Box jumps are an integral movement to help develop speed strength and vertical jumping power, which will have a great crossover effect on other aspects of training like running and weight lifting. They’re a fun and useful tool to add into your workouts, accessories or to test your maximal lower bodyweight explosive output.
Lets first take a look at what a box jump should look like vs what it shouldn't. We must develop a sound awareness of what our body is doing first before we develop any intensity or play with progressions.
When setting up for a box jump stand fairly close to the box, roughly one foot away. We want to be landing in the centre of the box. As we execute the jump we start by bending the legs with the knees tracking forward above the ankles. Use the strength in your legs and momentum from your arms to force your feet to leave the floor. As we jump, we throw our arms up, this will help keep our chest up and jump as high as possible. When landing on the box, we want to land with our chest tall, knees tracking the toes and the weight in the centre of our feet.
More often than not, especially if we encounter higher rep schemes, awareness goes out the window and we see knees caving in, landing too low in a squat or landing heavily on our toes. If this does happen, we want to be safe in those positions so moving less linear will generally help condition potential awkward landings. However, when performing box jumps our aim is to increase explosive power, not to just get reps done for the sake of reps.
If we are doing higher reps but have a disregard for how we are moving that’s where we’re probably going to encounter niggles or injuries.
Feet hip-width apart.
Land softly (Think about landing soft and you will. If it’s not working then try lowering the height a first and practice landing with as little noise as you can).
Land as tall as possible.
As you land, look up.
Step down from the box.
Rebounding box jumps are sport-specific in terms of conditioning, not for the general population. Unless you’re a competitor conditioned to training with high volume and have developed the elasticity to add rebounds (jumping down and back up), then I recommend you step down. The last thing you want is to blow your Achilles. Box jumps are a great conditioning tool but you don't want them to put you out of training.
If box jumps scare you, take your time and gradually progress the height. There’s no need to rush. Good movement and being aware of yourself is far more important and impressive than performing them badly for the sake of a number.