That image of sweaty CrossFitters leaping on to a wooden box: it’s one of the quintessential CrossFit exercises. You might not know what it’s called, but you’ve seen it before.
Box jumps are one of the first exercises you’ll learn when you start visiting your local CrossFit gym. Amazing for developing an array of fitness benefits, box jumps are also an integral part of most CrossFit workouts. In fact, there’s a good chance you’ll do them on a weekly basis.
Even if you’re not a CrossFitter, box jumps can be of great use to your workout, improving overall performance and results. Let’s take a look at the benefits of box jumps, and how to correctly perform them.
Benefits of Box Jumps
The benefits of this bodyweight exercise cover everything from fat burning to explosive power:
Sure, squats, lunges, and the usual leg day exercises will increase strength, but box jumps are also an effective strength booster.
Unlike weightlifting exercises, box jumps require you to move all of your bodyweight from the ground to an elevated surface. This takes a lot of strength to pull off, which is why many beginners start with jump squats then add in the box later.
Coupled with your favorite leg day workout, box jumps can dramatically increase the weight you’re using and the results you see.
Although it seems redundant, there’s an important difference between strength and explosive power. Strength would refer to the physical ability of your body to move some form of resistance safely and efficiently. Explosive power, on the other hand, is how much force your body can generate as quickly as possible.
Think about the movement of a box jump: You have to generate a great deal of power in order to be able to leap up and on to the box. The higher the box, the more explosive power you’ll need. The more your practice box jumps, the more power you’ll develop.
This power will transfer into other exercises and movements. For example, you’ll find that you can generate more power from the bottom of the movement during a barbell squat.
In the true vein of CrossFit, box jumps are a high-intensity exercise that help to kickstart your metabolic rate and burn calories. Performed on a consistent basis, box jumps are a great way to support fat burning.
Box jumps burn calories during the exercise, but for hours afterward as well. Given their high-intensity nature, box jumps elevate your level of excess post-oxygen consumption or EPOC. When you exercise, you body is using large amounts of oxygen. Eventually, your body enters an oxygen deficit. Once you finish with your workout, your body works to restore blood oxygen levels to normal.
All this extra work burns calories. The greater the oxygen deficit, the more calories you’ll burn post-workout. Box jumps are an excellent way to create a giant oxygen deficit, ensuring you keep burning calories for hours.
Outside of being amazing for developing your strength and power while toning up your legs, box jumps can also improve your mobility.
Mobility is one of the first things we tend to lose as we age. It’s the classic use-it-or-lose-it principle. If you want to maintain your ability to walk, turn, and twist with confidence (not to mention remain independent), it’s key to work on your mobility.
Box jumps take your lower body, especially your hip flexors, through a full range of motion while increasing the length tension relationships between muscle groups. Combine this with the improvement in strength and power mentioned above and you can rest assured that your mobility will remain strong for years to come.
You don’t need an actual box to perform a box jump. While many of your favorite exercises require some form of equipment, box jumps only demand an elevated surface. That means you can do this exercise anywhere you go.
For example, if you’re traveling for work or if your gym is closed, you can visit your local park to find a bench that you can jump on to. Steps, the back of your truck, and playground equipment are also great box-free alternatives.
How to Perform Box Jumps
If you have prior knee issues, we would recommend wearing a knee sleeve as it will provide support and alleviate any muscle tension during the exercise.
Place a box in front of you that is of an appropriate height; one that is not too tall and not too short. Keep in mind that you can also use some other stable and elevated surface.
Put your chest up and shoulders back as you move your feet to shoulder width apart. Swing your hands up as you sit back into a half squat position. Now forcefully swing your arms down as you push off the ground with your feet. Jump into the air and land on the box in a half squat position. Keep your arms extended forward and let your thighs come to parallel.
Depending on your experience and comfort level, you can step or jump back down to the ground. Check your form and begin again.
Are Box Jumps a Part of Your Weekly Workouts?
What benefits of box jumps have you noticed? Have a video of yourself performing box jumps? Tag us on Instagram so we can share it!