I have a confession to make.
Despite being reasonably tall for a girl (I’m 5 ‘ 8 1/2″), with legs that prohibit me from ever buying regular length jeans, my jumping skills have always been a bit… weak.
As a basketball player in high school, I may have been pretty decent on the defensive side of things, but for some reason, jumping just was never my strong point. I was so pitiful, in fact, that my dad would ask me if my feet ever actually left the floor when I jumped (my husband has made the same joke years later).
Yep, I was that bad at jumping.
To be perfectly fair, I never actually practiced jumping as a teenager. Sure, I ran lines, and shot lay ups, and didn’t have a half bad three point shot, but jumping? I never even did a jumping jack, let alone a squat jump or a tuck jump.
But all that changed when I discovered box jumps at my first CrossFit class a few years ago. I tagged along with my brother (who also happens to be 6′ 7″), and the workout was jam packed with box jumps, which I’d never done before.
Somehow, I breezed through the box jumps like they weren’t even a problem. I beat my big brother. And, more importantly, I found that jumping was fun—and that in spite of years of telling myself otherwise, I was actually good at it.
Since then, I’ve bought my own Rogue Fitness box (you can make your own if you’re handy and have the right tools, but I don’t), and have fallen in love with box jumps even more.
Here are seven reasons why you should learn to love box jumps too:
1. They’ll make your legs hella strong.
Jumping increases your strength and muscle tone, and builds both upper body and lower body strength like crazy. Box jumps force you to jump high enough that you’re forced to use every single muscle in your legs (as well as your arms) to propel you up.
You’ll be sore after the first few times doing them—but don’t worry, your legs will quickly gain massive strength from there.
2. They’ll prepare you for other sports.
Play basketball in your spare time, or just like to be able to jump spontaneously into the air? Box jumps will improve your vertical jump, speed, and endurance, as well as increase your coordination to help you excel in any new sport you try.
If you’ve ever tried them, you’ll know what I mean—you learn to boost your coordination quickly since it’s all too easy when you’re tired to almost miss the box entirely and hit your shins on the front edge. Ouch.
3. They blast calories and melt fat.
When you jump, your body burns 800 to 1,000 calories an hour (compare that to 200 to 300 calories burned per hour while walking).
And since high intensity jumping such as box jumps stimulates changes in mitochondria (where fuel is converted into energy), your body will burn fat before carbohydrates— good news for anyone trying to lose weight.
4. They’ll keep you strong and balanced into old age.
No desire to fall and break your hip later on in life? Then start doing box jumps today.
Since box jumps aid in balance, they’ll protect you from injury into old age. Plus, they’ll keep your bones strong and healthy for life.
5. They make you look like a badass.
While you may never be able to jump as high as this guy, being able to jump high and repeatedly is pretty freaking cool.
6. They can be done equipment-free.
Don’t want to buy/make your own box, and don’t have access to one at a gym? Don’t worry, you don’t actually need a box to do box jumps.
Simply find a high enough bench, or some stairs, or a table if you’re that good—and get jumping.
If you’re wondering, I typically use a 20″ box. Depending on your level, most women should start with a 14″ or 18″ box, and guys should start with a 20″ or 24″ box.
7. They’re fun (really)!
Once you get over the fear of actually attempting them, box jumps are one of the more fun exercises to actually do.
Why? Because jumping reminds us of being kids, and playful activities keep you young.
And finally, how to actually do box jumps:
Go do some box jumps!