Box Jumping…

boxjump09The humble box jump.  Such a simple movement, but one filled with so many benefits, as well as some risks, both real and perceived.

The box jump is a form of plyometric exercise, which are jumps, bounds, hops and leaps, where you are attempting to move as quickly as possible, or more accurately, to get your muscles to contract as quickly as possible for the maximum possible power output.

An advanced variation of plyometrics known as 'shock' training involves dropping to the ground from a height before quickly jumping again.  The shock of landing forces a strong eccentric lengthening of the muscles, leading to an even more powerful concentric contraction and more power output.

This is what happens during rebound box jumps.  Note the term advanced in the previous paragraph.  Rebound box jumps are for more advanced athletes.  If you are a typical 30+ parent of two, with an old netball/rugby injury, CrossFitter, there is no need to incorporate shock training into your fitness program.  For the love of all that is holy, just step down.... :)

However, when your lower limbs are conditioned enough, rebound jumps are a skill like any other that can be learned when you are ready and can make a great contibution to your fitness.

For those who are brand new to box jumping, it can be downright scary!  But remember, infinite scaling.  You can start with a 20kg plate on the ground, then build to 2 plates, and 3, before you even think about trying your first 50cm jump.

And now that we have a new toy at the gym.....any irrational fear you may have (and which is perfectly ok..we all have them...:) might be calmed somewhat.

Some other tips for mastering that jump form;

  • Initiate the jump by going down into a low squat at the start. You'll explode upwards faster.  Swing your hands down and back too. You may have heard the term "stretch reflex" before, well that's what is happening here.  A quick stretch of the calves, hamstrings, quads and glutes, result in a more powerful contraction.
  • Lead with your hands, and as you reach full extension of hips and knees, pull those feet up in a 'knee tuck' movement to clear the lip of the box.
  • Land softly, absorbing the shock with a slight bend in your knees as your feet hit the platform, but then straighten your body to a completely erect position. Remember to throw your hips back slightly when you land, just like we do in a power clean; this allows you to use the larger muscles, the hammies and glutes take the majority of the landing force, rather than the calves and quads.   If stepping down, ensure that you alternate legs as you go.
  • Don't forget your hands - when coming down off the box drive your elbows back and bring your hands in level with your hips, then swing the arms when going back up.
  • Avoid looking down to ensure that your head and neck stay in a neutral position.
  • And stay focused!  The development of focus is an overlooked part of box jumping, you can't let your mind wander.  If you are thinking about what you will have for dinner, or how many reps ahead the person next to you is, you may well trip.   Make every rep count.  And always jump that little bit higher on the first and last jump, those tend to be the ones that get you.....  Although I NEVER want to see anyone trip on a box, it is this slight risk that makes this exercise so effective, and ave such real world carry over.  If you don't do it right, there are consequences....
  • And great news, for those of you who are super nervous, we now have a foam plyo box for you to gain some confidence on!!

FITNESS

Pushpress 3 x 5

Pullup 3 x 1-2

20-15-10-5

Burpee

SDHP

Finisher

Airbike 50cal for time

PERFORMANCE

Thruster + Pushpress + PushJerk + Split Jerk

Work up to a heavy set.

5-10-15-10-5

STOH 60/40kg

CTB

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