The box jump takes the idea of a squat to the next level, increasing gains and requiring more exertion. It takes a lot of power to pull off a box jump, and this move improves your forward and upward movement while building lower body strength. By training box with jumps, you’ll have a better overall athletic performance can you increase your vertical jump.
This is also excellent cardiovascular exercise, as it boosts your heart rate, strengthening the heart and benefiting its longevity.
The box jump isn’t for everyone, though. Just because you know how to do box jumps at home does not mean you should be incorporating that into your exercise routine. There’s a level of skill and risk involved that you need to be aware of, so if you have mobility issues, are obese, or you are in poor physical shape, the box jump might not be right for you.
There are some common mistakes people make with this exercise, like not jumping high enough or they land hard on their knees. Some people allow their knees to collapse in the landing, that can cause injury and put excessive strain on your knees.
Your landing is crucially important, because if you land in a hunched over position using what’s known as a low squat, and this is very unhealthy for you. You could be stressing your back and causing damage that you may not notice until later on.
So, I’m going to show you how to do box jumps, walking through this step by step. I love this exercise and the high impact it adds to a workout session. I want to share with you how to do it safely and how to get the most out of the exercise.
How to Do a Box Squat Jumps
To do the box jump, you want to stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Make sure you’re standing a short distance from the box. You want to be far enough away that it will require a jump to get there but not so far away that you can’t reach the box by jumping onto it.
From this position and distance, start by bending your knees and swinging your arms back behind you. Push your hips backwards and then use your feet to push off from the floor. You’ll need to use a lot of force to push yourself from the floor onto the box, as you’re moving in both a forward and upward motion.
As you land, you’re aiming for a partial squat. Make sure your chest is up not round. Your back should be flat, and the impact should be able to be absorbed by your hamstrings and glute muscles. You also want to ensure that your knees are lined up with your toes. If you land heavy with a lot of noise, you are not landing quite right. You’re probably putting undue stress on your knees and back if it’s a noisy landing.
If you’re landing too heavy, you may need to strengthen your feet and legs, or you can switch out the box you have for something that is lower to the ground.
It’s best not to jump off from the box. You should stand up straight from the squat and then step down using a single foot at a time. This way, you are putting your safety first and ensuring that you don’t damage your knees. You are also giving yourself a short rest before you do the next jump.
Some people do jump from the box as part of their exercise routine, and if your legs and knees are strong enough to handle it, then you may want to consider doing any exercise this way. Just ensure that you have a soft mat to land on to help cushion the impact on your knees. You should also be careful and make sure you know how to land softly and lightly. If you’re struggling with a soft landing, then you’re putting excess stress on your knees and back, and you want to hold off on doing this downward jump until your form improves.
How to Do Weighted Box Jumps
Is the box jump not challenging enough for you? Are you not burning enough calories with this exercise? You can make it a little tougher by doing weighted box jumps. Just attach ankle weights and then do the box jump as normal. Keep in mind that you’re carrying around extra weight and you’ll need to push off harder from the floor as well as land more carefully so that you don’t enjoy yourself.
Ankle weights are the only way you can do weighted box jumps. You can also use a weighted vest instead of the ankle weights or you can do this exercise with dumbbells, if you’re confident enough in your upper body strength. Dumbbells are probably the least safe way to do this exercise and the least common way people will perform a weighted box jump.
I don’t recommend moving on to the weighted box jump until you’re comfortable with the regular one. This can be a really tough variation of the exercise to pull off, and I suggest it only for people who are experienced at doing the base exercise.
How to Do Box Jumps without a Box
What if you don’t have a strong box available or your box isn’t the right size for doing box jumps at home? You can still get the same benefits and work the same areas of your body with some variations on the box jump. The most common one would be box step ups. Like it sounds, you’re just stepping up and back down from a box. This should be a surface that’s about the height of a staircase step or the height of two steps. Instead of jumping onto a surface, you can step up and then back down.
This isn’t a strenuous or as effective as a box jump, so you need to spend more time doing it to get the same results as you would with box jumps.
There are other exercises you can do that offer similar benefits and that work the body with similar movements. These include Bulgarian split squats, walking lunges, reverse lunges, and the single leg press. All of these help to build strength and stability and to improve your motor control.
Is the Box Jump Right for You?
If you’re not sure whether you should incorporate the box jump into your exercise routine, then ask yourself a few questions:
- Is the box or surface I’m using too weak to hold me?
- Am I being treated for any serious health conditions?
- Do I have bad knees?
- Do I have a bad back?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you should reconsider doing box jumps. You may want to try one of the other activities I just listed for you above, as these are lower risk and require less skill and strength initially.
If it’s just a lack of confidence, then you can try some forward jumping onto a flat surface. See how you do with that, and if you feel confident, you can move on to the box jump.
The box jump may be an exercise that you can move onto later, once you’ve built up some of your lower body strength and improved your balance. It’s not a particularly risky exercise, but it can be more dangerous than your average workout move. That’s why it’s something you should take time to consider and test out in a safe manner before you literally jump right into it.