Mastering The Box Jumps
Plyometric exercises can be extremely useful for athletes who need explosive strength in their sport. Thankfully, we're here to offer a fun, effective, and challenging way to build that explosiveness up. Enter, box jumps, the simple, yet brilliant endeavor in the gym. In fact, the gym can be one of the best places to perform box jumps, as most gyms have special plyometric equipment and won't have a long line like the more popular machines.
However, the great news is that box jumps are very simple and can even be performed outside of a gym with a little improvisation. If you don't have access to a gym, find a park bench or a low, sturdy table that you can jump onto. Now that you've no longer got an excuse, here are a few of CoachUp's favorite box jump exercises that you can perform to improve explosive strength.
FRONT BOX JUMP
This box jump is the most simple, but it will definitely leave you burning at the end! Begin with the box about a foot in front of you. Place your feet about shoulder-width apart and crouch into a squat position as your arms swing back. Explode up towards the box in one motion, trying to get as much height as possible in your jump. As you're about to land, crouch into an athletic stance and absorb the impact your landing through your legs. Remember to get those knees high! Your landing should be almost completely muffled with just the slight sound of your feet touching down. Pop down and reset, repeat this jump ten times over three sets.
DEPTH BOX JUMP
The depth box jump can be performed in a number of ways, however, our preferred method to teach goes a little something like this. First, begin by standing atop a box equal to your vertical leap. To perform the exercise, step off the box and jump off the ground as soon as you make contact. The goal is to minimize your time spent on the ground, so make it a priority and fire up off your toes. You can either jump straight back up in the air, as far forward as you can, or onto another box of similar height. Depth jumps will help you improve your reactive power as well as explosive power. Reactive power is incredibly useful in sports that require a sudden change in direction like soccer or football.
LATERAL BOX JUMP
The lateral box jump can help you improve explosive side-to-side movement. Like depth box jumps, they can be performed in a number of different ways. Start with a box that you can clear in one lateral jump, this is important to not over-exaggerate at first. Jump over the box and land on the other side, but you won't be stopping there! Upon impact, jump back over to your original position. Repeat this with the aim of increasing the speed at which you clear the box. You can also jump onto the box and then off to the side for an extra added challenge, but stay in control.
(Related: Read about how to effectively practice the bench press here.)
These box jumps will help improve your explosive strength and help you reach another level in your sport, guaranteed. Imagine having that crucial first step advantage to beat the competition to a basket, the finish line, or home plate, wouldn't that be great? Well, thanks to box jump drills and truly focusing on exploding each and every time, you can start reaching your goals. Of course, it would be remiss to not mention the incredible importance of not thoroughly stretching before doing any type of plyometric exercise. Remember, at the end of the day, you can't train if you're injured!
If you feel like you might not be reaching your highest abilities on the field or in the gym, consider reaching out to one of our private trainers. CoachUp's fine squad of trainers, leaders, and coaches will have you leaping, scoring, or breaking the ankles of your competition in no time! What are you waiting for?