How To Box Jump

Are you having trouble controlling weight and feeling off-balance throughout your workouts? If the answer is yes for either of these questions, you may want to start doing plyometrics to help with your athletic goals. 


One of our favorite plyometrics to help with learning how to absorb and reapply force are box jumps. Box jumps are great for building control over the body which can be transferred into any sport.


Box jumps can be done from with different size boxes and from different positions to target the postures in which you want to build power. We recommend starting with a 12-inch box for beginners, 18-inch box for intermediate athletes, and 24-inches or more for advanced athletes. Although, heights may vary depending on your height and current capabilities. 


Now let’s take a look at the steps on how to do a box jump and then some advanced variatiations to use once you learn the basics. 

Table of Contents

Step #1 - The Counter Movement
Step #2 - The Jump
Step #3 - The Landing
Box Jump Variations
Technique Summary

Step #1 - The Counter Movement

Learning the counter movement is the first key step to doing a box jump. This is the initial descent to enter the power position, from where you will begin the actual jump. 


To start the box jump, you want to hinge at the hips slightly and then bend the knees at the same time. The counter movement should be about 8 inches.


As you descend into the power position, you want to swing your arms back so you can use your whole body to drive you up as you jump. 

We do not want to see a full squat. Try to think that the deepest you want to get is about a quarter-squat. The point of a shallow squat is to build tension and load up the muscles to apply force into the ground. This way you can jump higher than just starting with stiff legs. 

Step #2 - The Jump

The next step in a box jump is the actual jump. This means applying rapid force into the ground and exploding up from the power position. 


As you start to push through the middle of your feet, swing the arms forward and toward your face. Your arms should be in unison with your legs as you extend up and leave the ground to land on the box. 

Make sure to fully extend through the hips, knees, and toes to get the most power off the floor. 

Step #3 - The Landing

The last step of the box jump is landing on top of the box. Typically, we want to see the hips landing above the knees.

Think about landing tall on the box and reapplying force into the box as your feet land. 

Box Jump Variations

Now that we have taken a look at the basics of how to do box jumps, let’s size up a couple of variations. 

Depth-drop Box Jump

If you want to work on deceleration and reapplying force quickly, depth-drop box jumps are the go-to movement. With a depth-drop box jump, you will actually start on another box. The starting box should be 6-8 inches tall.

From the starting box, you will step off and decelerate into the counter movement, power position. The goal is to absorb and reapply the force from the depth-drop as fast as possible.

Make sure to still land tall on the target box with the hips above the knees. 

Jump Lunge to Box

A more advanced variation you can use is the jump lunge to a box. This version of the box jump is actually a lateral movement rather than jumping forward onto a box. The other main difference is that instead of having a counter movement, you will be starting from a static lunge position. 

As previously mentioned, you want to start in a lunge position with the box beside you. The leg closest to the box should have the knee bent slightly above the ground. For example, if the box is to your right side, your right knee should be closest to the ground while the left leg is forward in the to create the split. 


From the starting position, apply force evenly through the toes of the back foot and the middle of your front foot. To move laterally, apply some force through the outside of your front foot as you prepare to land with two feet on the box. 

We recommend doing 2 reps on one side of the box and then 2 reps on the other side for 4-5 sets. 

Technique Summary

The box jump is one of the best plyometrics to use as an accessory or on an athletic day to help focus on force absorption and reapplication. You can even do it as part of your warmup to have a dynamic movement to warm up the lower body before squats or olympic lifts. 


Just to recap the movement, start with a controlled counter movement that swings the arms behind you and involves no more than a quarter squat. Then quickly apply force into the ground with the legs and fully extend through your hips, knees, and toes. Finally, land tall on the box with the hips above the knees. 


As you start to use the box jump more, you’ll see your vertical jump increase so you can start using taller boxes. If you want to see other plyometrics you can use to become a better athlete, sign up for the Peak Strength app and get custom programming that fits your goals. 

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