Another kind of box challenge

So, as many of you will know by now, I’m all about setting challenges to keep this journey to health and fitness exciting – and to avoid complacency setting in.

My latest short-term challenge – with the longer-term one being to reach goal weight by mid-year – is to be able to do a box jump. The biggest hurdle I’ll have to overcome is my lack of confidence. Ever since I injured my ankle last year, I’ve been overly cautious.

To get me on my way, I asked Ebrahiem Titus of Titus Fitness – whose explosive training techniques always impress me – to give me some pointers. Here’s what we all need to know about box jumps.

What is a box jump?

Box jumps are compound, multi-joint plyometric exercises, which involve jumping from a standing stance to a higher surface.

(Plyometrics is also called jump training)

 

What are the benefits of doing box jumps?

  • Works on your cardio levels and gets your heart rate up.
  • Improves vertical leaps, explosive strength and fat burning.
  • Burns more calories than walking for an hour. The body burns 800 to 1000cal an hour when doing box jumps compared to 200 to 600 when walking for an hour.
  • Develops muscle fibers in your legs.
  • It works the glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, calves and hip flexors

 

I’m new to box jumps. What do I do to prepare for them?

  • Firstly, ensure that your body is well warmed up, particularly your legs. Make sure the surface, box or platform you’re going to jump onto, is stable enough to support your landing.
  • Start off with a low height, such as an aerobic stepper and do step-ups to get your body used to the action. Complete 3 sets of 10 reps of step-ups.
  • Once you’ve mastered the step-ups and height, you can progress to doing box jumps on a box and doing the complete action by fully extending your hip and knee joints.
  • It requires FOCUS and NO HESITATION.

 

What should I be aware of when doing box jumps?

  • Be 100% comfortable with the height you want to jump. Land firmly on top of the box with both feet, including your heels.
  • Make sure you complete full extension of the hips and knee joint when landing on the box.
  • When landing on the box, try to land as softly as possible and never jump down from the box/platform as this will put lower back, knee and ankle joints at risk of injury.
  • Use your arms to pump through the movement and focus on getting height because you’ll clear the height of the box.

It is essential to focus on correct technique:

  • Stand with feet shoulder width apart, about few cm away from the box.
  • When ready to jump, drop your hips into squat position then fully extend them and drive your arms through the air and land on the box.
  • Push off your feet through the floor to propel yourself on to the box.

“In the long run, box jumps can help you bust through any training plateaus you encounter, whether you’re on a field in the gym or on a BOX,” says Ebrahiem.

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