Malaysian-born Harinder Sekhon is a hard-working mathematics teacher by day, but his extracurricular activities are anything but square. Not only does he play for his national cricket team, but he also holds world records in jumping.
The 30-year-old broke the “highest standing jump on one leg” distance this past May, clearing a massive 4 feet and 6.49 inches. Sekhon was also awarded with Malaysia’s “highest standing jump” at 4 feet and 5.93 inches and earned the world record for the “greatest number of jumps by a male on an 18-inch box in 60 seconds,” totaling an insane 36 jumps.
Sekhon explains his passion for cricket and jumping, and shares an exclusive step-based workout that requires zero gym equipment for those wanting to increase their power and endurance.
It’s hip to jump
“Mobility in the hips is a subject that really isn’t covered enough,” says Sekhon, who understands that hip flexibility is a key aspect of a great jump. He is a big proponent of stretching the hips, quads, and calves, and the sportsman shares many of his tips on Instagram.
When the coronavirus pandemic forced Malaysian gyms to close, Sekhon ordered some plyo boxes and began jumping on them at home. “I just wanted to try something new and keep up with my fitness,” he says. “I would definitely recommend plyometrics as part of anyone’s fitness routine because the benefits are endless. Power, strength, and endurance can all be attained from plyometric circuits.” Within a few months, Sekhon’s jumping game had improved so much that he attempted a world record and, astonishingly, won several awards on the first attempt back in May.
The high-flyer has found that his love of box jumping, and its related training, is a big asset to his performance as a wicket keeper in cricket, where Sekhon’s job is to kneel behind the stumps (acting in a similar way to a catcher in baseball). Cricket is played in 180 countries and, next to soccer, is the second most popular sport on the globe. Sekhon has the distinction of being the first Malaysian to represent the sport in the Indoor Cricket World Cup and is required to move sharply in order to try and field the ball on match day. Equally as impressive, he can run a 5k in just 17.5 minutes.
“These circuits (below) surely help keep my legs strong,” says Sekhon. “Also, the specific movements in this workout will make you more agile and nimble.” While this hybrid athlete already holds records, he is not done yet. “I will attempt to break my national and world records in the near future as well as line up new records to attempt,” he says, eying up one record in particular. “The Malaysian standing long jump record is my next target.”
Sekhon points out that for those who are in the early stages of their fitness journey, further adaptations to his workout can be made by increasing the rest interval times. “The main focus is to teach the body to jump higher and further by generating your own force and power,” he says. And the best part? No gym equipment is needed to undertake the circuit, all you need is a reliable set of steps. If you feel safe doing so, you can increase the height on some of these movements by moving up a step.
“This HIIT-type workout is designed to be 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off,” instructs Sekhon. “But as you become more comfortable with the circuit, you can tweak those times to suit your desired level of intensity. Alternatively, you could turn this workout into a time-based challenge where you try to achieve as many reps and sets as possible within a given timeframe.”
Harinder Sekhon’s HIIT Step Circuit
Step-up and knee raise
Stand, facing a set of sturdy stairs. Step up with one leg and then with the other leg you will drive your knee up to hip height, or work up to this if that is too high. You can use your hands to track the movement and to aid with balance. Make sure that your toes are pointing forward. Repeat.
Stand in front of the stairs and choose a comfortable step to jump on. You can modify by taking a higher step but you must be able to keep a controlled motion. Power off from the balls of your feet and use a good arm swing to fuel your momentum, but don’t lean forward too much. The aim is to land with both feet at the same time, as softly as possible. After each jump, carefully step down backwards and repeat.
With one foot on a raised step and the other foot behind you on the floor, simply switch positions in one fluid movement. Keep a good pace and try to land on your heels so that you can jump off easier. Utilize your hands for balance and to help with lift-off, then repeat.
Instead of switching positions after the first step, you are going to step on with the other foot so that they both meet each other on the same step. Once you have landed both feet, you will step off backwards with one foot and then step off with the second foot, so that they meet on the floor. Repeat the process.
If you have access to a gym and are looking for some of the more advanced exercises that Sekhon undertakes, such as the single-leg box squat, our man demonstrates this too.
To follow Harinder Sekhon’s record breaking progress and keep up with this latest fitness tips, follow him on Instagram at @harinsekhon.