Box jumps build explosive power, and are a hip extension exercise. If box jumps don't:
a) translate to your sport of choice, or
b) aren't something you enjoy - then really, why ARE you doing them?
"Because they're fun!"
"Because my sport requires explosive power!". Great answers!
"My gym programs them, but they kill my knees." Probably time to find a substitution.
Here are five ways to build up to box jumps, as well as two common faults with some ideas on how to work on correcting them. Check this post here for all six accompanying videos.
Jump on the spot: Get used to launching off of two feet and landing on two feet. Practice using your hip (glute) power to launch you straight up. Not sure what to do with your arms? Think of them leading you where you want to go, down as you load your glutes, and UP as you jump
Kettlebell swings: KBS are great for training hip extension and power. I also like KBS as a postpartum progression to train your breath and pelvic floor for more dynamic movements PRIOR to including impact.
Let's pause and talk breathing for a second: Everyone will be different, but my go-to breathing technique for box jumps is exhaling BEFORE my feet launch off the ground. If I try exhaling when I'm in the air, I have a tendency to leak with multiple reps. Whatever works for you just remember to BREATH. Don't hold your breath. I promise, that little bit of extra air you're holding in your lungs isn't really having the hot air balloon effect you're hoping for to get you higher. I would not have someone start with ANY jumping movements until a solid strength base is built up and breathing techniques have been incorporated into non-impact dynamic movements.
Low box: I wouldn't recommend my unstable IKEA stool, but if you're at a gym that has the stackable 6" and 12" mats, start with these. The foam will help ease your nerves, and you'll be able to master solid reps at lower heights first.
Box jump: Look forward to go forward (skiing between trees? Same idea.) Land with both feet FULLY on the box, knees slightly bent. Step down to save your achilles.
Common fault - knees caving in: I couldn't bring myself to actually land with my knees caved, but you get the idea - check your landing form. If needed, lower the box height, do some banded squats to work on form before adding complexity.
Common fault - no hip extension: If you're landing in such a deep squat are you really even jumping or just tucking your feet under you to land on the box? Go back to #1 and #2 above, or do some banded goodmornings, deadlifts, hip thrusts - anything to work on fully extending your hips - squeeze your bum!
Questions on the breathing and how to get back to impact activity? I am launching a Return To Running online program that will start with foundations, and build you back up to launching - whether onto a box or down the running trails. Sign up for more info via rawfitnessyyc.com/run