Box jumps are a great way to build lower body and core strength. This explosive training method targets your fast-twitch muscle fibers and leads to gains in strength, stamina, balance and speed. If you are thinking about adding this type of plyometric training to your workout plan, here’s what you need to know.
Boxes are available from a variety of retailers starting at around $60.00. Alternatively, you can make your own.
Whichever route you choose be sure your box is the appropriate height to prevent injury. That would be somewhere between mid-shin and knee high for beginners. You also want a box that is durable so it holds up well under your weight as you jump up onto the box. Finally, the surface of the box should be padded and broad enough so there is enough room to land fully on two feet.
Give it a try
- Monitor your form – keep feet together and take a shallow dip, rather than deep squat, as you extend your hips, swing your arms and propel yourself onto the box. You should be able to make a soft landing – think like a cat or even a ninja. Landing quietly reduces your risk of injury. As you make contact with the surface of the box your knees should be slightly above a 90 degree angle and your chest up. Hold this position for a moment before stepping down.
- Start at the top – CrossFit recommends starting at the top of the box to improve efficiency and better use the stretch cycle period. It is also recommended that you take rest breaks on top of the box rather than the floor so you don’t waste energy.
- Go for three sets of three to start. Rest for at least one minute between reps so that exhaustion doesn’t lead to poor form and injury. You may eventually want to increase to two days per week but anything beyond that is likely to be more harmful than helpful.
Box jumps can be a good addition to your routine because they work your legs and core. They are a good way to build up your quads, burn fat and build power. The explosive power you build, along with improved strength and better reaction times make box jumps a good bet for pro athletes and weekend warriors alike.