You don’t have to be an elite athlete to perform box jumps. In fact, you don’t even have to be a good athlete to do box jumps. No matter your fitness level, incorporating box jumps and other plyometric drills into your workout is a great way to increase your heart rate, boost metabolism, burn fat and shape your butt and thighs.
Master trainer Nicole Chaplin out of NYC explains that “Plyometric movements are movements in which a muscle is loaded and then contracted quickly, using the strength, elasticity and innervations of the muscles to jump higher, sprint faster, throw farther, or hit harder, using explosive power to ultimately perform better overall. And box jumps are a type of plyometric exercise. They are excellent to include in a lower-body workout because they add a sector of additional intensity.”
Not only does your own bodyweight play a huge role in the intensity of your plyo workout, but gravity does as well. “Because you’re fighting gravity to get yourself up on the box, you’re using it to help build muscle, increase strength and develop power,” says Nicole, who also recommends using box jumps in conjunction with a strength training workout for your legs for maximum results in developing your lower body— especially your glutes!
Four Steps to Tackle the Box Jump:
1. Set up your box. You can use different types of elevated surfaces at different heights to do the exercise. A plyo platform, an aerobics step, a workout box, or if you are training outdoors, a park bench can be utilized to do a box jump.
2. The box jump requires explosive power and muscle contraction in the lower part of your body. Always begin with your muscles warm to prevent injury. Warming up your muscles is crucial and extremely important to get them flexible and ready to absorb the shock of the jump and the descent. You can engage in 10 minutes of low-intensity cardiovascular exercises and accompany it with stretching to ensure that your muscles are warm and ready to execute the exercise effectively.
3. Begin with a warm-up set of 10 jumps. Stand in front of your box with your hands clasped in front of your chest and elbows close to your sides. With your feet shoulder-width apart, jump up onto the box while pulling in your abs toward your spine. The object is to land softly onto the elevated surface. Hold your position on top of the box for a count of one second. Execute using 50 percent of your power in this warm-up set— this is solely to increase the blood flow in your legs, and increase your heart rate to prepare for the exercise.
4. After your warm-up set, execute the box jumps using all your strength to drive the power from you heels all the way up to your hips, and incorporate your arm movement forward at the same time to add momentum to your jump. Land on the box with both feet at the same time and end in a squat position. Step down after every jump and repeat. Nail 3 sets of 10-15 reps. This exercise can be part of a superset with any lower-body leg routine to add spice and fun to your workout.
Tip: When doing box jumps, start small, then add height as you master the shorter distance to the ground. This will give you a progression to work to. It will enable you to conquer any fears you may have in regard to jumping.
Box Jump Variations for When you Get Good!
Lateral Jump to Box
1. Stand to the side of the box with feet slightly wider than hip-width apart.
2. Lower body in to a semi-squat position and jump up on to the box. Do not hold a squat position before jumping up— keep the time between dipping down and jumping up to a minimum.
3. Feet should land softly on the box. Step back down and repeat.
Lateral Box Push-Offs
1. Stand to the side of the box and place the left foot on top of the box.
2. Push off the box using the left leg only and explode vertically as high as possible. Drive the arms forward and up for maximum height.
3. Land with right foot on the box and left foot on the ground to the other side of the box.
4. Repeat from this side.
Lateral Hurdle Jumps
1. Stand beside object to be cleared.
2. Bring knees up and jump vertically but also laterally off the ground and over the barrier.
3. Land on both feet and immediately jump the other direction back over the barrier.
4. Try not to pause between jumps or sink down into a squat position.
1. Begin by standing on the box with toes close to the edge, feet shoulder-width apart.
2. Step off (do not jump off) box and land on both feet. Immediately jump up as high as possible and reach up with both hands toward the sky. The jump should be vertical with no horizontal movement.
4. Ground contact time should be short. Landing should be soft. Note: Start with a shorter box. Intensity can be increased by gradually increasing the box height.
About Nicole Chaplin:
NICOLE CHAPLIN is a fitness enthusiast from Miami, FL. Her passion for fitness stems from being a cheerleader, University of Miami Dancer, Master Personal Trainer and Fitness Model. Launching N.C. KAIROS NEXUS™, her clientele ranges from athletes to clients seeking rehab. Her high level of natural magnetic energy makes her workouts addictive! “The healthier we are, the better we perform, and success moves from within our minds to within our grasp!” ~N.C. www.nicolechaplin.com