Box Jumps: Are They Really Worth It?

STACK Expert Stan Dutton explains why you should be cautious when adding Box Jumps to your workout.

Before you read this article, please repeat something 10 times to yourself.

Just because it makes me tired doesn't mean it's good for me.

Now we can address a question that's been on a lot of minds, thanks largely to CrossFit and everyone in the "My favorite sport is to exercise" camp:

Should I be doing Box Jumps for conditioning?

If you're an athlete in high school or college, or if you otherwise compete in sports at a high level, I recommend jumping exercises in certain circumstances. If not, I can't wrap my head around a good reason to do them. The risk just isn't worth the reward.

You could easily:

  • Hit your shin on the box.
  • Catch your foot on the box and fall.
  • Rupture your Achilles tendon by "rebounding" or not landing properly and "bouncing off the ground."
  • Hurt your ego. I mean really, who wants to have the whole gym watch them fall on their face during Box Jumps?

A great alternative for non-athletes is the Kettlebell Swing. It is also a very explosive movement for the lower body, but without any impact. In fact, there is a zero percent chance that you will rupture a tendon. Sweet, huh?

If you are an athlete, you may be thinking, "Well, hey, if Dwyane Wade does Box Jumps, so should I!"

The answer is "maybe." You should do Box Jumps if you're able to squat 1.5 times your body weight in a good squatting pattern (your knees don't cave in, your chest stays up tall and your heels stay on the ground), and you're in control of your ego.

You should not do any jumping if you're still perfecting your Squat. Be honest with yourself about this. You will get a lot more from squatting with perfect technique than you will with poor technique.

So here's where I finally answer the question:

Should you perform Box Jumps for conditioning?

Simply put, no.

As an athlete, your body is the gateway to your sport. If you rupture an Achilles tendon because you're tired and trying to beat someone in a WOD, you're done. Congratulations.

If you're in good shape to do Box Jumps, add them at the beginning of your workout, right after your warm-up, when you're fresh. Perform no more than a total of 3 sets of 5 reps. More isn't always better. Always strive for quality over quantity, and always weigh the risk-to-benefit ratio of a given exercise.

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