Try This Jumping Technique That Actually Protects Your Knees From Injury

Box jumps and hurdles can strengthen and stabilize the joints of the lower body to help athletes avoid knee injuries.

Many athletes perform drills on a regular basis hoping to be the best jumper on their team, or even to post Box Jump videos on social media to impress their friends and family.

That's all well and good, but athletes should have a more important focus—using their jumping repetitions for the goal of injury prevention.

When you jump and more importantly land with the right technique, you actually begin to strengthen and stabilize the joints of your lower body, from your ankles to your knees and hips. Most serious and even season-ending injuries affect one of those three joints, so why wouldn't athletes want to spend a extra time working on injury prevention?

By decelerating your body weight and the gravity added to it when you land from a jump correctly, you can successfully prevent injury to the best of your ability. Here are the form techniques you need to master to make every jump you perform an injury prevention exercise.

Landing Form

Cam Newton Box Jump

  • Land as softly and quietly as possible.
  • As your feet approach the ground, initiate contact with the balls of your feet, then shift your weight back to your heels by forcing your hips back, similar to when you squat.
  • Finish the landing with your knees out (tracking over your toes), hips above your knees, hands at your pockets, chest up and head up.

Now that you have the landing covered, here are drills to reinforce the technique and make you a more durable athlete.

Depth Drop

Depth Drop

  • Stand on top of a box or a stack of rubber plates about 12 inches high.
  • Start with one foot off the box and drop down to the floor, decelerating into the perfect landing position as described above.

Double-Leg Jump to Double-Leg Landing

Double-Leg Jump to Double-Leg Landing

These jumps may be performed on boxes or over hurdles.

  • Start with your feet at shoulder-width, arms in the air, standing on the balls of your feet.
  • Snap your hands down while lowering into a Quarter Squat.
  • Immediately throw your hands back up to jump over the hurdle or onto a box and land in the perfect position as described before.
  • If you can't land with your hips above your knees, the box or hurdle is too high.

Double-Leg Jump to Single-Leg Landing

Single-Leg Landing

These jumps may be performed on boxes or over hurdles. Note: Do these only if you're a highly experienced athlete. Decelerating the force put into the ground with two feet by a single leg is a tough task, one that requires great joint strength. Be very careful when performing these jumps.

  • Start with your feet at shoulder-width, arms in the air, on the balls of your feet.
  • Snap your hands down while lowering into a Quarter Squat.
  • Immediately throw your hands back up to jump over the hurdle or onto a box.
  • Bring one leg up and land on a single leg, sticking to the landing rules as described above.
  • Jump as high as possible first, then prepare for the single-leg landing.

For best results, perform 18-20 jumps per workout session 2-3 times per week. These jumps pair up well with medicine ball exercises prior to the main lift or as an accessory paired with the first few warm-up sets of a main lift (Bench, Squat, Deadlift, etc.)

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Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: SQUAT | DEADLIFT | BOX JUMP | BENCH | JUMPING