We love plyometric exercises. They’re an incredible way to boost your strength and improve your explosive power in a short period of time, and they’re an excellent exercise to burn fat and tone your muscles.
We’ve already looked at how to perform plyometrics effectively, but here we want to focus on one of our favourite plyometric exercises – the box jump.
The benefits of the box jump
As with any plyometric movement, box jumps provide a wide variety of benefits to our training routine, and when used effectively they can help us tone up and develop lean muscles quickly and effectively. Performing box jumps regularly will:
- Strengthen your legs – As a form of speed bodyweight training, you’ll be using all the muscles in your lower body and be improving and developing the reaction of fast twitch muscle fibres
- Work your core – You’ll need to stabilise your landing when you jump on top of the box, and your core is vital in this
- Burn fat – Box jumps are a serious, high intensity activity, which means you’ll be blasting fat and burning calories from the get go and well after you’ve finished jumping too
- Boost your speed, stamina and flexibility – Whatever sport you enjoy doing, box jumps will help you improve with a quicker, more powerful and more formidable force
- Aid balance and coordination – Landing on the box correctly takes skill and practice, the more you perform the exercise the greater the benefits you’ll see across your balance and coordination in everything you do
- Improve your squat and deadlift ability – If you’re focused on weight training, box jumps will develop the muscle depth and ability you need to work harder and more effectively when you’re squatting or deadlifting heavier weights.
How to perform a box jump correctly
Begin by standing in front of a plyometric box. We have them in the gym at Hale Country Club & Spa, so you can be assured you’re jumping onto a safe and effective platform.
Place your feet shoulder width apart and squat down into a half squat position, before exploding up. You should engage your hamstring and glutes, swinging your arms to propel your body and push your feet off the ground.
The trick is to land softly and gracefully, always bending at the knees to absorb any impact in a squat-like motion. Knees should be slightly above a 90 degree angle, and should never extend over your feet. Make sure your chest is up too.
Hold in this position for a couple of seconds, before standing up tall, and stepping down.
For a more advanced variation, start on top of the box, and then drop down to the floor before quickly exploding back up. Don’t let your heels touch the ground when you land on the floor.
Top tips to get the most out of the exercise
Form and technique are everything in this exercise, and you should focus on that above all else. Follow these tips to stay safe and improve further.
- Warm up and practice first. Perform static squats and lunges effectively, before practicing jumping in place, on the spot without any equipment. Technique is vital here, so nail that before you add a physical box into the equation.
- Line up your distances. Mark the floor if you need to, ensuring you’re close enough to reach the box when you jump, but also far enough away so you won’t catch the box with your hands when your arms swing (or miss the box completely).
- A good landing on the box is hip-wide or wider; feet should be spread on a wide platform that’s stable and secure.
- Always work at a height you’re comfortable with; falling off the box has many potential injuries, both short and long term. Extra height may not even be beneficial to your workout. It shouldn’t be about “getting your feet on the box,” but rather, making the perfect landing. You shouldn’t end up in a deep squat on top of the box, as this just means it’s too high.
- If you need to increase the challenge, consider adding a weight vest.
Above all, make sure you stretch thoroughly after your workout, and don’t over do it. Take things easy at first, and remember that plyometrics is an intense form of exercise on the knees and joints.
If you need any extra help or advice, just speak to any of our trainers in the gym.