Box Jumps: A Good Exercise?

Box Jumps: Too Dangerous?

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We've had a few injuries over the years at Haka Fitness related to Box Jumps including my own now permanently dented shin... I think it begs the question of whether or not they are a worthwhile exercise or just a way to look cool to everyone around. Head over to YouTube and you'll see impressively high jumps, with bad form and questionable programming. So why do we do them? And, most importantly, how do we do them right?Box Jumps are one of the best exercises to strengthen the lower body while improving speed, reaction, and control. This move promotes strong push off and controlled landing, reinforces mechanics for absorption of impact, and increases explosiveness... when it's done right.

Here's a few errors we see often with tips on how to make this move the RIGHT move for you!

1. Landing in a deep squat on top of the box or not even totally landing.

If you can't land solidly on top of the box in the same depth of knee bend as your take-off, then you're just doing a tuck jump with a box tap. The landing should never be below parallel knee bend and the entire sole of the shoe should land lightly, soundlessly on top. Can't do it? Drop the box height and aim for a landing you can stick!

2. Rebounding OFF the box.

This is where you hit the top of the box and immediately jump backwards right back down again. This is bad for a few reasons. First, you don't get the muscle memory of sticking the landing, telling the body that this is how a landing should look and feel. Second, the jump down is a big impact on the joints and stresses the Achilles. Try a 2 sec hold in you're landing on top and then just step down. These aren't meant to be fast, they ARE meant to be powerful. So set up and explode!

3. Taking the exercise lightly.

Box Jumps lend themselves to a lighter spirit. I mean, there's no barbell hanging over your head threatening to crush your brains. But, as we've proven lately, they are just as dangerous! When performing a box jump, be sure you are completely focused on the move, maybe even turning to the wall to prevent any sight distraction. Jump Big and Jump High, but be sure to jump with Intention!

Box jumps are a really great and fun exercise, and they are here to stay. The benefits far outweigh the dangers when performed well and within well designed programming!