How to Do Box Jumps: Techniques, Benefits, Variations

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Target: Quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, calves, core

Necessary equipment: Boxes, steps, sturdy benches or chairs

Level: Advanced

If you follow any fitness accounts on YouTube or Instagram, chances are you’ve seen some pretty impressive box jumps, with athletes landing atop stacks of boxes over 50 inches tall. This is the kind of feat that is meant to impress and inspire other practitioners to take action, but it’s important to note that box jumping is a more advanced exercise that should be done with caution.

That said, after you develop basic leg strength and practice more beginner-friendly dance exercises, you should feel comfortable practicing boxing with a low or box jump.

Box jumps are a great way to build explosive power, further develop strength through your lower body, improve vertical jump height, and generally improve athletic performance.

It’s important to start with a low box to get used to the movement — choose something between 12 and 24 inches tall, depending on your personal strength and confidence level. In theory, this exercise is simple. The whole goal is to simply stand facing the box, then in one smooth motion, jump from the floor to the top of the box, landing both feet at the same time. That’s it. But, as with most things, the devil is in the details. It is important to master proper form as you learn the exercise, even if the short jump feels simple as it will allow you to perform the exercise safely and effectively as you progress to the high jump.

Box jumping requires significant lower body and core engagement, as well as coordination and focus to perform the exercise correctly. All in all, box jumping is a good exercise to include in strength or power-focused workouts, and they should be incorporated at the start of the routine, after a thorough warm-up. This ensures the muscles they target won’t get over-tired, making the exercise safer to perform.


Box jumping targets all of the muscle groups of your lower body, including the glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves, working together to build strength and power. However, in addition to the lower body, box jumping also requires strong engagement of the center of gravity and swinging of the arms, making them a full-body exercise.

One of the biggest benefits of box jumps is their ready application to enhancing athletic performance. Athletes from any sport or activity (basketball, soccer, and volleyball to name a few) can see improved athletic performance with the proper application of jump movements. box into the workout routine.

If you can get stronger, faster, and stronger through training in the gym, you can apply those benefits on the court or court. And even if you’re not a competitive athlete, building up your strength and power with box jumps in general can help you move stronger throughout your life. You can jump onto the curb, play a game of basketball with your child, or jump out of a chair if the opportunity arises.

Finally, box jumping gives you the opportunity to practice jumping to a vertical height without the impact of some plyometric exercise. Think about it: When you do a box jump, you’re trying to jump as high as you can, but your feet are landing on a high surface, with your knees and hips already slightly bent — one position. This helps to reduce the impact on the joints.

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This is completely different from a vertical jump from the floor or a jump in the air, where you are jumping as high as you can, but then your feet are back to the ground where you started. These jumping exercises put more stress on the joints and if landing form is not correct, can leave more room for injury.

Step by step instructions

All you need to do the box jump is a commercially available plyo box, a sturdy bench, a chair, or another sturdy raised surface. If you’re just starting out, get comfortable with the lower box or surface before trying to move on to the higher boxes.

Also, make sure that the box you choose won’t slide around or tend to tip over if you kick it. The goal is to land directly on top of the box, so theoretically most sturdy chairs or benches should work, but you don’t want to use your legs to grab onto the edge of the seat and the whole thing topple over when you try. landed on top of it.

  1. Stand facing the box, your feet about six inches from the edge of the box. Your feet should be hip distance apart, knees and hips slightly bent in a sport position.
  2. Bend your knees and press your hips back as you swing your arms back in a rhythmic motion.
  3. Toss the ball with your feet, jump straight into the air, swinging your arms up and forward as you fully extend your knees and hips to get as high as you can in the jump.
  4. At the height of the jump, bend your knees and hips to pull them forward so you can land on top of the box.
  5. Land with both feet at the same time on top of the box, leading with the ball of your foot, followed by your heels. Try to do this move “gently,” letting your knees and hips flex naturally to help absorb the shock of the landing.
  6. Check your foot position — when on the box, your feet should be about hip distance apart.
  7. Step—don’t jump—carefully out of the box and put it back on for the next rep.

Common mistake

Because box jumping requires the involvement of the entire body in an explosive motion, there are many ways things can “go the wrong way”. While the concept is simple and straightforward – you’ve been jumping at some ability in theory since you were a kid – the only way to progress effectively is to make sure you’re doing it. perform exercises correctly.

Pick a box that’s too tall

Starting with a box that’s too tall is one of the most common mistakes. For starters, it’s a good way to lose your confidence if you can’t do the exercise. You’re also more likely to kick or kick a box, fall or scratch your shin.

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If you’ve never done the exercise, start with a short platform — just 12 to 24 inches — to get comfortable and make sure you’re using proper form. You can always level up to the next box height if you find jumping too easy. And remember, the box is a tool, not a badge of honor. The goal is to work on the explosive power and vertical height of your jump—something you can do whether you’re using a 12-inch box or a 48-inch box.

Jump out of the box

It’s quite common practice to see people jump out of the box to reset or recover for their next iteration. But it’s important to understand that jumping from a raised surface, while it may seem easier than jumping onto a raised surface, actually puts a lot of stress on your joints and If you’re not careful, that’s when injuries are most likely to happen. happen.

Even if you’ve done a lot of plyometric exercise and are comfortable doing the “deep jump” (jumping off high surfaces), you should still exercise caution and step out of the box carefully, instead for jumping. This is especially true for beginners and those making their way to higher jumps, but really applies to everyone.

Poor foot or knee alignment when landing

Landing correctly when jumping box is key to preventing injury, especially to the knee. Common mistakes are landing with one foot in front of the other, landing with your feet together, or undergoing a knee flexion (the “bend” of your knees toward each other) as you continue soil. Do the exercise in front of a mirror or have a friend watch to check for unwanted knee movement.

A common culprit for this problem is weak glutes and hips. If you can’t seem to fix the problem after a few tries, keep doing plyometric exercises like the box jump and work on developing greater lower body strength with exercises like the squat, bridge, and bridge. buttocks and step sideways. To capture poor footing, look down as you land. Your feet should be about hip distance apart, just like when you’re off the ground.

Don’t go through full hip extension when you jump

Two of the main goals of box jumping are to increase explosive power and the height of the vertical jump. But to effectively achieve these two goals, you need to experience full hip extension when jumping, jumping into the air as high as possible before flexing your hips and bringing your knees forward to execute the next shot. soil.

A common mistake people make is skipping the vertical jump with the hips fully extended, cutting the exercise short by “jumping” from point A to point B, just getting enough air to pull the knee back. forward during grounding. Try doing the exercise in front of a mirror to see if you’re extending your entire hip while jumping.

Do a Box Jump at the End of the Exercise

Box jumping requires fresh feet to be most effective. If you save your box jumps at the end of your workout, you’ll get tired and you won’t be able to perform them to the best of your ability. And as such, you won’t see the kind of improvement over time that you want to see.

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Go ahead and hop the pencil in the box to start your exercise, after a warm-up. Keep reps fairly low—just two or three sets of three to five reps should suffice, especially if you’re focusing on optimal form and performance.

Modifications and Variations

Need a modification?

If you’re not ready to jump into a box, try the steps instead. While the exercise won’t develop explosive power or vertical jumping height like the box jump, it will target the same muscle groups on each side of your body. Try adding a light jump at the top of each step up to develop a bit of power that helps translate more effectively into a full jump.

Want to join a challenge?

It’s easy to make box jumping more difficult — just get a higher box! As you develop greater strength, hip mobility, vertical jump height, and strength, you can continue to raise the score by moving on to the next level of the box.

Safety and Precautions

Most importantly, you should have a good foundation of lower body strength before doing box jumps.

Only incorporate box jumping after consistently following a comprehensive strength training program for several months.

Before you start, spend a few weeks adding lower plyometrics, like jumping rope or skipping exercises to warm up. These exercises will help your muscles grow accustomed to higher-impact, power-generating movements before you do the box jump. And, as said before, start with a low box. It’s a safer option for newbies, and it reduces your chances of experiencing any potential injuries, from falls to shin splints to ACL tears.

For athletes in good shape, box jumping is usually a safe option, but if you have a lower extremity injury or back pain, pause trying them until the problem is resolved. Also, pregnant women should consult their doctor before doing the box jump. If you’re pregnant and have been exercising regularly and doing boxing regularly, your doctor may give you the green light to resume early in your pregnancy, but will likely ask you to back off when you’re pregnant. evolution. If you’re pregnant and haven’t exercised or done the box jump, this is an exercise that should probably be avoided until you’ve delivered your baby and your body has had some time to recover.


Incorporate this and similar moves into one of these popular exercises:

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