I love to jump.
It’s one of the most primary human movements. When my students move well in a loaded squat, I always progress them into jumping and plyometrics.
I know a lot of coaches who have been recently negative about high plyo jumps. I want to let you know that I don’t max out my students a lot on high plyo jumps (like in the videos below) but I can tell you a really high box jump makes my students feel very happy!
Be sure to check the videos below of some of the crazy jumpers we have at Heavyweights Training Center.
Here are 10 Tips To Improve Your Plyo Box Jumps:
1. A Box Jump is a “Hip Mobility” Jump Not a Vertical Height Jump.
Keep in mind that doing a plyo box jump is all about pulling your knees up to your shoulders and getting in a deep squat for landing. If you lack mobility in the hips this will limit your jumping ability. Be sure to do some Goblet Squats, Prying Goblet Squats and Hip Rockers to get your hips nice and lose to improve your box jumps.
A big thing to remember is when jumping to really use your arms to drive your legs and hips. Too often people don’t use their arms enough. When you jump, be sure to drive your arms back and then violently swing them forward. The faster your arms move, the faster and higher you will jump.
3. A Jump Starts With a Hinge & Lands With a Squat
Be sure to jump and start from a HIP HINGE position. The key is to activate the posterior chain muscles (glutes,hamstrings and full hip extension) and then pull your knees up high and out to your shoulders. A good jump starts with a good hinge. To improve your hinge focus on stiff leg deadlifts, kettlebell swings and other posterior chain exercises.
When you jump you hinge, when you land, you land into a good soft squat.
4. A Good Jump is in the Landing.
Before I can get my students jumping high, I need to get their landing mechanics down. A good jump starts first with a good landing. You need to land softly, and cushion the landing. I always tell my students to land soft, sink into their legs and let their lower body absorb the landing. A good landing is everything. Try to be like a cat.
This is a big one. Most people when they start to do high plyo jumps get stiff and tense and stressed out. Starting a big box and thinking you have to jump on this can be very scary. But remember to RELAX. A fast muscle is a relaxed muscle and the more tension and stiffness you have going into a jump, the less effective a jump you will have. Be clam, be relaxed, and then be FAST.
6. Be Fast
As stated above, for a good plyo jump you want to be relaxed, with no tension, or stress, and THEN jump. It’s all about conserving energy until you need to jump. Then you create full body tension and explode AFAP (as fast as possible). A relaxed muscle always moves faster than a stiff muscle, so you need to relax as much as possible until it’s time to jump, then you want to use everything you have and jump as fast as possible.
7. Make Each Jump Perfect
I always tell my students to have good jump and landing mechanics no matter how low the box jump is. When warming up to a higher jump, you should still treat every single jump like it’s a max jump. Same form, same approach, same landing mechanics, same EVERYTHING. You treat the low plyo box the same as your highest plyo box to teach good jumping patterns. Whenever you go higher, form will always break down a bit so you always want to practice good technique and mechanics on every single jump.
8. Don’t Miss a Jump
Every time I have a student jump and miss, I regress them to a lower jump so they can make the jump perfect. I don’t like my students missing a jump. I always want to teach to them to “Own The Lift” or in this case “Make The Jump”. For every jump they miss, I will make them do 3 jumps to a lower box to get the jumping mechanics in place and also to have them regain confidence. I never let someone finish training with a bad or failed jump.
If you want to have a better jump, you to work on squats and swings. Every student I have who is a good jumper has a great squat, a great swing and a great power clean. There is always a correlation. Good jumpers tend to all have a good squat, a good swing and a good power clean.
10. Use Padded Boxes.
Don’t be a hero. I still have tons of scars on my shins from using the old school metal plyo boxes. I can tell you jumping that big plyo box with no padding was one the scariest things I ever did in training. Always remember “Do No Harm” so use padded or safe plyo boxes and save yourself the scars.