Resistance training that strengthens your quads can help improve your jumps. Thinkstock

Why Can't Women Jump as High as Men?

Why can't I jump as high as my male partner? We both have to perform the same series of jetés in a workshop performance and practicing isn't helping. I'm starting to panic.

—Amy, Cincinnati, OH


The gender gap between men and women for jump height is significant whether you're playing basketball or dancing ballet. Research shows that men naturally have a higher jump and more leg strength, force and power compared to women. Blame it on innate characteristics that start in puberty, when boys experience a spurt of muscle growth as hormones like testosterone surge, increasing their jumping ability. Some studies also suggest that males have a higher ratio of fast-twitch muscle fibers, along with a physiology that's more efficient at recruiting the muscles needed to jump.

Resistance training aimed at strengthening your quads can narrow the gap. However, no one expects you to jump like a man. Rather than placing unrealistic expectations on yourself, why not focus on qualities under your control, like musicality and artistic expression? The point is to perform the jetés beautifully, not compete with your partner.

Send your questions to Dr. Linda Hamilton at advicefordancers@dancemedia.com.

Latest Posts


Studio Bleu students Jaxon Keller, Samantha Halker and Alia Wiggins. Photos by Chris Stark

How Turning Boards and Practice Mats Can Revolutionize Your Dance Training

When it comes to equipment, dancers don't need much—just shoes and whatever can fit in their dance bag. But between rehearsals in the studio and performances on stage, one major piece of equipment often goes overlooked—the floor.

Dancers too often find themselves warming up on the concrete or carpet backstage, or wanting to practice in a location without a proper floor. For years, Harlequin Floors has offered a solution to this problem with its innovative turning board, offering a portable and personal floor that can be flipped between marley and wood. Now, they've revolutionized portability again with their practice mat, offering dancers the option to roll up their own personal floor and sling it over their shoulders like a yoga mat.

We spoke with experts from every corner of the dance industry to see how Harlequin's products have become their everyday essentials:

GO DEEPER SHOW LESS