Breaking Down the Box Jump

Breaking Down the Box Jump

The box jump is arguably the most bastardized exercise on the internet today. There are a lot of misunderstandings about the purpose, goal and value of the box jump. Our goal with this post is to clear some of these up.

What is a box jump? Although it is a demonstration of power, that is not our primary focus of training in this exercise. What we are training is landing. The goal is to teach someone how to eccentrically control their body weight onto an elevated surface. I like to refer to box jumps not as plyometric, but “landing training.”

The speed of gravity has an approximate value of 9.8 meters (32ft) per second every second. So, by jumping onto an elevated surface in the early phases of training, we remove much of the forces from gravity. For example, if I jump 27” to land on a 24” box, I only have to control and absorb 3” of force from gravity. This is also why we step off of boxes and never jump off. If I jump off, I’m demanded to absorb all 24” inches of force, I might as well be jumping over hurdles. But that comes later, we want progressive stress and adaptation.

@justinjames99 has been one of the biggest culprits in brutalizing the box jump. If you watch his 61” box jump (don’t get me wrong, it is very impressive) he has not demonstrated the ability to move his center of mass 61.” He has demonstrated an ability to jump (very high) and land (very low) on a very tall box. However, the landing position of the box jump, should look identical (or very close to) the start position. Notice in the first video, my hips are roughly 36” off the floor at the lowest part of my start. My hips are also roughly 36” off the top of the box when I land. A display of my center of mass traveling all 24” (impressive right? 😏). The second video, shows me only landing 18” off of the top of the box, which demonstrates an ability to move my center of mass only 6” really.

The landing of a box jump should be quiet. Take off and land like a helicopter, not an airplane. Do not stack plates on top of boxes. Do not stack plates on top of boxes and ask your friend to stand there holding it for you. Jump onto stable surfaces only!