First thing’s first – Yes, you can train to jump higher and get better at jumping. And there’s probably some key mistakes you’re making that are holding you back from it.
Secondly, this is going to be a quick, straight to the point post covering some of the most common mistakes people make when performing box jumps.
Let’s get to it.
1. Not focusing on form
Jumping is an exercise, so there has to be consistency in how you perform it if you want to do it well. Think about a deadlift…you don’t just walk up to the bar and try to yank it off the floor without focusing on your technique (or at least you shouldn’t be doing that).
When you’re reaching overhead during your set up, pretend you’re holding two imaginary ropes. You then want to pull those ropes down as fast and hard as you can by bringing your arms down to your sides before you explode into your jump.
*Side note: Another big mistake people make when doing box jumps is taking too long to jump and squatting into their jumping position slowly. You have to drop down fast so you can spring back up.*
2. Jumping until exhaustion
I see this a lot in gyms, where someone will be doing box jumps for a high amount of reps (like 50 plus) and completely drain themselves out in the process. What happens when you get tired during a workout? Your form goes to shit. Box jumps and jumping in generally is way more technical than most people understand. If you’re completely exhausted when doing them, you’re not going to be able to perform them as efficiently as you should be.
3. Not recovering enough in between jumps
Jumping is taxing on the body and the nervous system, so it drains your energy reserves pretty quickly. Since it takes so much from the body and brain to perform jumps, you have to rest and give yourself enough time to recover before jumping again. How much time? Think about when you lift heavy weights, like when you go for a heavy squat or deadlift. You wouldn’t perform a max squat, stand around for a few sec after and then go again. That would be stupid. So why would you do that when you’re performing jumps? Jumping recruits the same energy systems as heavy lifting (ATP) and you need adequate rest (at least 2 min if you’re performing high level jumps) in between sets to regenerate your levels of ATP.
4. Jumping too frequently
Remember, jumping is taxing on both the body and the nervous system. If you’re jumping every day, you’re not going to get better at it. You’re going to be overworking your CNS (central nervous system) and kicking the crap out of your joints and ligaments. Instead of giving your body enough time to recover, you’ll be digging yourself into a deeper hole and overtraining/under-recovering. How often should you jump? Depends on the individual, but usually about twice per week is all you need.
5. Jumping at the end of your workout
You can’t be in a fatigued state when jumping, you have to be fresh and ready to go. Start thinking of jumps as a lift (squat, bench, deadlift, etc). You wouldn’t do a full workout, and then go and attempt a big deadlift. That would be stupid. Don’t do that with jumping either. Start with them at the beginning of your workout, even if you plan on lifting that day. Box jumps are a highly effective way to warm up before heavy lifting.
6. Not using enough variety in your jumping
There’s more than one way to jump, just like there’s more than one way to squat. Use more variety in your jumping. We’ll go over some ways you can do that later.
7. Not using accessory exercises to compliment your jumping
Jumping requires strong legs and fast movement, so you need to incorporate exercises into your routine to help with that. We’ll go over some exercises you can use later.
8. Mind-fucking yourself
Some people just can’t get over the mental hump of jumping on something. Why? Usually because they can’t remember the last time they’ve done it! Well, here’s a piece of advice…start small, build confidence, and work your way up. Step by step. It’s not nearly as scary or challenging as you’re building it up to be in your head.
- Start with a warm up: Don’t just start jumping in a cold state (not warmed up). If you’re looking for a warm up routine you can do, check out some of my warm up routines here:
- Focus on technique: Triple extension – You want to start by reaching up as tall as you can, getting a triple extension in the hips, arms, and ankles. This puts your body into a position to drop down fast so you can use that momentum to explode/spring back up into your jump.
- Do lower reps and rest in between sets
- Jump near or at the beginning of your workout
- You can use box jumps as a warm up before squats and deadlifts
Exercises to Improve Your Box Jump