Box jumps are a seriously awesome plyometric exercise to help build explosiveness, get your heart rate up, and burn calories in a super short amount of time.
But since not all of us were born with mega hops, the box jumps exercise is definitely worth looking at for progressions and advanced variations.
By the way, I typically use a Rogue wooden box for my box jumps, but you can also use a soft foam box (these are spendy, but super cool) or a platform-style box if you’re worried about hitting your shins on a wooden box.
And always feel free to start with a low box or step in order to get the hang of things!
Watch the video to learn about box jumps progressions and advanced variations:
If you’re just starting out (or have knee issues):
If you’ve never done any jumping or plyometric training or tend to have knee issues, you’re going to want to start out with something with a little less impact.
Step ups are a great starting place since they’ll get you used to going up on higher surfaces and you can do them as fast as you feel comfortable. And you can always make them more challenging by raising the height of the box you’re stepping up on, adding weight, or simply going faster.
You can see step ups in action at :25 in the video.
Box jumps with step down
Box jumps with a step down are the next step in the box jumps progression. If these make you nervous at first, simply find something lower to jump onto—stairs work perfectly.
Get in front of the box, jump up, then gently step back down.
View these at 1:03 in the video.
If you don’t have anything good to jump on or just want to work on your rebounding skills, tuck jumps are an awesome bodyweight exercise that will help with coordination and your explosiveness for box jumps later on.
Simply jump up as you tuck your knees towards your chest, and work on rebounding immediately into another jump.
See a tuck jumps demonstration at 1:38 in the video.
If you’re more advanced:
If you already feel semi comfortable jumping onto a higher surface, the following are a couple of fun variations to try!
Depth jumps are a great way to help build explosiveness, and are a little less scary than rebound box jumps.
Stand on a box, lead with one foot and drop off the box. Land with bent knees and immediately rebound as high as you can. The trick here is not to pause on the ground use the balls of your feet and push through your toes to get immediately off of the ground!
See these performed at 2:23 in the video.
Rebound box jumps
Rebound box jumps are the most advanced because not only do they require a good amount of explosiveness and coordination to do, they also mean you have to let go of some of your fear of hitting your shins against the box, especially if you have a wooden box like I do.
Remember, you can always practice these on a low surface like stairs in order to build up the confidence to jump on something higher.
To do these, you’ll jump onto the box, jump off, land with knees slightly bent, and immediately rebound back up. You’ll be spending almost no time on the ground, and the quicker you rebound the better.
Rebound box jumps take a good amount of coordination, so if you’re frustrated at not being able to do them right now, don’t get discouraged! These actually took me quite a while to be able to do since I had a tough time with the timing at first (timing and coordination have never been my thing).
See some rebound box jumps at 2:58 in the video.
Jump high and work hard!