The Science of the Box Jump

Are you tired of endless steady-state cardio sessions that seem to be getting you nowhere in terms of gains? 

The Science of the Box Jump

Do you wish you could cut your cardio time in half and still see the striations and cuts from head to toe?  Have you ever considered incorporating the box jump into your routine?

The box jump is a plyometric exercise that requires you to jump from the ground to an elevated surface – usually about 1 to 2 feet off of the floor. They are beneficial to improving vertical leaps, explosive strength and burning fat through metabolic stimulation.

As with all plyometric exercises, the box jump combines both strength and cardiovascular training into one exercise. This is beneficial in fat-burning programs as plyometric training has been shown to burn 25% more calories by moving from one exercise to the next in a circuit compared to resistance training alone.

Further, box jumps aid in developing muscle fibers by extending the muscles of the quads, hamstrings and glutes – and then contracts them in an explosive upward momentum.

In order to perfect a box jump, you must develop agility, coordination, accuracy and balance.

5 Steps to the Box Jump

  1. Lengthen the muscles – by bringing yourself down into a low squat. This motion prepares you to explode upwards.
  2. Explosive Contraction – occurs as you propel yourself upwards, using your explosive fast twitch fibers.
  3. Land Softly – by cushioning your landing. This is achieved by absorbing the shock with a slight bend in your knees as your feet hit the platform. You will more or less end in a squat position, similar to when you took off. Landing on your toes will help with the cushioning.
  4. Stand up – straighten your body to a completely erect position. This will emphasize control and overall balance.
  5. Get Down (return to floor) – moving backwards, you can either jump or step down. If you chose to step back, ensure that you alternate legs as you go.

Tip: Avoid looking down to ensure that your head and neck stay in a neutral position.

To see the cardiovascular benefits of this workout, perform reps back-to-back with no breaks. As you gain agility and coordination, this will become easier.

My favorite box jump routine is 8 sets of 10 reps with 30-45 seconds rest in between each complete set. I usually perform this routine following a gruelling weight training program. Not only does it minimize my cardio time, but it also works my entire body, increasing my heart rate and post-exercise oxygen consumption.

You can also increase your muscular strength and power output of your box jump by supplementing with the non-essential amino acid Beta-Alanine.

Beta-Alanine not only increases muscular strength and power output in athletes, but it has also been scientifically proven to be beneficial in building muscle, increasing anaerobic and aerobic endurance and delaying muscular fatigue.

It does so by helping your muscles alkalizing lactic acid build-up that can significantly hinder athletic performance.

In the long run, box jumps can help you bust through any training plateaus you encounter, whether you are on a field, in the gym or a on a 2-foot box.

Naturally occurring Beta-Alanine can be found in high-protein foods that contain the dipeptides carnosine, anserine and balenine. These dipetides can be found in chicken, beef, pork and fish.

If you are looking for a quick fix, ALLMAX Nutrition offers you two supplement options that can help you get through intense endurance training sessions.

Each serving (1 tbsp) of ALLMAX Beta Alanine gives your body 3.2 g of 100% pure pharmaceutical grade Beta Alanine. It can be taken on its own in water or juice, or added to a pre-workout that does not already include this non-essential amino acid. Its effects, however, are best experienced when taken evenly spread out four times a day.

If you need a more complete pre-workout supplement, try supplementing with MusclePrime. Not only does this Pre-Workout Intensity Amplifier already contain 2000 mg per two-scoop serving of beta-alanine, but it also includes a complex of caffeine, arginine, taurine and L- Leucine to help you focus, push, pump and power your way through any workout.

If the simple thought of 80 box jumps scares you, cushion the blow by incorporating Beta Alanine into your diet.

Valeria Fazio

Valeria Fazio holds a B.A. Honors degree in history from Carleton University and a diploma in professional writing from Algonquin College. She has been competing in amateur fitness and figure competitions for three years, and has recently qualified for the 2011 Ontario Provincial Figure Championships. As a certified personal trainer and nutritional coach, Valeria helps others in her free time to achieve their fitness goals.

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