"Step Down" – The Truth about Box Jumps – by Coach Rusty

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Box Jumps : step down vs rebound

After the most recent installment of box battles where we found an enormous amount of squatting and lower body movements. All athletes under fatigue in the 3rd and last WOD before the final were faced with “the chipper.” Including start and finishing with 30 box jumps (60 in total). A WOD which crushed most – if not all athletes (including this one) at the end of a long day. So what do you do go for speed and rebound every jump or save your legs and simply step down???

What is The box jump
Jump onto an elevated surface and stand up on top demonstrating full hip extension. This exercise is excellent for eliciting an enormous amount of power from the hips, demonstrating timing, coordination, speed and accuracy. A very good tool for any coach to measure performance of an athlete and their explosive power.

So is that bad??
Sure a 1RM box jump IS an excellent test, however multiple sustained efforts can be a disaster waiting to happen; As form breaks down for an increase in speed etc. our bodies buckle and it’s only a matter of time until BOOM! Achilles snap/tear, knee tweaks, shin bleed… Etc.  All of these are avoidable.. by simply stepping off the box. Sure you may lose a little time but you won’t lose your legs your most valuable asset.

Coaching Tip
As coaches when Instructing athletes to do high rep sustained box jumps we refer to the general rule of thumb:
Unless you have a back squat of at least DOUBLE your Bodyweight you will step down off the box, not jump down or rebound off the floor.

This is for the Athlete’s safety. Because unless your body is able absorb that much load and force that fast, them something is going to give. This is the same as why we say you must have 5 strict pulls ups before you can learn how to kip, or 3 strict chest to bar pull ups before attempting a muscle up – saving your shoulders.

When to use the “bounce”
Rebounding Box jumps or jumping down, should be saved for competition. Only where you are in a position where every second will count, and you have done the supporting supplementary squat work to absorb the forces and impact to the body.  Nobody wants to be the guy who got max box jumps in 60 seconds but now can’t walk for 6 months…

The box jump is an amazingly powerful movement. When athletes use their common sense correctly even with high rep work, they can still train hard be powerful and remain safe.

See you in the trenches –

Coach Rusty

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