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How to Perform and Apply Box Jumps

06.4.2018 | Forge Performance

How to Perform and Apply Box Jumps

Box jumps are a staple exercise in our fitness programs here at Forge Performance. They are an extremely versatile exercise for improving explosiveness and agility, as well as preventing injury. However, we still see people performing them incorrectly. In this article we’ll show you why they are so important and how you can perform them correctly. In this way, you’ll be able to maximize their effectiveness and stay safe in the process.

Why use box jumps?

If you are a regularly active individual, being explosive is a skill we’d like to maintain. Almost every activity and sport requires you to display a level of explosiveness from the lower body. Few exercises are able to do this better than the box jump. They allow us to:

  • enhance our athletic abilities
  • preserve our athletic abilities as age
  • prevent injuries so we stay active, longer

Enhance Athletic Ability

Simply put, the more explosive a person is, the better they will perform. Being more explosive will allow you to run faster, cut more quickly, hit a ball harder, dance better, or jump over a puddle. Regardless of your sport or activity, the more explosive you are, the better you are.

Preserve Athletic Ability

We can’t tell you how many of our clients tell us how they’ve continued to improve at their sport or activity as they age. If you don’t use it, you lose it, and being explosive is at the heart of one’s athletic ability.

Prevent Injuries

If we require more from our bodies than what it has, injuries take place. Without preserving the necessary abilities of fitness, we lose the ability to react as necessary. The more explosive an individual is, the less likely they are to become injured during a physical activity or sporting event.

How to Perform Box Jumps

We’ll briefly dive into the technique and application of box jumps. For a more in depth explanation, please refer to the featured video for this article HERE

Box Jump Technique

We state this all the time; when it comes to fitness, technique is of the utmost importance. The more demanding the activity is, the more important technique becomes. In order to perform box jumps safely and effectively, let’s break down the important points.

Box Height

Viral videos have misled people into thinking the height of the box is the goal. It’s not. The goal of a box jump is not to jump on the highest box possible. The box is there to soften our landing AFTER the jump. We can eliminate a substantial amount of impact by jumping onto an object as opposed to jumping to or from an object. We want you to think about walking stairs. Going up the stairs may be harder, but the most impact your joints sustain is walking down the stairs.

When you jump onto the box, the goal is to land with your legs relatively straight, and then drop into a half squat to absorb the jump. See the pictures below

(Jack jumping up onto the box, and jack absorbing the landing of the jump)

Position

“Stand six inches away from the box”

The position for jumping onto the box is arguably more important than the act of the jump itself. Proper positioning ensures we can safely perform the jump as well as ensure a safe landing. When setting up for the box jump, it’s best to stand roughly six inches away from the box. This gives us enough room to clear our feet over the box, while not leaving us too far away from the box, which would encourage more of a horizontal jump.

Jump

Loading the Jump

“Push your hips down and back”

Before the jump takes place, we must load it properly. When loading the jump, start with your body tall and hands even with the face. Forcefully push your hands down toward your hips, and your hips down and back. This effectively loads the glutes, hamstrings, and quads to perform the jump.

Performing the Jump

“Drive your shoulders to the ceiling”

Without pausing after loading the jump, forcefully drive your shoulders to the ceiling and push hard and fast into the ground. If you have to worry about whether or not you’re going to jump high enough to make it onto the box, it is too high. Jump onto a lower box where the biggest obstacle you face won’t be anxiety.

Landing

“Sit back and down through your mid foot”

The entire point of a box jump is to train explosiveness while saving the joints from a full impact. Thus, the landing of the movement is vital. We want to land with the center of our foot, and then push our hips down and back in a near identical position as the loading position from the start.

Refer to the video for a more in depth look at the technique

Box Jump Application

Lastly, the application of box jumps is often overlooked. It’s important to remember box jumps are used to train explosiveness, and there are a couple ways to do this:

  • Beginning of a Workout
    • After a brief warm-up, box jumps are a great way to start a workout to excite the nervous system and prime the body for exercise. These can be done before a cardio or resistance training workout.
  • At the End of a Workout
    • Finishing a tough resistance training workout with box jumps is a great power endurance exercise, or a type of metabolic finisher.

Here are some recommendations for the performance of box jumps, depending on your ability level and goal:

Beginner

  • 40 Jumps performed 2x per week MAX
    • 80 jumps total
  • Split jumps into 4 sets of 10 jumps
    • Rest until fully recovered

Intermediate

  • 40 jumps performed 2x per week
    • 80 jumps total
  • Add up to 25% of body weight using dumbbells, kettlebells, or medicine balls
  • Split jumps into 4 sets of 10, 5 sets of 8, or 6 sets of 6
    • Rest until fully recovered

Power Athletes (Most ball sports)

  • 40 jumps performed 2-3x per week
    • No more than 120 jumps total
  • Add up to 50% of body weight using dumbbells, kettlebells, or medicine balls
  • Perform no more than 8 jumps per set
    • Rest until fully recovered

Endurance Athletes

  • 40 jumps performed 2-3x per week
    • No more than 120 jumps total
  • Add up to 25% of body weight using dumbbells, kettlebells, or medicine balls
  • Perform a minimum of 8 jumps per set, but preferably 12-15 per set
    • Rest until fully recovered
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