Maximise Your Plyometrics

Whadaya gotta do? Jump as high as you can.

 

That's it.

 

But for the sake of a decent word count let's expand. Starting with what not to do.

 

How to Butcher A Box Jump.

 

 

I'm not going to assume it is obvious what's wrong with this, so let's start with the most important. The landings are crap. Not just landing on the box, but back onto the floor to start the next.


Landing without tension

 

Not using the muscles to control and absorb the landing only places more stress on the bump stops. That is, your acetabulum (socket ridge) and femoral neck (Bit between the femur and the ball) takes a hammering.


It's not ok. You end up promoting (albeit long term) bony adaptations you do not want. Especially as a martial artist, where hip flexibility influences the pecking order of badass-ness.

 

 

Just a 2mm increase in diameter, can heavily impact your hip range of motion in all planes.

 

As far as developing good muscular control is concerned, it isn't just the hips that take a beating. Your knees can also start to take unnecessary stress from poor force absorption.

 

We focus a lot on explosive extension based patterns. We should be focusing just as much, if not more on deceleration/flexion based movements too.

 

The next issue is the jump itself.

 

I remember a conversation about box jumps with a new client that went something along the lines of this.

 

"I can never seem to improve my max box jump height."

 

"How long and how often do you do them?"

 

"3-4 times per week, I tend to do 5 rounds of 10."

 

"Huh? Odd. Let me take a look."

 

*Box Jumps*

 

"Ah, I see what it is. You're not jumping."

 

"What?"

 

"Yep. Wanna go play Monopoly?"

 

It's one thing to spring off the calves, and simply lift your knees up as high as possible. It isn't going to help you jump higher. Focus more on how high you can get your hips.

 

I'd rather see somebody knock a couple of inches off their current max and practice squatting down and exploding out of the hole. Since I know it is going to tease out the adaptation we are looking for. More like this.

 

 
See the difference? It's magical isn't it. I'm also killing two birds with one stone by really focusing on a sweet and controlled landing. You're on the box and you need to get down anyway? So. Do it.

 

Or you can land on your face if you want. Although I wouldn't recommend it, the world is your oyster.


Now that's taken care of.

 

Let's look at a few different variations of basic not-looking-to-go-OTT-for-Instagram-likes type box jumps.

 

Long Jump

 

 

Stuff to think about. Explosive hip extension is your best friend for forward drive. Pause the video the moment my feet take off, you're going to see my hips open and driving forward.

 

So when you film your own and analyse it. Assess how much hip drive you're generating. If you're struggling, perhaps complement your session with hip extension based exercises. Such as deadlifts, hip thrusts and for good measure, some air humping.

 

 

Box Jump Lateral Landing

 

 

Same thing, just land under lateral forces. Keep it smooth baby.

 

Transverse Box Jump

 

 

You can start from the ground, or on top of the box. Whatever rocks your socks. Where ever you start from, going from Box-Floor-Box or Floor-Box-Floor is one rep. 

 

Make it a continuous fluid motion from absorption, to exploding back out of the hole. The rotational component adds, well. A rotational component.

 

If you're in the business of jump spinning a lot (probably) these are going to serve you well. Promoting good mechanics for when you really want to pop that spin back kick outta nowhere.

 

BAM

 

If-You-Really-Must-Push-The-Boat-Out Box Jump

 

 

Try that. But don't hurt yourself.

 

It's a wrap

 

Box Jumps are power exercises. As such, it isn't a high repetition exercise. Aim for sets of 4-6 with rep counts anywhere between 6-10.

 

The goal is to not only develop power, but to constantly develop a motor pattern awash with finesse and control. High reps tends to mean the technique just breaks down, promoting all sorts of ugly movement patterns.

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