How to land a jump from a high place

Erin Pereira, PT, DPT, is a board-certified clinical specialist in orthopedic physical therapy.

If you play a sport that involves running, jumping, plyometrics, or rebounding, proper landing mechanics are essential. Avoid preventable injuries while training or in competitions by practicing good form to protect your joints. Over the long term, you’ll be glad that you avoided unnecessary strain on your body.

The Ideal Jump Landing

Few athletes practice jumping mechanics; they just do what comes naturally. However, most would probably benefit from some training aimed at improving landing mechanics. A skilled coach will likely include jumping and landing drills as part of their training repertoire.

Landing skills can be practiced in a short amount of time and will bring many long-term benefits.

The ideal jump landing allows an athlete to better absorb shock through the joints (hips, knees, and ankles) during the landing.   Careful landing techniques also put the body in the right position to rebound safely and powerfully.

Proper landing movements come fairly easily once an athlete has been trained. The goal is to land softly and transfer the impact forces, first to the larger gluteus muscles, and then the hamstrings, quads, and calf muscles during the landing.

Dormant Glutes

Many athletes have glutes that are "dormant" due to sitting often or using quad-dominant training methods. If you have weak and inactive glutes, and strong quads, it's likely that you tend to use your quads to shift your weight forward and up during squatting and jumping movements.

Using quads rather than glutes puts a tremendous burden on the hips, back, knees, and ankles. These forces are dramatically increased during jump landing and rebounding. Recurrent hard landings eventually damage the joints.

Poor landing technique also puts tremendous pressure on the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in particular. An ACL tear can occur when an athlete plants the foot and twists the knee.

Athletes who have weak abductors (muscles of the outer hips) are also more prone to poor landing mechanics.

Importance of Mechanics

By landing and rebounding with a glute-dominant position and by loading the glutes, rather than the quads upon landing, you will help reduce the stress on the ACL. The ACL's main function is to prevent the tibia (a bone of the lower leg) from sliding forward during movement. But it can only withstand so much force before it is injured or torn.

To help reduce the force on the ACL, both the glutes and hamstrings contract during deceleration, and help pull the tibia back under the femur (thigh bone) and keep the knee joint aligned while unloading the ACL.  

By strengthening the glutes, hamstrings, and the abductors, along with practicing safe landing form, you can significantly reduce the likelihood of knee and joint injuries.

Not only is quad dominance risky for an athlete during the landing, but it is far less effective at providing explosive power during rebounding. The glutes are far superior at providing power due to their larger mass as well as their biomechanics.

To create more power upon takeoff, you need to land and decelerate softly with your body weight distributed evenly over the entire foot (not just the forefoot) and get your glutes firing, so they are prepared to contract explosively.

The easiest way to learn to land properly and rebound powerfully is to work with a coach or personal trainer to learn the specific movement patterns before you start a full-on practice.

If you are not using proper landing techniques, it can take up to a month to re-learn the correct movement pattern.

Be patient and practice. Once you have learned the correct technique, you can use a basic box jump drill or single-leg lateral bounding drills to train the movement patterns.

Proper Landing Technique

Begin with a thorough warm-up, and use the glute activation routine to get the glutes firing prior to practicing jumping and landing drills. Initiate small (1- to 2-inch jumps), land as softly and quietly as possible, and sink deeply into the landing. Here are some tips on proper form:

  • Ensure your knees are tracking over your foot and not caving in or falling outward.
  • Focus on the glutes (review the safe squat technique) throughout the movement.
  • Land on the balls of your feet and then evenly distribute your weight from the toes to the heels to cushion the impact. Do not land flat-footed.
  • Shift your weight back over your heels. Your knees should remain behind your toes during the movement.

Over several weeks, and with your trainer's guidance, increase the height of your jumps to a 12-inch box. Follow your trainer's lead regarding reps and sets, but consider performing 2 to 3 sets of 6 to 10 reps. Do this 3 times each week or more as instructed.

Jumping drills can be intense, so give your body time to recover well after your session. Stop when your form fails, your lower body becomes fatigued, or you have any aches or pains. Remember, it does more harm than good to practice drills with poor or sloppy form.

There are many exercises for which you need to be able to jump well. And the only way to do so correctly is to know how to land

How to land a jump from a high place

Modern workouts have adopted explosive training as part of a routine. This means exercises like the box jump and jumping squats are all part of training, even for those who have just started working out. But in chasing the challenge to get off the floor to make the jump, we tend to forget how important it is to land properly. A lot of the impact of successful jumping exercises is taken by the knees, but there are ways to minimise the force on this all-important injury-prone joint by making sure you learn landing techniques.

Team sport athletes will tell you that a good landing technique can be the catalyst to reacting quicker than an opponent. In track and field, landings are vital to where you finish on the podium. And for fitness enthusiasts, it could play a huge role in reducing the risk of injuries.

“Landing flat footed, stiff legged or landing with caved (valgus) knees are all things that can lead to injury and negatively impact performance. The good news, though, is that these are easy to correct with a few simple moves and a lot of practice,” states an article on fitness website, titled I Know You Can Jump, But Can You Land? Given that while landing your body can end up absorbing almost ten times your body weight, it’s important to know how to do so correctly.

One of the most common pieces of advice that an observant coach will give you while you’re doing something like box jumps is “to keep soft knees.” This sounds simple, but very much like “engage your core”, it needs some practice. It is, however, easier to master. What soft knees means is to keep a slight bend in the knee while performing the exercise. What this does is alleviate the pressure on the knees when your body lands. It does so by dividing the force of gravity across muscle groups rather than to one concentrated area. An attempt at a squat jump will also tell you something about your form— if your knees cave in during the landing, that’s a problem. Your knees must always travel away from each other rather than towards each other.

There are some mini-band exercises which may help in controlling the way your knees react to a landing. The video above is a quick abduction exercise to correct knee tracking. Apart from this, another technique to teach your knees how not to cave in is by wearing a mini-band just above your knees while performing these exercises. It is a simple instruction for mind-muscle connection.

Another exercise for proper knee tracking is the resistance band lunge, where you attach a band like in the video above, to train your knee to travel properly during any exercise. A common mistake that beginners make while doing box jumps is to land in a deep squat. YouTube fitness channel Performance U has landing technique videos for beginners followed by advanced phases where you can get the hang of what is the right way to land. As the instructor says in the video, “take off like a cannon, land like a butterfly.”

A very interesting study published in the Journal of Athletic Training says that landing techniques should be corrected at an age as early as between 11-15 years old. “Athletes between the ages of 11 and 15 were able to take generalized cues, such as “land softly” and “knees over toes,” and immediately translate them into sport-specific movement tasks, theoretically reducing the risk of lower extremity injury,” it says. It also defines poor landing as stiff landings with excessive hip adduction and knee frontal-plane motion (which means knees not tracking in the right direction).

It followed three phases of exercises, the first being static warm-up routines which included stretching the hip flexors, quadriceps, hip adductor stretches and jogging. The second phase was injury prevention warm-up and put the young athletes through exercises like forward skipping, toe walks, squat jumps, side shuffles, and forward lunges. The last part was a dynamic warm-up: high knee runs, back pedals, butt kicks, lunge walks and straight-leg marching. There is no reason to do all these exercises in a bid to land properly, unless your landing is assessed to be causing you issues in the lower back and knees.

Your body will give you the best signal about your landing quality, with small aches and tiny niggles. But the sound of your landing – that is the main assessor. If you are going to land on a box or off it with a pounding sensation, then you’re doing it wrong. You must chase a stealthy soft landing sound, without a jarring sensation through the lower body into your back. Until then, work on it, and land well, to live well.

When I start working with a new athlete, one of the first things we work on is landing mechanics. It doesn’t matter to me if you can jump on a 50” box if you’re not able to land properly coming off it.

But why is landing so important? Isn’t how high I can jump all that matters? Well, not exactly. In athletic events your ability to land properly can be the difference in being able to react to an opposing player quickly. In fitness events, it can be the difference between first and second place. Of course, in both cases, how you land plays a huge role in injury risk.

Injuries happen, and I’m not saying that landing correctly will stop them altogether. But something as simple as how you land can, without a doubt, reduce the risk. Ever experienced knee pain, low back pain or tendinitis shortly after an event or workout that had jumping in it? For my money, I’m betting the cause was partly due to poor landing mechanics. How you land greatly impacts how much power you can produce on your rebound jump, too. Land poorly or in a bad position its very unlikely that your second jump will produce as much power or feel as smooth as the first.

Landing flat footed, stiff legged or landing with caved (valgus) knees are all things that can lead to injury and negatively impact performance. The good news, though, is that these are easy to correct with a few simple moves and a lot of practice. Without diving into strength deficiencies, which is an entire article in itself, let’s talk about proper landing mechanics and what you can do to work on them.

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long jump, also called broad jump, sport in athletics (track-and-field) consisting of a horizontal jump for distance. It was formerly performed from both standing and running starts, as separate events, but the standing long jump is no longer included in major competitions. It was discontinued from the Olympic Games after 1912. The running long jump was an event in the Olympic Games of 708 bce and in the modern Games from 1896.

The standard venue for the long jump includes a runway at least 40 metres (131 feet) in length with no outer limit, a takeoff board planted level with the surface at least 1 metre (3.3 feet) from the end of the runway, and a sand-filled landing area at least 2.75 metres (9 feet) and no more than 3 metres (9.8 feet) wide.

How to land a jump from a high place

How to land a jump from a high place

How to land a jump from a high place

The jumper usually begins his approach run about 30 metres (100 feet) from the takeoff board and accelerates to reach maximum speed at takeoff while gauging his stride to arrive with one foot on and as near as possible to the edge of the board. If a contestant steps beyond the edge (scratch line), his jump is disallowed; if he leaps from too far behind the line, he loses valuable distance.

The most commonly used techniques in flight are the tuck, in which the knees are brought up toward the chest, and the hitch kick, which is in effect a continuation of the run in the air. The legs are brought together for landing, and, since the length of the jump is measured from the edge of the takeoff board to the nearest mark in the landing area surface made by any part of the body, the jumper attempts to fall forward.

In international competition the eight contestants who make the longest jumps in three preliminary attempts qualify to make three final attempts. The winner is the one who makes the single longest jump over the course of the preliminary and final rounds. In 1935 Jesse Owens of the United States set a record of 8.13 metres (26.6 feet) that was not broken until 1960. Similarly, American Bob Beamon held the long jump record of 8.90 metres (29.2 feet) from 1968 until 1991, when it was broken by American Mike Powell, who leapt 8.95 metres (29.4 feet). Beginning in 1948, the women’s long jump has been an Olympic event.

One of two field events also referred to as vertical jumps, competitors in the high jump take off (unaided) from one foot over a four-metre long horizontal bar. They seek to clear the greatest height without knocking the bar to the ground. Athletes land on a crash mat.

All competitors have three attempts per height, although they can elect to ‘pass’, i.e. advance to a greater height despite not having cleared the current one. Three consecutive failures at the same height, or combination of heights, leads to elimination.

How to land a jump from a high place

If competitors are tied on the same height, the winner is the one with fewest failures at that height. If competitors are still tied, the winner will have had the fewest failures across the entire competition. Thereafter, a jump-off will decide the winner. The jump-off will start at the next greater height. Each jumper has one attempt and the bar is lowered and raised until one jumper succeeds at one height.

The event demands speed, explosive power and agility among other qualities. At major championships the format is usually a qualification competition followed by a final.


High jump contests were popular in Scotland in the early 19th century, and the event was incorporated into the first modern Olympics Games in 1896 for men. Women made their Olympic high jump debut in 1928.

Of the field events, the high jump has perhaps undergone the most radical changes of technique. The Eastern Cut-off, Western Roll and Straddle are methods that have been previously used by the world’s elite. However, the Fosbury Flop, which involves going over with the jumper’s back to the bar, popularised by the 1968 Olympic champion Dick Fosbury, is now almost exclusively the technique adopted by all the top high jumpers.

Javier Sotomayor won Olympic gold at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. The Cuban great set the current high jump world record of 2.45m in 1993 and is the first man in history to jump over 8ft. One of the greatest women’s high jumpers in history is Iolanda Balas. The Romanian great won back-to-back Olympic titles in 1960 and 1964 and went 11 years unbeaten in her event.

Want to participate in or return to a sport with aggressive changes in direction and jumping? Then landing and deceleration training should be part of your everyday workout.

Training your body how to decelerate and land jumps properly reduces the risk of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears. This is true if you’ve never injured your ACL and if you want to avoid a retear after ACL reconstruction surgery.

This training is a major part of all ACL injury prevention and return-to-sport training. Research shows prevention training reduces ACL injuries, and return-to-sport training after surgery reduces retears.

You Can Reduce Your ACL Tear Risk

You can’t change your genetic risk factors or eliminate ACL tear or retear risk. But you can reduce your risk by strengthening and training your body to move differently.

The proper landing technique basics are to land softly and avoid straight-leg landings and inward bend of your knees.

Deceleration training focuses on movements common in sports like stopping, cutting, pivoting and other changes of direction.

For all aggressive direction changes, you want to train the proper form so your body does it automatically. Details, photos and videos are below.

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ACL Injury Risk Factors You Can Reduce Through Training

You may be more likely to injure an ACL because of how your body decelerates and lands. For instance, if your knees bend inward naturally.

You can reduce risk factors like these with training. Retrainable ACL injury risk factors include:

  • Knock-knees. Some people have a natural inward bend to the knees called knock-knees. Technically known as valgus knees, this is more common in females. (For this and other reasons, females have a higher risk for initial ACL tears. They have the same retear risk as males after ACL reconstruction surgery.)
  • A risky “natural” landing posture. Your knees may have neutral alignment standing and running but tend inward when you land.
  • Muscle weakness. This includes hip and lower core strength, which supports your legs.
  • Poor conditioning. Fatigue increases the risk of injury.

The best way to determine if you have any of these is to be evaluated by a doctor, physical therapist or athletic trainer. These professionals can recommend exercises and sport-specific training.

Every Athlete Can Benefit from Evaluation

NFL Hall of Famer receiver Jerry Rice says an ACL tear is the “worst injury ever.” It is generally agreed to be one of the most common and devastating sports injuries.

One step you can take to reduce your risk of an ACL injury is a pre-participation evaluation. A medical professional who understands ACL injury prevention can determine if you show any risk factors that can be reduced through training.

This is recommended for everyone who takes part in activities with cutting, twisting, pivoting, jumping and other aggressive direction changes. Especially in high-risk sports like football, soccer and basketball, evaluation and specific training can help you reduce your ACL injury or reinjury risk.

How to Land the Right Way

With training, you can learn to land and change direction with lower forces on your knees, especially your ACL. The key is the orientation of your knees.

The correct technique is:

  • Land with both legs centered and your knees slightly bent and supported. This is often explained as knees over toes when viewed from in front. If your knee bends inward when you land, training can help you correct this.

How to land a jump from a high place

How to land a jump from a high place

  • Land softly. Bend your knees as you land to absorb the forces.
  • Avoid inward bend of your knees, known as knock-knees. Individuals who land in a knock-kneed position are at a higher risk to tear and retear their ACL. Knock-kneed landing is a result of weakness in your hip muscles and core. You might naturally stand with knees aligned over your toes but land with an inward bend. Training can help you reduce inward bend when landing.
  • Do not land straight-legged. When you land on a straight leg, much of the force goes to your ACL. This force can exceed the strength of the ligament, resulting in a tear.

In addition to landing technique, your athletic trainer or physical therapist can recommend exercises specific to the motions you make in your sport.

Strength Before Jumping

As you can read in the ACL injury prevention section, the basic principles of proper landing form are balance, strength and position.

You should confirm your leg and lower core strength before extensive jumping training.

When rehabbing after ACL reconstruction surgery, jumping is not introduced until the final rehabilitation stages. This is easy to understand: nearly three-fourths of ACL tears happen during noncontact deceleration (landing) or change of direction.

If you’ve torn your ACL, research shows doing prehabilitation exercises (before surgery), including quad strengthening, results in better validated patient-reported outcomes two years after surgery.

Your Jump Training Will be a Progression

Your plyometrics and jumping training should progress in steps: you advance when your body has the strength, function and control to handle increased forces.

This can take weeks of training following a stairstep process of stress and recovery. When rehabilitating after ACL surgery, you begin jumping with both legs, then advance to single leg and box jumps.

Maintain proper form. It’s useful to have someone observe whether you are keeping your knees over your toes. Or you can observe in a mirror or record your jumps for review.

Consult with your doctor, physical therapist or athletic trainer before starting any rigorous exercise program.

Deceleration Training is for Everyone

Any change of direction involves deceleration. Nearly three-quarters of ACL injuries are noncontact, involving movement with an improperly positioned knee. For this reason, deceleration training benefits all athletes.

How to land a jump from a high place

Deceleration training focuses on movements like cutting, twisting and pivoting. It uses different exercises than landing training but can begin at the same time.

Deceleration training focuses on the strength and proper body position to go safely from full speed to a stop or change of direction. As in landing training, you want to train for a slight knee bend and soft landing with good form.

Deceleration exercises include going from a run to a dead stop while maintaining good balance and control. Others recommended by your physical therapist or athletic trainer will emphasize movements for your sport and position, like a side-to-side shuffle for basketball or backpedaling for a defensive back.

If you’re rehabbing a torn ACL, your training will likely begin with abrupt stops from a walk. As your strength improves, your physical therapist or athletic trainer will add movements specific to your sport and position.

For all athletes, the goal is to train proper foot positioning and strengthen your body. Ask your physical therapist or athletic trainer for exercises appropriate for you.

Definition of jump (Entry 2 of 3)

Definition of jump (Entry 3 of 3)

Synonyms for jump

  • bound ,
  • hop ,
  • leap ,
  • spring ,
  • vault
  • bound ,
  • hop ,
  • leap ,
  • spring ,
  • vault

Where did jump the shark come from?

When something jumps the shark it undergoes a significant change for the worse and is on a new trajectory of unrecoverable decline. The happy days of its golden age are over.

The origin of the phrase jump the shark is tucked neatly in that previous sentence: it comes from a 1977 episode of the American TV series “Happy Days” (1974–1984) in which the program’s most popular character, Fonzie, jumps over a shark while waterskiing in his trademark leather jacket. Some years later that episode came to be widely identified as marking the beginning of the iconic show’s decline, and its plot device became a metaphor for similar transformations:

Nearly all TV shows ever produced have jumped the shark eventually. Such is the nature of television’s creative conundrum.
— Monica Collins, Boston Herald, 9 Jan. 2000

Most TV series take three seasons to jump the shark, but in the theater it can happen in 20 minutes …
— Bob Verini, Daily Variety, 18 Sept. 2009

But in its headlong embrace of capitalism and corporate tie-ins, “Sex and the City” may have finally jumped the shark.
— Laura Compton, San Francisco Chronicle, 30 May 2010

The phrase is no longer limited to contexts involving entertainment; anything that undergoes a significant change for the worse that marks the start of a period of decline can be said to have “jumped the shark”:

Not everyone agrees when Picasso’s art jumped the shark.
— Jeffry Cudlin, Washington Post, 27 Feb. 2011

Silicon Valley has “jumped the shark” and lacks innovation, venture capitalist Peter Thiel says.
— Mike Murphy, MarketWatch, 1 Nov. 2018

Examples of jump in a Sentence

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word ‘jump.’ Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Since ancient times, the sport of long jump has been an integral part of the world’s athletics culture.

One of the mainstays in ancient Olympiads, the long jump has continued to be a showstopper in modern Olympics as well.

The objective of the long jump is simple – to cover the maximum possible distance with a horizontal jump. However, a deep dive into the details reveals the long jump is one of the most technically difficult track and field events to master.

Long jump rules and technique

Long jumpers start with a running start, propel themselves in the air at a designated launching point, also called the take-off board, and try to achieve maximum distance in the air before landing inside a sand pit.

So, the entire course consists of three parts. The runway, the take-off board and the sandpit to land in.

In official events, the runway measures 40m in length. It is similar to a running track used in sprinting, mid-distance or long-distance running events and is made out of a rubberised material laid over concrete.

At the end of the runway lies a 20cm wide take-off board. The runway and the take-off board must be level with each other.

The science of Long Jump

The end of the take-off board is marked with a foul line. While taking off, the toe of the jumper’s shoe needs to be behind the foul line for a particular jump to be deemed legal. Crossing the line results in a foul jump and doesn’t count.

After being airborne, the jumper lands in the sandpit placed on the other side of the take-off board.

The distance covered, from the edge of the take-off board to the indentation in the sand (made by any part of the athlete’s body while landing) closest to the take-off board, is measured.

The entire jump needs to be completed within one minute after the long jumper steps into the runway. Long jumpers are allowed to wear spikes if they prefer but the sole of their shoe cannot be more than 13mm thick.

At events, an athlete is often given a fixed number of attempts and the one with the longest distance covered, is counted as the best.

In the final rounds of big competitions like the Olympics or World Championships, athletes generally get six jumps. A set of three trial round jumps are held to select the finalists, who then get three more jumps to win medals in the final.

The entire action of a long jump can be further subdivided into four parts – the approach run, the final two strides, the action in air and landing.

The approach run

The approach run is essentially the sprint towards the take-off board barring the final two steps.

A long jumper has 40m of track available to them and in theory, using the full distance is ideal to build up top speeds and consequently maximum forward momentum before starting the leap. However, depending on individual techniques, athletes may choose a shorter run-up to have more control over their leap.

At elite levels, athletes usually take 20-22 steps in their approach run.

The final two strides

These are the final two steps taken before an athlete goes airborne from the take-off board.

To achieve maximum horizontal distance, long jumpers generally try to leave the ground at an angle of 20 degrees or less and the final two strides are meant to prepare the body to achieve that without sacrificing too much forward velocity.

The penultimate stride is generally longer than the last and is dedicated towards lowering one’s centre of gravity to prepare the body for the maximum-possible upward thrust.

The final stride before take-off, meanwhile, is the shortest step as the body’s centre of gravity starts shifting upwards in preparation for the jump.

The take-off

The take-off is the transition from the final step to being airborne.

An athlete needs to ensure that their foot is flat on the ground to have optimum impact as jumping off either the heels or the toes has adverse impacts on the jump.

While jumping off the heels have a braking effect and reduces momentum, jumping with the toes destabilises the body and runs the risk of the legs collapsing under the jumper, thereby severely decreasing the distance covered.

Maintaining proper body posture while take-off is also equally important as proper foot placement.

Athletes mostly use advanced techniques like kick, double-arm, sprint and power sprint or bounding for their take offs. Each has its advantages and disadvantages.

Action in the air

Once airborne, an athlete has little control over the direction and landing. But there are in-flight measures they can take to maximise the distance traversed.

These include techniques of manipulating the body in certain ways while airborne. Commonly, three techniques are used while in the air.

Sets of base units with spike-proof coveralls to be used together to create various sizes and specifications of high jump landing areas. The internal construction of the mats is a matrix of laminated foams incorporating air gaps to soften the landing of the athlete. The foam is covered in heavy duty blue PVC and incorporates breather panels to allow air to escape quickly on landing and for air circulation in high humidity environments.

The spike-proof coveralls are manufactured from a mesh covered 50mm lightweight foam on the landing side with PVC on the reverse.

Available sizes for high jump:

  • HJ Junior practice 400 – 3.4m x 2.5m x 400mm (plus 50mm for the coverall)
  • HJ Junior practice 500 – 3.4m x 2.5m x 500mm (plus 50mm for the coverall)
  • HJ Senior practice 500 – 5m x 2.5m x 500mm (plus 50mm for the coverall)
  • HJ Senior competition 600 – 5m x 2.5m x 600mm (plus 50mm for the coverall)
  • HJ International 600 – 5m x 4m x 600mm (plus 50mm for the coverall) with cutouts for the stands

Available sizes for pole vault:

  • PV Competition – 5m x 5m x 750mm (plus 50mm for the coverall) with cutout for the trough
  • PV International – 6.3m x 5m x 750mm (plus 50mm for the coverall) with recess for the trough

Continental Sports Limited .
Hill Top Road, Paddock, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire HD1 4SD .

I have a question that has been bothering me. I was on the bus earlier, and I was throwing an apple. The bus was moving, but the apple always fell back into my hand. Why didn’t the bus move around the apple so that the apple landed further back?

That got me thinking, Earth is spinning around hundreds of meters per second, so when we jump, even if it is for a half a second, shouldn’t we land many meters away? (Though we may crash into a building or something.)

I read a question that was about what would happen if Earth stopped spinning, and the answer said that anything that wasn’t fixed to the ground would continue spinning, so we would crash against buildings and such. So if that would happen, why do we jump or fall and land pretty much in the same place?

Sorry it took me so long to respond to your question – hopefully it’s not too late for an answer!

I guess I’ll start out by talking about the bus part of the question. If you and an apple get on a bus, and the bus starts moving down the street, you and the apple will both have the same velocity as the bus. (That makes sense, right, because you’re both moving along.) In order to stop something that’s moving, you need to use a force to slow it down, just like you need to use a force to get things moving in the first place. (For example, see this previously asked question.) There’s a physics law (Newton’s first law of motion) which tells us that “objects in motion tend to stay in motion”. So, when you throw the apple in the air while on the bus, it’s already moving forward at the same speed as the bus, and there’s essentially no force to slow down it’s motion in this direction (assuming it doesn’t bounce off the ceiling). Therefore, while it’s in the air, the apple moves forward with you, the bus, and the other passengers, and it comes down in your hand.

It’s the same deal with the Earth. We’re all on the moving Earth, and we’re travelling at the same speed as Earth. So when we jump up, we keep travelling around at the same speed we were moving at before because there’s no force to stop us. Now, if a huge force was applied to the solid Earth (like a big impact) and caused it to stop spinning in a single instant, we’d be in trouble because the Earth would have stopped moving, but since no force was applied to us, we’d still be travelling at the same speed we were going before the impact (really fast). I guess if all the people were glued to the Earth, then the force of the impact would translate to us as well and we would slow down, but in reality we’re free to fly forward.

I think a car accident is a good analogy for this. If you’re travelling really fast down the road and the car stops very suddenly (like you hit something), then your body will fly forward because you had a forward velocity and will tend to stay in motion in that direction. If you’re stuck to the car with a seatbelt, you’ll stay in the car because the seatbelt exerts a force that holds you in place. But if you’re not wearing a seatbelt you may well fly out of the car. Similarly, if Earth stopped really fast and we weren’t held down, we would fly pretty fast. But as long as Earth is moving, we move around with it so that when we jump up, we’re actually moving up and around at the same time such that we come down in the same place.