I used to exercise every day for hours on end. When it came to exercise, I thought ‘doing more’ was best. Yet, I was quickly burning out. And finding the time to work out each day was a headache and a half.
So, I did some research.
I came across plyometric movements and the benefits of box jumps. After a few minutes, I was convinced. Doing interval work with box jumps for only 15-20 minutes a few times a week could reap the same benefits and then some.
So, let’s take a more thorough look at this killer plyometric exercise.
What Do Box Jumps Do for Your Body?
If you want to enhance your muscle tone and gain explosiveness, endurance, and power, box jumps have got it all.
A box jump is a plyometric exercise where you jump from the floor up onto a box or another elevated surface.
It’s also accessible for most fitness levels. However, it is high impact, which means it’s not suitable for everyone. Yet, if you’re looking for a little more spare time, explosive moves, like tuck jumps and box jumps, can cut your workout in half. At the same time, you also reap the same benefits as most other types of exercise.
Box jump training comes with a ton of advantages. Plus, it works more than just a single muscle. Box jumps engage your:
In other words, combine this with a bit of weight training, and the plyo box jump could become one of your main lower-body moves, especially if you want to tone your entire body. So, what are the exact benefits of box jumps?
Box Jumping: Why Bother?
If you’re considering doing this exercise, you’re likely curious about the exact benefits. So, let’s take a closer look. How can box jump training improve your athletic performance and your life?
Benefit #1 – It’s an Excellent Go-To for Vertical Jump Training
If you’re an avid basketball player, this explosive exercise can add to your vertical jump training regime. You work the same muscles that add that power and height to your jump. In turn, it might just increase your vertical jump range.
Benefit #2 – It Increases Explosiveness, Power, and Endurance
Regular box jump training is a wonderful way to enhance your explosiveness, power, and endurance – all in one. This move gets your heart rate up, which contributes to endurance. And it uses the muscles involved in jump takeoffs and running starts, making your body explode past that start line. On top of this, you also increase your full body strength.
Benefit #3 – It Burns Calories
This jumping exercise makes your heart pump and your muscles work. This means that your energy requirements go up. At the same time, performing box jumps regularly can increase your overall muscle mass, further contributing to an increased caloric output.
Benefit #4 – It Strengthens Your Legs
All that taking off really works your glutes, calves, quadriceps, and hamstrings. Performing box jumps are a sure-fire way to tone your legs and strengthen your lower half.
Benefit #5 – It Improves Balance
Over time, performing box jumps will improve your balance. How do box jumps do this? They force you to jump and land on a small area with both feet. This means that you have to have good coordination and ensure both your feet land at the same time so you don’t go toppling over. Remember to keep each knee loose (slightly bent) as you land to help absorb that impact and to keep yourself balanced.
How To Perform a Box Jump
A normal box jump is simple. Ideally, you’ll want a box height or elevated surface 12-24 inches off the ground.
If you want to target your endurance more, you may want a lower box combined with high reps. If your goal is to increase power, you may prefer a higher box with fewer reps.
For any beginner, you may want to begin with a lower box height either way. This can help you ease into the exercise and avoid overdoing it.
So, how do you perform a box jump?
- Position yourself with your feet shoulder-width apart about a step away from the box or elevated surface.
- Bend your knees, almost as if you’re going into a squat.
- Bring your arms slightly behind your body.
- Then, propel your body up and forward. As your body moves up and forward, swing your arms forward with the momentum.
- Land on both feet, keeping your knees soft and bent.
- Step down and repeat for your desired number of reps and sets.
Creating Your Box Jump Workout
If you’re wondering how to add this plyometric movement to your workout routines, I’ve got you covered. There are countless ways you can add this exercise to your next workout or regular routine.
You can start with box jumps as part of your warm-up. After you’ve completed your initial warm-up, perform 10-15 reps of box jumps for 2-3 sets. After this, you can jump into your regular training plan, such as strength training.
Alternatively, you can also choose to add box jumps into any workout as a high-intensity interval. If you’re looking to lose weight, this type of workout is usually where the magic happens. This means that you would add a set of box jumps in between each strengthening move. For instance, you could perform a set of squats with weights, then perform a set of box jumps, alternating between the two. You could also swap out box jumps for jump rope moves or even a squat jump.
If you’d prefer to ditch the strength training with weights, you could also do box jumps as part of a regular high-intensity interval program. This usually involves a minute or 30 seconds of high-intensity work, such as box jumps or tuck jumps, followed by a low-intensity move for a minute or 30 seconds, such as a plank hold or air squats.
Mix it up and find what your personal preference is when it comes to incorporating this explosive power move into your workout.
Reducing Injury Risks
The most important piece of every exercise is to ensure you’re performing it correctly. Incorrect form or inefficient execution may quickly lead to aches and pains. Plyometric training also comes with tons of risk due to its fast pace and high intensity. So, what should you watch out for? What are some common mistakes?
1. Avoid Overdoing It
Yes, box jumps have benefits. However, overdoing it on any one exercise can quickly lead to repetitive strain injuries, and the box jump is no exception. Start by performing this exercise once or twice a week with at least 2-3 days in between.
2. Choose the Right Box Height
When in doubt, go with a shorter plyo box. Choosing a box that is too high may result in injury during the landing phase of the jump.
3. Try to Step Off the Box
Your joints wear down. And there really is no reason why you shouldn’t just gently step off that elevated height. If you’re constantly jumping down, you increase your chances of injury.
4. Stick the Landing
The box jump landing is tricky for some. When you land, your feet should remain shoulder-width apart with your knees turned slightly out. Avoid caving your knees inward. Further, keep your feet flat on the landing and make sure they plant down at the same time.
5. Keeping Your Core Engaged & Your Spine Neutral
Throughout the movement, focus on tightening through your core, which means tightening the muscles in between your hip bones. Engaging your core will protect your lower back as you jump and land. Avoid rounding your back as this may lead to injury.
Box Jump Variations
Maybe you’re tired of the same old box jump movement. How can you mix it up?
Here are a few box jump variations you can try:
The Rotational Box Jump
Position yourself beside the box with your feet shoulder-width apart. Push off as you would for a regular box jump and make a quarter turn in the air so that you land 90 degrees compared to where you started.
The Single-Leg Box Jump
For this one, a shorter box is a must. Begin as you would for a regular box jump, but this time, start on one foot. Lower down, bending your knees, and jump up onto the box. Land on the same foot. Make sure you always repeat what you do on one side on the other.
The Box Jump With a Weight Vest
This is essentially the same as a regular box jump, except you wear a weighted vest for this. The vest adds a bit more resistance to your jump, increasing your strength, power, and explosiveness that much further.
Gain More Power & Explosive Strength!
The box jump will get you there. Plus, it doesn’t require a ton of equipment or necessarily time. All you need is an elevated surface and yourself to get this move going. Amp up your workout with this challenging explosive movement. Burn more calories and pump out those endorphins. And make sure you do all of this as safely as you possibly can!
Frequently Asked Questions
Should You Do Box Jumps Every Day?
You can choose to do box jumps every day. However, if you’re prone to aching joints or bad knees, you will likely want to stick to doing this move only once or twice a week. Beginners should always start with a lower frequency than not.
Are Box Jumps Good for Weight Loss?
Absolutely! Box jumps amp up your caloric burn before and after your session. Additionally, since it’s a high-intensity move, your body will begin to burn fat before carbs, which is great for weight loss.
Do Box Jumps Help With Running?
Yes! Box jumps can help improve your endurance, as well as help you build explosive speed. The box jump also works similar muscles as you do in running, but in a different way. In fact, if you’re training for that next big race, box jump training an excellent option for cross-training.