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An Examination Of The Box Jump

An Examination Of The Box Jump

The butchering of more complex lifts such as cleans and other Olympic lifts is something that has become more and more prevalent these days since many high schools, small box gyms, and other organizations have bought into the idea that power must be developed solely with the inclusion of Olympic lifting into their training programs. Today I want to look at another commonly applied method that is a good replacement for developing power and is pretty much idiot proof in terms of its application…or is it?

The Time Crunch…

As a coach working in the private sector over the last 14 years I’ve realized when it comes to training an athlete for a sport or an event that many coaches include Olympic lifting into the equation to help an athlete develop a high level of so-called power. Now don’t get me wrong Olympic lifts are great for developing power if the athlete doing the lifting is capable of doing so with a high level of respectable execution.

Onnit Colombian Amber Coffee

The last few words in that previous statement are the key. The point is that I see these lifts getting butchered by people all the time. The thing about performing Olympic lifts is that they demand a high level of technique, feel, and understanding.

This takes constant practice from the lifter and a great deal of instruction up front from a competent coach in order to pull all of this off. The thing is that all of these variables I just mentioned combined rarely come together to produce the desired result.

Once again I’m not opposed to the Olympic lifts and certainly include them if they are a good fit for the situation, but as a strength coach that is always working on a time crunch my goal is making sure that I want to get the most out of my students in the shortest amount of time. To me it’s all about efficiency!

Enter The Box Jump

So over the years I’ve realized that the key to this problem is being able to tap into some other drills in order to acquire a high level of power development. There are many drills one can rely on, but today I want to address the box jump.

For the most part the box jump is idiot proof in terms of it’s execution…or is it? Sure it’s nowhere near as difficult to coach and learn as a snatch, clean, or jerk, but there are still some very significant details that must be addressed regarding the plyometric box jump that I see many people ignoring when performing this seemingly idiot proof drill. Once again, we’re going to walk this thing through to make sure you can recognize how to do this with a high level of efficiency.

As you saw in the video I’m pointing out some very common mistakes people fall victim to when performing the box jump. Performing big ass jumps on a stack of boxes that goes to the ceiling in order to try and make the highlight video on the YouTubes is generally not the way to go when performing the box jump. In addition to this box jumps should not be treated like a conditioning drill.

So coach if we’re not jumping high then how do you expect to get better at jumping higher? Great question. The thing is that there is a time and a place for making high jumps, but if we’re wanting to acquire a safe and effective training response then once a trainee has a solid baseline of strength and athleticism we can simply load the the athlete to perform the jumps with either a pair of dumbbells, or a weighted vest. Progression doesn’t have to be ridiculous…it just has to be practical.

Like any lift or drill the set up in performing a box jump is crucial. As I pointed out here you want to begin the drill by checking your range. This will minimize you smashing your fingers on the edge of the box on the way up into the jump. Trust me…hitting the hands or scraping the shins is no fun.

Sure it’s not generally going to be a season ending type of deal, but it sure hurts like hell when it happens. Of course if you want to eliminate the worry of smashing body parts altogether you can simply go with a new cushy foam plyometric box.

In addition to this you want to make sure that your landing is soft. I always like to cue my students to imagine they are landing on a glass surface, or to land soft like Spider-Man. This communicates to the individual how to go about absorbing the landing and to achieve a greater level of body control.

As you can see here the box jump, along with other intelligently applied power drills, can be utilized to develop power in a much faster way in terms of convenience compared to a more technically demanding method such as the Olympic snatch, clean, and jerk.

The key in this approach is that I’m looking to get the biggest results in the shortest amount of time without having to worry about the athlete/trainee screwing it up. Although trainees do tend to be capable of screwing up even the most basic movements, but you get my point.

Werewolf Legend Bell

Once again I love Olympic lifts. Don’t take this article and interpret it as if coach Brandon is anti-Olympic lifting because that is not the case. However, I am about being practical, efficient, and sensible in my approach to get the most out of a given situation.

At the end of the day there are many ways to produce explosive power, mobility, and fitness for performance. Once again whether we’re implementing Olympic lifts, medicine ball throws, or box jumps we’re looking to train for that much needed triple extension of the ankles, knees, and hips to help the athlete/trainee to acquire a greater level explosive power.

Regardless of what method you prefer in your pursuit of power just make sure that it is efficient and that is done properly from the beginning. The whole point of training for results is being able pay attention to the details and to make intelligent progressions once a baseline is established.

I hope you enjoyed today’s post on the box jump. If so feel free to post up in the comments below. Stay strong and keep training smart!

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I'm a Certified Strength And Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and author. I have had over 17 years experience in MMA fitness, strength and conditoning, and athletic performance for most every sport. As an author and specialist I've written close to a million words on fitness and strength. I'm also a Muay Thai practictioner and enjoy helping others to reach their peak potential through fitness and performance.

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