Box jumps are a great way to train lower body power. Even though there is an extensive number of variations for this exercise it is usually seen early in an exercise program because it can easily be regressed and teaches good landing mechanics and force absorption. Both of which will keep you healthy while on the field or in the gym.
Unfortunately, many of us are not able to achieve all of the benefits of the box jump because of a lack of proper technique. Often times this is due to three reasons:
1. You’re jumping on a box that is too high
2. You’re not starting with your lower body in an optimal position to develop force
3. You haven’t been taught proper landing mechanics
Before you run yourself through the gamut of coaching cues and corrective exercises take a look below and see if you need to make any of the three adjustments listed. It is likely that one of these three technique tips is just what you need to clean up your box jump technique, which will in turn allow you to reap all of the benefits the box jump offers.
Lower the Box
It is understandable that when you’re in the gym you bring your ego with you.
Big Ego+ Box Jumps= Bad Box Jumps
When in doubt lower the box one height from what you think you can do, and instead work on proper landing mechanics every rep. Your landing position should look similar to your take off position. This ensures that your hips, knees, and spine are in a good position.
Jump From a Narrower Stance
Jumping from a hip-width stance instead of shoulder-width stance will allow your femurs to start from a better position in your hip socket and in return you’ll be able to develop more force and will be able to keep the angle of your femur and knees in a better position. The video below is a good example of how simply cueing someone to start with a more narrow stance greatly improves their technique.
The ability to absorb force is a huge determinant in keeping an athlete healthy during a long season. Learning to land as softly and quietly as possible when jumping is a great way to learn to absorb force, create body awareness, and develop stability and control in your hips, legs, and spine. When your feet land on the box softly make sure to hold for a second and check your landing position. You should be positioned in a quarter squat, with your knees centered, weight balanced through your entire foot, and chest tall.
When done correctly box jumps are a high reward exercise. It is important that you take the time to learn proper technique and minimize the risk. As you continue to master landing mechanics and learn to develop force from good positions the box jump will become one of the best exercises to train power and keep your lower body healthy.