The box jump is a plyometric move that strengthens your main lower-body muscles – glutes, quads, calves and hamstrings. Box jumps will help make you faster, more powerful and springier than ever, and if you do them for more than a few seconds, they’ll raise your heart rate and burn calories as well. It’s a versatile move, too. The beauty of box jumps is that you can adjust the height of the box so you can use it for a wide variety of fitness goals, so you can build explosive power and speed using a high box for low reps, or use a lower height to work on foot speed and improve cardio endurance with higher-rep sets. They can also be used, after a proper warm-up, as a great way to fire up your central nervous system ahead of a big legs session.
Step 1: Prepare to jump, Stand in an athletic position, with your feet shoulder-width apart, at a comfortable distance from the box. To initiate the movement, bend your knees and push your hips back while swinging your arms behind you. Push your feet off the floor explosively to propel yourself onto the box.
Step 2: Jump and land softly, To absorb the impact into your glutes and hamstrings, land in a partial squat, with your back flat, chest up (don’t round!), and your knees tracking over your toes. If your feet are making a lot of noise, something’s wrong—and you likely need to back up and try a lower box or strengthen with step-ups first.
Step 3: Carefully step down, While it’s tempting to jump down, don’t. Instead, stand up tall and step down one foot at a time.
Breathing: Breathe in as you dip into a partial squat, Breathe out as you jump into air.
Concentration: you should not let the head or chest collapse forward while jumping and landing. Additionally, you should not be falling backwards, but rather displacing pressure across the entire foot (balance).
Duration: you can start with 3-4 sets of 3-5 repetitions, resting 2-3 minutes, and progress gradually to 2-3 sets of 8-12 repetitions, resting 60-90 seconds between (this is highly sport specific).
Errors: Jumping on a box that’s too high, Jumping backwards off the box and doing way too many box jumps
Fluids: always make sure you’re hydrated before, after and during any exercise.
Take away tip
Get a proper-sized box and focus on your landing mechanics with every single rep. If you have to pull your knees up to your chest so your feet clear the edge of the box, the box is way too high and you’re defeating the purpose of the exercise. Additionally, do not jump backwards off of the box. Finally, when you have mastered the landing mechanics and can safely land on the box, move to something more complex and effective. There are countless challenging and fun plyometric exercises out there, none of which should include jumping onto an ultra-high box with poor technique. Use the box jump for its purpose, and then move on to something else.