You probably don’t hurl yourself into the air with all your might every day unless you frequently play jump frog with your children or animals. Even said, simply because an activity doesn’t resemble regular movement patterns shouldn’t disqualify it from your training regimen. One such exercise is the box jump.
A good example is the box jump, which can enhance athletic performance (even if you only participate in leisure sports leagues), as well as tendon, muscle, and cardiovascular health. Are you sure the heart-pounding action is worthwhile? Use this advice from expert trainers to perform the box jump and its variations safely and effectively. Additionally, learn more about the main advantages that the box jump has to offer.
According to Tawnya Nguyen, C.P.T., C.F.S.C. , a strength and performance coach and co-owner of Movement Society in Los Angeles, a box jump is a lower-body workout that entails leaping from the ground up onto a box, in case the name didn’t make it clear. She says you’ll need to use your muscles’ capacity to quickly produce significant quantities of force, or the ability to generate power. The box jump is regarded as a plyometric exercise in turn.
Having a hard time picturing the exercise Watch the box jump workout being performed by New York City personal trainer Rachel Mariotti , who is NCSF-certified, below.
A. With your feet hip-width apart and your arms lifted in front of your chest with your elbows slightly bent and your hands in front of your face, stand in front of a plyo box.
A. Press through the floor to jump up onto the box while simultaneously raising your arms back in front of your chest. B. Bend your knees slightly and swing your arms down and behind your body.
C. Land gently on the box while maintaining a high chest and slightly bent legs. To straighten the legs and go back up to standing, push through the feet. Step one foot at a time off the box while lowering your arms to your sides.
THE BENEFITS OF KEY BOX JUMP Your muscles, tendons, and cardiovascular system will gain a few health advantages from performing a few sets of box jumps on a regular basis.
IMPROVES SPORTS PERFORMANCE The box jump, a traditional plyometric exercise, tests your capacity to produce explosive power as quickly as possible, which can enhance athletic performance, according to Nguyen. According to Mariotti, “it helps you learn explosiveness and how to send force into the ground and use it like a trampoline.” In actuality, athletes who play basketball, soccer, handball, and volleyball all have improved jumping abilities because to research shows plyometric training. Additionally, according to the JHK information, performing just two to three sessions of plyometric training each week for four to 16 weeks has been observed to enhance jump height, sprint, and agility performances in team sports players.
The box jump exercise can also be beneficial for the mind. According to Mariotti, it improves cognitive agility, which is the capacity to think quickly, move your body, and fall elegantly. And to jump onto something and land well, you need bravery. Box jumps can improve your athletic performance both emotionally and physically, which is important if you want to win your family’s annual backyard volleyball game or your community’s intramural basketball competition.
IMPROVES MUSCLE AND TENDON HEALTH You’ll use the stretch-shortening cycle to generate the force required to propel yourself onto top of a box. Your muscles extend to build potential energy during the eccentric part of this process, then quickly contract to release it during the concentric phase, research shows . According to Nguyen, extending a muscle followed by a concentric motion that shortens it helps to increase the suppleness of the muscles and tendons in the lower body. Box jumps are a great way to increase your agility, quickness, and flexibility in your movements.
ACTS AS A ANAEROBIC TRAINING MODE Box jumps are a substantial cardiac test, even though they may not appear to be as taxing as a 30-minute run. According to Nguyen, box jumps are an example of an anaerobic activity. According to Rachel Straub, C.S.C.S., Ph.D., co-author of Weight Training Without Injury, during this type of exercise, your body burns glycogen, a stored form of glucose, or ATP, an energy molecule stored in your muscles, instead of oxygen. Your body can only carry out this workout for a limited period of time as a result. The good news: Research reported in the World Journal of Cardiology indicates that regular anaerobic exercise can aid in enhancing cardiovascular health.
WORKED BOX JUMP MUSCLES The quadriceps, which flex the hip, aid in balance, and stabilize the kneecap, the glutes, which help extend the hips and stabilize the pelvis, the hamstrings, which bend the knee and extend and rotate the hips, and the calves, which flex the foot and ankle, are all used in the plyometric exercise, according to Nguyen. Your core will also be important because it will work to protect and stabilize your spine as you propel yourself through each jump, according to Mariotti.
CHANGES TO BOX JUMP EXERCISES It’s okay if the standard box jump doesn’t seem appropriate for your body, your objectives, and your level of fitness. Try these box jump variations and progressions instead of sticking with the traditional version to find a variation that is most effective for you.
VERTICAL JUMP is a modification. Try reducing your box jump back to a snap down if you don’t feel ready to push yourself off the ground just yet, advises Nguyen. First, raise your arms above your head while standing on your tiptoes. Then you’ll rapidly stoop down while swinging your arms behind your butt and lowering your heels to the floor. She says that by using this low-impact substitute, you can practice the correct landing position and gain confidence while using a plyo box. Nguyen warns that improper force absorption during landing can be quite harmful to the body’s joints, particularly those in the lower half.
Try a straightforward vertical jump once you’re ready to work on developing power. According to Mariotti, this modification requires no special equipment and is slightly safer than jumping atop a box.
SINGLE-LEG BOX JUMP: PROGRESS Looking to make the conventional box jump more difficult? Start by raising the box’s height. When you’ve reached your limit there, Nguyen advises, think about jumping while gripping a light dumbbell (aim for less than 5 pounds in each hand). Alternatively, Mariotti suggests trying a single-leg box jump, which tests your stability and your capacity for power production (after all, you are only using one leg). As you advance, you should lower the box to a height that is roughly half that of the typical box jump exercise, advises Mariotti.
AVERAGE BOX JUMP ERRORS While it may be tempting to begin by attempting box jumps with a two-foot-tall plyo box, starting out too aggressively increases the risk of injury. Nguyen advises starting with a box that is as low as possible and working your way up from there. You may also use a workout step. According to Mariotti, you should start with a motion you aren’t terrified of, get used to it, and then gradually raise the height.
THE BOX JUMP: HOW TO ADD IT TO YOUR ROUTINE While anybody may enjoy and gain from include box leaps in their routine, according to Nguyen, the box jump is especially advantageous for athletes because of the force it generates. She asserts that “every athlete needs to be able to sprint quicker and jump higher.” And jump actions, particularly box jumps, are extremely effective in that regard. Nguyen continues, “Whether you’re an athlete or not, you should consult your doctor before trying box jumps if you have any chronic pain or ailments.”
If everything is clear, you should make sure that a few conditions are met before you begin leaping. To make sure your muscles are genuinely capable of creating power, Nguyen advises building lower-body strength first, especially in your quadriceps, glutes, calves, and hamstrings by performing squats, deadlifts, and other complex activities. (ICYDK, she says, “muscle power and strength go hand in hand.)
It’s also important to have good hip mobility, knee stability, ankle mobility, and ankle strength. When you land from a jump, your foot and ankle are the first parts of your body to contact the ground. If you can’t sustain impact through those parts of your body, your body will look for another way to land and will typically move upward toward your hips, lower back, and trunk, according to Nguyen. You need to ensure that you have a solid foundation so that your body can withstand the landing, says the instructor. Try a short bodyweight squat to see if your ankles are ready for the box jump. If you need to lift your heels or your calves feel tight, Nguyen advises that you should work on improving your ankle mobility. You may assess your hip mobility and enhance it by working on those squats and deadlifts, she continues. According to her, “Strength training is always going to aid enhance mobility in a significant capacity.”
When you’re ready to do box leaps, refrain from exerting yourself too quickly: Nguyen advises beginning with simply two to three sets of three to five reps and placing them at the start of your workout. Box leaps are quite taxing on your neurological system, according to her, and executing them while your body is already fatigued can increase your chance of injury (e.g. slamming your shins against the box or falling on your face). Raise the amount of sets and make sure you have ample rest in between them if you wish to increase the volume as you advance, she advises.
Most essential, don’t forget to enjoy yourself. According to Mariotti, as an adult, “you forget to embrace your inner kid.” And the finest advantage of the box jump is overcoming the fear of heights you get as you age.