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How to build a mix of strength and explosiveness



This is “The Lift,” where we break down simple fitness activities that you can do anywhere – and not only, but properly. With these helpful tips, you can control your training process at your own pace.

Yes, yes – “box jumps” could be the name of a pogo stick that is decorated with poons, or a fancy trick. But today we dive deep into box jumps the exercise.

Box jumps are as easy as they sound. Your workout involves jumping on a box. However, the correct form is important to maximize benefits and minimize risk.

How to do a real box jump

  1. Stand with feet parallel, hip to shoulder width apart, and toes 12 (ish) inches from the edge of the box.
  2. Tense your core, bend your knees, and push your hips back into a partial squat to initiate the movement.
  3. Bring your arms behind your body and lower your weight to the center of your feet before jumping up. Swing your arms forward for momentum as you toss your body in the air.
  4. Land evenly on the box with your feet hip-width apart in a quarter crouch.
  5. Actively push your knees out so that they don’t collapse. Then straighten your hips and compress your glutes at the top.
  6. Keep the core taut as you step out of the box one foot at a time.
  7. Repeat this process, this time stepping down with your other foot first.

It may seem easier to jump back on the ground after the box jump, but that could lead to a physical disaster.

“I can’t stress enough how dangerous it is to jump back down,” said Pete McCall, personal trainer, fitness instructor and host of the All About Fitness podcast.

Jumping off the box (also known as “rebounding”) can put considerable strain on your Achilles tendon. It also puts unnecessary strain on the connective tissue in your knees.

And if you try to jump backwards off the box, you greatly increase the risk of falling, according to McCall. “If you fall, the two things that fall on the floor will be your bum or the back of your head,” he says.

Broken tailbone or concussion? No! Thank you very much!

If you’re a CrossFitter or a speed demon, you might be wondering, “But don’t jumps bounce back much faster?”

The answer: they’re a little faster … but negligible.

OG’s plyometric exercise, box jumps, is an explosive movement that can be used to improve your cardiovascular capacity, explosiveness, strength, and / or strength – depending on how you program it.

Lower box + higher reps = cardio strength

Higher box + lower reps = explosiveness, power and strength

To understand how box jumps improve explosiveness and why it’s important, one needs to understand how muscles are built.

McCall explains: Muscle is made up of two types of muscle fiber: Type I and Type II. Type I muscle fibers, also known as slow-twitch muscle fibers, are used by your body for endurance activities.

Type II muscle fibers, also known as fast-twitch muscle fibers, activate faster than slow-twitch muscle fibers and are what your body needs to make explosive movements.

“Training your Type II muscle fibers through explosive exercises like box jumps prepares you for when you need to use those muscle fibers in life,” says McCall. “When your type II muscle fibers are deconditioned, the risk of injury increases in everyday life.”

Leg to Leg to Leg.

More precisely, box jumps train your:

  • Quads
  • Hamstrings
  • Glutes
  • Calves

“Box jumps also affect your core and arms. To be honest, the arm section is negligible, ”says Kristian Flores, a certified strength and conditioning specialist from New York.

Start with a box height that you can jump to fairly easily. This obviously builds confidence in your ability to complete the exercise.

Once you are fairly familiar with the starting altitude, the ascent should depend on your goal.

According to Flores, jumping on a lower box (think 12 to 24 inches) with high reps is the best way to build endurance and improve your cardiovascular performance.

“If we jump on a higher box for fewer reps, we can train strength – the ability to generate maximum strength in the shortest possible time,” he says.

High AF box jumps might make great social media content, but experts say it’s pretty stupid.

When people post videos of themselves who box jumps 50 or 60 inches into the air do what they are indeed The upper body is thrown a few meters into the air and then the feet are quickly pulled up to reduce the distance.

“What really high box jumps actually measure is your hip flexibility and how high your hips allow you to bring your feet – not how explosive your lower half is,” says McCall.

In other words, a high box jump isn’t as beneficial as instagrammable.

Do you have a bit of a box jump phobia? No problem. Scale the movement to step-ups.

“Step-ups help you build some of the knee and core strength you need to box jumps in good shape,” says McCall. “Stepping on the box one foot at a time works most of the muscles and allows you to get to know the box in a less risky way.”

Because step-ups are a one-sided exercise that forces you to work one side at a time, they can better balance the two sides than box jumps.

“With box jumps, it’s still possible to have one side that pushes off the ground or absorbs the landing more than the other,” notes Flores.

Where jumps are neglected, however, lies in the area of ​​explosiveness. “Typical step-ups just don’t work on these type II muscle fibers because they’re generally not very explosive,” says McCall.

According to Flores, if you’re determined not to box jumps but still want to build explosiveness, you can increase the explosiveness of step ups.

“Instead of just stepping on the box, put one foot on the box before explosively propelling the opposite knee up and landing on top in a quarter crouch,” he says.

To get even more advanced and fancy, you can try jumping into a jump and landing on the same leg.

“This is an advanced move that requires a lot of hip stability, so not for beginners,” warns Flores.

Whether you are tough with a few box jump reps or less intense with a step up, make sure you have a good level of your balance.


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