Box jumps have been around for decades as one of the staple plyometric exercises in training. Whether you’re an athlete or a general health enthusiast, box jumps have a tremendous impact on your explosiveness and ability to generate power through your lower half. Both things will pay huge dividends in your exercise routine.
There’s one big problem…
Box jumps may be one of the most botched exercises out there.
I could watch these all day.
I see it every day, multiple times a day. I’ve been guilty of it myself plenty of times, but over the years I’ve corrected my own mistakes and talked to some great strength & conditioning coaches that were able to show me how to properly do, instruct and program an effective box jump.
First, let’s talk about what a box jump IS NOT.
- A box jump is not cardio
- A box jump is not a “more is better” exercise
- A box jump is not a “faster is better” exercise
- A box jump is not supposed to be heavily loaded
Here are a few common mistakes that a lot of people make on their box jumps.
Hey you… yeah, you! The guy doing 1-minute intervals of rapid fire box jumps on a 36-inch box that you can barely get your toes on… STOP!
It’s not safe or effective to perform box jumps like that. That is everything a box jump is not.
So, what IS a box jump?
- A box jump is a great way to activate your central nervous system
- A box jump is a great way to increase your explosiveness and power
- A box jump is a low-impact exercise
- A box jump is a bodyweight exercise
- A box jump is an opportunity to achieve triple extension (ankles, knees and hips) and jump as high as possible without having to absorb the full impact of max-height jump (this is because you land on a box, instead of returning all the way down to the ground).
- A box jump, when done correctly, will make you a better athlete
Below are some examples of what I consider to be good form. All have slight variations, so I’ve slowed the videos down and added a few notes.
Personally, I use box jumps as a part of my dynamic warm up. One coaching cue that has stuck with me is that “a box jump can potentiate the nervous system,” and that is how I prefer to use them.
With explosive, short bursts of power (like box jumps) I can give my nervous system a wake-up call. This will activate the rest of my body to be ready to handle increased amounts of weight throughout the duration of the workout. Technically, a box jump won’t build much new muscle for you, but when you use them to prime your body for an intense workout, that’s where the muscle magic happens.
As a part of your training program, box jumps can help you generate more power and explosiveness, which will allow you to become stronger, faster and bring you to new levels of badassness. Is that a word?
Here are some do’s and don’ts when it comes to box jumps
- Rebound (rapidly jump up and down the box)
- Land with your knees caving in
- Use a box that you can’t land safely on
- Stomp your feet when you land
- Add weight
- Land in a deep squat
- Fully extend at the ankles, knees and hips
- Use your arms and core for power and stability
- Land in the same position you jumped from
- Land soft and stealth (like a ninja)
- Step down from the box, reset and repeat
Hopefully these tips help you the next time you go to perform box jumps. These simple tweaks can help you avoid a torn Achilles, torn ACL and countless bloody, scraped shins – all extremely common in bad box jumps.
Remember, you want to generate power with each rep. Keep the reps at 6 or below (per set) so you can explode on each jump. Inability to use your explosiveness due to fatigue will lead to poor mechanics and injury, so take your time and be precise with the jumps! Now go crush it!
Welcome home, college students! We hope you had a great year at school. If you’re looking to join a next-level, one-of-a-kind gym while you’re home for the Summer then you’ve come to the right place!
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|1 & Only Fitness||Popular Nearby Gym||Popular Crossfit Box|
|Student Discounts?||Over 30% off membership. 15% off all training packages.||None listed on website or at location.||Student memberships start at $100.|
We’re already seeing new members from colleges all across the country! Come represent your school and get fit for the Summer! Drop by the gym, bring your student ID and you’ll be ready to go!
If you’re struggling to find motivation, this article will do the trick. There’s an incredible news story going viral right now about Derek Mitchell, a 34 year-old man from Missouri who has made a commitment to finishing one 5k race per month in 2015. Derek weighed 570lbs on January 1st, 2015 when he decided to make a change in his life. He vowed to give up soda, adopt a healthier diet, add exercise to his daily routine and finish one 5k race per month.
“I decided that, starting in March, I would do at least on 5K each month for the rest of the year,” Mitchell, told Runner’s World Newswire.
He’s stuck to his word and plans to get stronger with each race. Derek want’s to shed about 250lbs this year and improve his race completion time by 5 minutes each month!
Last weekend, at the Kansas City Big 12 Run, he completed his first 5k of the year. With the entire crowd cheering him on to through the finish line, Derek finished in 1:27:44 and sparked one of the most inspiring stories of the year.
“Originally, I started this for myself because I needed to get healthy,” Mitchell said. “But it’s amazing the way you can inspire people to get up and get moving just by doing something simple like finishing a 5K.”
Inspiring is right. Derek Mitchell has redefined his possible. What’s stopping you from doing the same?
Last week, I highlighted mobility, and why I believe it is so important to your health. If you missed out on that, you can read it here. This week, want to focus a bit deeper on the mobility in your hips! Let’s get started!
The hip girdle has a complex assortment of muscles, ligaments, tendons, fascia and bony articulations all working together to provide advanced mobility and movement. It is a fascinating region of the human body that can provide great ease to movement if all parts are working together correctly. Achieving and maintaining great hip mobility takes time, but it is crucial to your health and physical well-being and becomes increasingly important as you age. Having full range-of-motion (ROM) at the acetabulum can increase performance and increase explosive movements that originate at the hip.
When mobility is impeded at the hip there are many injuries that could occur both superior and inferior to the joint. Take the squat, for instance. When mobility is limited the chance for a lower back injury drastically increases. Individuals will compensate (with bad form) by recruiting lower back muscles to lift the weight. Similarly, tightness in the hip abductors (primarily the tensor fascia latte and the gluteus medius) can cause the IT band to serve as more of a static stabilizer on the lateral aspect of the knee when the stability we really want at the knee joint is anything but static. (However, this become more of a strength issue in the TFL and the Glute Med (and other secondary abductors) as well as the external rotators of hip which we will discuss next week!)
So getting back to mobility – we really do not tend to think about or work on it until it is too late and an injury has occurred. At this point it becomes a long process of finding the problem area(s) and correcting the movement. This is not a short process, particularly after an injury. There are very few individuals who have great hip flexibility and mobility; so we all have room for improvement. Having your (natural) functional movement patterns examined prior to starting any workout plan is the key to success when it comes to hip mobility. After all, the key is to build strength around the joints. However, we want to strengthen the correct movement patterns, not further solidify and strengthen incorrect movements as this will only make it more difficult to correct.
For me, it all begins and ends with the hips. “Bad” hips can cause issues throughout the entire body. Many of the problems in the lower extremities as well as the torso originate and stem from mobility, flexibility, and strength issues in the hip region. The Functional Movement Screen (FMS) can reveal some underlying issues throughout all of the major joints in the body and can help your trainer build a program for you based on weak areas and areas of limited mobility or flexibility.
We, as humans, were made to move efficiently and effectively. It is through activities such as driving, typing, texting, and SITTING (the list goes on) for extended amounts of time that we train our bodies to move ineffectively and inefficiently. Sadly, activity levels are continuously dropping in the US due to the technology that enables us to accomplish nearly any task without having to move 2 feet in any direction. Advances in technology are great, but let’s not let it inhibit what we were made to do…MOVE!
Have a blessed Christmas and Happy New Year!
Exercise form is extremely important, but why is it one of the first things we sacrifice just to “get it done?”
This is one question that I’ve been trying wrap my head around for a long time now. Before we created 1 & Only Fitness I would go into gyms on a consistent basis and see fellow gym goers exercising, looking like they are violently possessed and seconds away from cracking a vertebrae. That is not my idea of an effective workout. To me, it looks like the risk definitely outweighed the reward. My opinion on this matter is solely based upon these fellow gym goers’ lack of results or just never seeing them workout again!
Exercise form is a crucial part of safety and body development for avid exercisers. Understanding how your body is supposed to move rather than forcing movement to “get it done” will guarantee the results you want. Actually, you’ll probably see your results in half the time when using precise technique. You’ll aslo greatly decrease setbacks such as injury.
Let’s look at this scenario:
We’ve all been at the gym when there is a dude bench pressing, right? When he’s finished trying to lift more weight than he should be lifting, he places his hand on his shoulder, moving his arm in a seemingly painful windmill type motion. C’mon, like that’s going to help with the injury you feel from your bad form!
All of this can be avoided by learning, implementing and practicing proper form rather than stroking your ego in the gym just to “get it done.” A great testing tool to help you achieve and maintain proper form is a mobility test called The Functional Movement Screen (FMS). We use this tool to assess our clients and members from an anatomical standpoint.
The test lets us know of any mobility issues, muscular imbalances, flexibility restrictions or lack of stability. 99% of injuries occurring in gyms is from the lack of proper form. Bad form one time will not (in most cases) cause injury, but that repeating that improper from time after time will eventually catch up with you. When it does, this can cause setbacks.
Sometimes you must sacrifice the completion of the desired 12-15 reps, to focus on proper form, which is exponentially important for avoiding setbacks and injuries.
Who likes setbacks? I personally like accomplishments, it suits my spirit best.
You can accomplish your goals, prolong and preserve your body many years longer with proper form. Or… you can wreck your joints and spine because you chose to sacrifice good form strictly to “get it done.”
The choice is your and may the odds forever be in your favor.
Please exercise safe, smart and suitable for your goals and your body. Come in and see us anytime and we’ll develop a plan and goal system tailor-made for you. With the holidays approaching, give us the goal of joy. The joy of seeing you reach your goals!
One life, one body, one you.