Jumping Into Something New: Box Jumps 101
Every fitness enthusiast, athlete, powerlifter, and bodybuilder are always trying to look for new ways to improve their performance and excel even further in their goals. People say “80% of success is just showing up”, but although this is true, that 80% decreases the longer you are showing up. For example, just simply doing certain movements and progressing in weight can definitely increase performance, such as doing a bench and getting better.
But after a while, what if you want to get even better quicker or break through a tough plateau? What if it is your goal to have more power and speed? This is when it is necessary to incorporate complementary exercises to your workout program that will excel your performance. The one we will be focusing on today is the box jump.
What Are Box Jumps?
Before explaining what a box jump is, it is important to take note that box jumps are considered a plyometric movement, meaning it is a movement that requires you to exert force by jumping into the air which will increase speed and strength. These are very functional movements that train your body to react powerfully and quickly, thus are very important for athleticism and excelling at sports.
Box jumps is the simple movement of standing on the floor, and then jumping forward onto a box of various heights. Although this is a simple movement, each individual has their own limitations, whether mental or physical, that may prevent them from executing the movement properly and efficiently. Jumping high onto something is scary and can get you hurt, so taking precautions and following this article will benefit you in the long run. Also, box jumps can be done in multiple ways and different variations, which we will get into later. With different variations, you can achieve different results and discover a wide range of benefits for using box jumps.
Who Are Box Jumps For And Are There Benefits?
Box jumps are for anyone who wants to increase their athletic performance, become more explosive, increase overall strength, and get a sense of learning to fly. With standing on the ground and exploding up into the air, you are training your body to be quick and agile, which is extremely important for sports. In football, this can be seen as a running back driving through a pile of defenders. This can even be seen in basketball, which can be a point guard getting low under the basketball net and then exploding up to shoot. Being fast, powerful, and quick is what makes athletes great, and box jumps will definitely do that.
For a lifter, this will increase core strength, leg strength, and hip mobility that will help in movements such as the squat or the deadlift. Box jumps use a low center of gravity and propel you upwards which use your legs, core, and hips, which are crucial for these types of lifts. Lifters trying to achieve better overall strength should definitely implement this into their routines. Here are their benefits:
- Overall Strength
- Power and Explosion
How To Do Box Jumps
Pick a box that is a reasonable height that you can successful jump on. Test out if the height is manageable by doing a vertical jump next to it and seeing if you can clear it.
Stand 1-2 feet away from the box and keep your feet shoulder-width apart.
With a flat back and keeping your head up and eyes forward, drop down into a semi-squat position with your hands back. Explode upwards by driving your feet into the ground and extend your hips through the movement. Your hands should swing up and forward with your body as you bring your knees up to your chest and propel through the air.
Land with your feet shoulder-width apart again without standing up fully. Both feet should land at the same time. Hold this position for a second, and then standup on the box. Make sure to land softly on the box.
Box Jump Variations
1) Distance from box: Increasing how far you stand away from the box can create new challenges that can increase performance.
2) Height of box: Getting a box jump of various heights can definitely test your limits and provide new ways to test your performance. If you want to test your limits more but cannot adjust the height, using a weight vest can be beneficial.
3) Single-leg box jump: Besides the standard two-leg jump, advanced individuals can incorporate jumping onto a box with only one leg, which is very difficult but has many benefits on speed and core strength. Simply stand facing the box with one leg on the ground and one tucked behind you, and then jump onto the box landing only on that leg. Switch legs and repeat.
4) Sit position to box jump: Sit down on a dumbbell or small surface that is smaller than the box you are jumping on. This position should resemble a semi-squat position. Once seated, follow the same instructions as listed above and jump onto the box.
Common Box Jumps Mistakes
1) Not pausing: Once jumping onto the box, it is important to pause for a brief second with your legs bent besides landing stiff with your legs straight out. This is not a deep squat position, but a position where your legs are bent and you are embracing the impact. After you jump onto the box, land soft by coming into this semi-squat position, hold, and then stand up. This will definitely prevent knee problems and pain.
2) Being Frankenstein: A lot of individuals try to increase the height of the box jump by combining many weights together and creating an unsafe landing area. We all know it is hard to find tall box jumps, but be careful in determining the method of increasing the height. Falling can have serious injuries, such as massive bloody scrapes and bruises. Having a stable surface to land on is crucial, so be careful.
3) Not extending hips: When jumping onto the box, it is important to explode up and extend your hips from the semi-squat position to the top of the box. Hip mobility is very important here and will aid in this explosive power upwards. Drive your hips forward and up to really increase your speed and power into the air. This is what’s going to benefit you the most in the long run.
Box jumps are a great utility to add to your workouts. With many benefits, it is important to utilize this extraordinary functional movement to your advantage. Be careful, use proper form, and expect results. Have fun with this movement and take it seriously, but most importantly, try not to miss the box.