cardio fitness routine. There are so many different options.
Related: Circuit Training: The Ultimate Guide
Sets and reps
This depends on how you use the exercise which we’ve previously touched on. There’s no ideal number of sets and reps however, a common method would be to do 3-4 sets of 10-20 reps.
You could set a predetermined distance, hop until you reach the set mark, and then hop back to the starting point. Or take a few hops and return to the starting position.
Frog hops can make for a useful lower body exercise option that you use to build and strengthen your body from the torso down. Plus, it’s a good calorie-burner, and may also help to enhance your athleticism and improve joint mobility and flexibility.