For golfers (actually all sports other than powerlifting) it doesnt matter how strong you are if you can’t produce that force quickly. The need for speed is real people!
Jumps are an awesome training method to develop speed, power, athleticism and relative strength, qualities directly applicable to nearly every sport. However, box jumps are often over-prescribed, programmed poorly and executed by your average gym goer in such a manner as to make my eyes bleed.
Most of the box jump videos you see on youtube look cool but aren’t really all they are cracked up to be. That 50 inch box jump is a product of a decent jump and fantastic hip mobility, rather than pure explosive power. Even worst with these inflated jump heights people set themselves up for bloody shins and poor landing mechanics, not mention dangerous and embarassing youtube fail videos.
Box jumps for conditioning
Box jumps done for conditioning purposes are becoming increasingly popular, but this fitness trend isn’t a change for the positive in my opinion, let me explain why… Form breaks down as we tire, however form erosion in some exercises is worst than others, high power output, technically demanding ones in particular. Jumps used as a conditioning tool causes a breakdown of proper landing mechanics like pronation of the feet, valgus collapse of the knee and force not being properly absorbed (heavy landings) leaving the door open for injury or accident. In addition jumping for high reps will often minimise hip extension. And that ain’t good as full hip extension is the primary driver of explosive power in the lower body.
Keep box jumps early in the workout, after a warm-up and before lifting. High volume isn’t important, high performance is. 2-4 sets of 3-5 reps is my recommendation.
Box Jumps for ‘general fitness’population
Most general fitness folks rarely exercise and aren’t conditioned for high force, high impact exercises. Sedentary desk jobs, low impact steady state cardio and machine exercises are the norm. If they do start box jumps it is often to too high a box or with too quick a progression and the same faulty landing mechanics mentioned above become ingrained.
Work upto box jumps with low impact movements like skips. Then start at a low box height and master landing mechanics before progressing to greater heights
Landing mechanics 101
– Feet land flat on the box with no pronation or supination at the ankle
– Knees neutral rather than pointed in or out
– Abs braced. Any rounding of the trunk shows a power leak somewhere in the kinetic chain
– Land with chest and eyes pointing forward not down
– I don’t have any athlete land on a box with a knee angle lower than a quarter squat
– Absorb force on landing. Land quietly and demonstrate control on top of box
Here is a simple progression for those new to box jumps that will take you from crazy fool to box jump pro (and avoid any embarrassing fail videos too). Perform twice per week.
Week 1 – B-skips 3x20yards
Week 2 – B-skips 4x20yards
Week 3 – 2×5
Week 4 – 3×4
Week 5 – 4×4
Week 6 – 3×5 (increase box height)
Week 7 – 4×4
Week 8 – 4×3
Week 9 – 3×3 (increase box height)
Box Jump variations
There are numerous jump variations that can be used to tax different areas of jumping ability. Lateral jumps and 90 degree box jumps are some of my favourites, especially for golfers as they move the athlete into more lateral and rotational planes of movement (Shout out to TPI for making the great video tutorial of 90 degree box jumps featured below)