4 min read
Do you ever see people jumping on boxes at the gym and think "that looks a little silly"? Well as silly as it may look the box jump exercise is one of the best explosive movements out there for building leg muscles and developing better balance. Instead of looking at box jumps like a fool’s errand, look at them as an opportunity to not only gain strength and power but also a way to get in great shape and even improve running capabilities and balance. Not to mention… it can be fun! If you’ve ever done them for leg day, I’m sure you’ll agree the burn is intense, but the feeling of growth you get post-workout is well worth it.
Instead of just jumping in the air, box jumps give you a goal height to reach. Typically, this height is a bit more than you would usually jump, which encourages your body to work harder. As a result, you put forth more effort and gain greater benefits in terms of power and force development. Additionally, box jumps are challenging for your cardiovascular system, which means they can help you improve endurance and even help with improving body composition.
While the biggest muscle groups you will work with the box jump are in the legs (quads, and glutes in particular), this exercise also helps develop core strength and balance. In order to make sure you land gracefully upon completing the jump up, you’ll need to rely on solid engagement of the core abdominal muscles. That makes this a fun exercise to build a stronger core, especially when you’ve had enough of sit-ups and crunches.
Box jumps improve power development and allow you to activate and contract your muscles faster and with higher force. Even if you’re just interested in building more strength and building bigger muscles, having improved power generation means you’ll be able to lift heavier amounts of weight, with higher force.
Lifting heavier weight with higher force will make you stronger and also encourage your muscles to grow to a bigger size. As a good example, box jumps can help you develop a stronger squat.
Box jumps require most of your body to move in unison which activates a lot of muscle all at once. This means you’re using a lot of energy, especially if you do multiple reps.
If you decide to use box jumps repeatedly like in many of our Edge Strong classes, you’ll need a lot of energy to jump high enough, but also to recover between jumps. Your cardiovascular system will be working overtime to help you recover, but also perform. And since repeated box jumps are so intensive, you’ll also burn through a massive amount of calories, which can make weight loss and improving your body composition a breeze.
Box jumps don’t necessarily load your bones with extra weight. But when you jump off of the box, the force of landing similarly stresses your bones, potentially initiating the same growth response.
Due to their versatility, there are many benefits of box jumps for runners, and if you care about running performance, you should be using this exercise. As we mentioned before, if you do box jumps repeatedly, you’ll be stressing your cardiovascular system. As a result, your cardiovascular system will adapt to help supply your muscles with nutrients and oxygen. These adaptations can help you run longer and do so faster.
Box jumps have also been proven to help runners use less energy for the same running distance, making them more efficient. Being more energy efficient translates to being able to run further distances at a faster pace, which is a goal for just about any runner.
If you can't make it to the gym, or need something less challenging on your knees, try these alternatives which are equally challenging and rewarding: