I do not recall the first time I learned to do frog hops, but I can remember the time they were burned into my psyche. It was the second American Rendezvous. Parkour Horizons was hosting several international coaches, including the Yamakasi and Laurent Piemontesi. The first day of the event we went to Hocking Hills in southeastern Ohio. It was hot and muggy. After the warm up, we broke into groups, and I was being led by Laurent. He took us to a long empty stretch of road. He then proceeded to tell us in broken English that we were going to do an exercise called 808. 101 repetitions of 4 exercises forward and backward. One of those exercises were frog-hops. But wait, there was more. That was just the warm-up.
To perform a frog hop, first crouch to about a 90 degree bend in the knees. Then your hands go out in front of you on the ground. The exact distance depends on the goal of the exercise. Usually the hands are placed 2.5-4 feet in front of the feet. Next the legs and feet hop sending the hips high in the air. Sometimes, we train coming into a tuck-hand-stand in each frog-hop. Most of the time bringing the hips just above the shoulder is sufficient. Then the feet come down closer to the hands than when they started. Again the distance moved by the feet is dependent on the purpose of the exercise. This series of movements is then repeated for repetitions or distance. It can also be performed in the reverse order going backwards.
The application of frog hops can be varied. They are used most often as a conditioning exercise to strengthen the body and increase endurance. They can also be used to traverse obstacles while staying low. Their other big application is as a progression to the monkey and kong vaults. A frog hop and monkey and kong vaults are all primarily the same motion. First, place the hands out in front of the body. The hips come high and the feet come to or past the placement of the hands. The difference is where and how these movements are applied. Frog-hops are usually applied to a flat surface where the monkey and kong vaults are used to traverse raised or lowered obstacles.
The frog-hop has several faults similar to many other Parkour movements. Again your wrist is in extension and bearing weight. The shoulder has a tendency to internally rotate. These are common faults in many parkour movements. The difference here is that since the frog-hop is used as a conditioning exercise, you are seeing much higher volume. There are dozens of wrist and shoulder prep protocols available on the internet worth researching. In the frog hop position, the hip joint is almost fixed at a 90 degree bend. Then we apply exertion to that bend. By the time you stand up from that position, opening the hip joint is hard. We sometimes call this “drunk legs.” Since most of us spend so much time with a closed hip position at work or home, this can lead to more problems. A good coach will have you perform other exercises to counterbalance with glute-ham activation and stretching of the hip-flexor and quad.
Frog-hops don't look all that cool. They are not one of the more exciting exercises in parkour. They do however, build strength, endurance, and character. They are one of the foundations on which many other movements are built. The frog-hop is included in every single warm-up I run. The frog-hop is in my warm-ups because of all the reasons I just talked about. It is an easy, low impact way to begin introducing people to exploring new ways of moving found in parkour.