The Power of the BOX JUMP
BY Joe Palumbo
Use this move to build a strong lean athletic physique.
Speed will bring your strength to new levels and the quickest way to get explosive power is with the BOX JUMP. Jumping increases your strength in upper and lower body and it forces you to use every single muscle in your legs and your arms as well. Plyometrics are a fun and effective alternative to a daily strength-training workout. Plyometrics refers to jumping, and in fact, plyometrics used to be known as “jump training”. Training with plyometrics can be the difference between being an average athlete or a great athlete.
Almost every athlete has to jump, so Box Jumps are as sport-specific as an exercise can get. Jumps are an awesome display of power, athleticism, and strength which directly affect qualities to nearly every sport. Incorporating this move makes the muscles work better instead of just focusing on making them bigger. Jumping really challenges the cardiovascular system and is a great way to get the blood flowing before a workout.
Box Jumps have great carryover to athletic performance, but if performed incorrectly, they can cause catastrophic injuries. Many athletes will perform box jumps and try to jump atop the highest box possible. This is not safe and form will be compromised. A good rule of thumb is to pick a box in which you can jump onto and you can fit both feet completely. This will ensure that you won’t miss the box and become injured. For optimal safety and performance, land in a stable position with your knees tracking over your feet, your hips behind your knees and your weight distributed evenly throughout your foot.
Practice perfect landing form, by starting with a low box. It is important to land in the same position from which you took off. Sometime you will see athletes land in an extremely deep squat. This means that the box is too high. This also translates to performance on the field. Do not land in a deep squat! Jumping power comes from hip extension, not hip flexion, so the goal of the exercise should be to move your center of mass as high as possible, not lift your knees up.
The athlete should land in a half squat athletic position. This is the importance when an athlete completes a box jump. If you want to reap the benefits, you have to perform them correctly.
HOW TO PERFORM A BOX JUMP
Begin with a box of an appropriate height 1-2 feet in front of you. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. This will be your starting position.
Perform a short squat in preparation for jumping, swinging your arms behind you.
Rebound out of this position, extending through the hips, knees, and ankles to jump as high as possible. Swing your arms forward and up.
Land on the box with the knees bent, absorbing the impact through the legs. Step down one leg at a time. Repeat.
For more advanced athletes, single leg box jumps can be performed following the same protocol.
About the Author Joseph Palumbo is an IFBB Professional Bodybuilder, Certified Trainer (SMART), Advance Sports Nutrition Specialist (ASNS) and Certified Navy Seal Fitness Instructor. Contact info; www.infinitelabs.com, [email protected]