Box jumps are a fantastic plyometric exercise that help build strength, stamina, agility, balance, and coordination. But as "simple" as they are to do, there's something a little...intimidating about them, and they're actually a bit more complex than what meets the eye.
If you find yourself feeling like a 20 inch box is more like a mountain, consider these expert tips on increasing your vertical leap:
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3 Tips to Help Increase Your Box Jumping
1) Build up a tolerance.
Misjudging a jump to a box can lead to serious injury (think: smashed shins or hurt shoulders and wrists). One of the best ways to prepare yourself for higher jumps is to build yourself up to your goal height gradually. Try progressively adding height.
You may also want to add in additional exercises to your training program that help you improve your agility, proprioception, and explosive power: think hang power cleans with a barbell, kettlebell swings, and agility ladder drills.
2) Use your arms.
Your arms are like pendulums that can help you gain inches! When you're preparing to leap, bring your arms back, as you jump up, rapidly flex them forward. Ideally, when you land on top of the box, your arms will be pointing forward and about shoulder distance apart. This arm movement helps you keep your center of mass over your base of support, even as it changes.
3) Land with your knees out.
When you consciously push your knees "out" as you land on top of a box (or at the end of any other type of jump), you're actively engaging your hip muscles and automatically helping your balance.
Have any other tips for conquering that deceptively intimidating box?
Let us know your gravity-defying tips in the comments below.