One of the most challenging exercises that you can incorporate in your workout routine is box jumps. It involves tremendous muscle and mind co-ordination, which is very difficult to master. And, if not tried correctly, performing box jumps can be dangerous.
Therefore, it is always advisable to start with the basics and activate your muscles before jumping onto a challenging exercise. Hence, we got into deep research and conversation with various fitness experts and trainers to understand what it takes to master box jumps.
If you want to perform box jumps like a pro, you must read our article below to understand the benefits of box jumps and the the best box jump alternatives you can practice.
Benefits of Box Jumps
Box Jumps fall under the category of plyometric exercises. Plyometric exercises are usually high impact exercises that help you develop strength, power and speed. Essentially, box jumps are a plyometric move where you need to jump from the floor to an elevated surface, like a box.
Box jumps may sound easy to perform but are very challenging. If you are a beginner, you should not incorporate box jumps into your routine right away. But, eventually, you may want to implement them in your workout routine due to the various benefits it offers. Here is how box jumps help:
Tones your glutes and thigh muscles
While performing box jumps, you are engaging most of your lower body muscles before jumping. The thighs and the glutes are some of the biggest muscles in our body. Therefore, box jumps are a great exercise to activate and target these muscles. In fact, it helps athletes in the long run to develop some strength for running and jumping.
Helps in building core strength
One of the most critical aspects of performing perfect box jumps is balance. Here, you need to hold your body steady, not moving too forward. For the perfect landing, your core helps you maintain balance while you land. Various bodybuilders and athletes incorporate box jumps in cross-functional training sessions that help work on their core and lower body.
Lose weight faster
While performing box jumps, you need to put in a lot of energy. By energy expenditure, you burn a huge amount of calories, which helps you lose weight quickly. Including box jumps in your standard set of exercises is very beneficial in keeping you lean.
Maintain balance and co-ordination
For box jumps, you need to land in a particular manner to make sure you don’t fall off the box. The box being a small surface, you have to make sure both your legs are landing simultaneously in a small, confined space. The proper landing requires immense concentration.
Your proprioceptors muscles are the nerves that get trained during the course and helps you to act quickly and efficiently, to maintain position and balance. Building balance sure does help in the long run, be it sports or maintaining a proper positional gait.
Activates muscle tissue
Box jumps engages a majority of your muscles, thereby causing them to get activated. It includes your quads, glutes, calves, hamstrings, core and arms. It helps in muscle toning and activation, which gives increased strength and makes you look in shape.
Minimum equipment needed
Box jumps do not require any other equipment apart from a box. In fact, you can even perform them on staircases that are at an elevation or any elevated surface. As long as it has enough landing space and does not get you injured, you can jump and practice anywhere. It is cost-effective, saves space and is an excellent exercise for strength, endurance and weight loss. No equipment needed at all!!
Helps in other sports
Building stamina and endurance are necessary for any sport, be it basketball, cricket, etc. Incorporating box jumps in exercise routines is an added benefit, especially for athletes.
It helps maintain stamina and stability above all, which is also confidence-boosting and keeps you sharp, alert and focussed during a game. Box jumps develop eccentric strength in athletes, practising start and stop motion at the right time.
The 10 Best Box Jump Alternatives
If you are looking to improve your box jumps or simply looking to build lower body strength, we have listed some box jump alternatives for you to have a smashing workout session. Jump down below to find out!
1. Jump Squats
Jump squats are also known as squat jumps and are an extremely power-packed exercise for beginners and athletes. In fact, just like box jumps, it helps to build body balance and strengthens your lower body muscles as well as lower abs. It also helps to tone your glutes and quads.
Jump squats seems fairly easy to perform than box jumps, but you will tire yourself out after a few sets. It helps in burning some quick calories while also increasing your endurance. Therefore, most fitness enthusiasts incorporate jump squats daily in their movements.
What you need: The best part is that you don’t need any equipments for performing jump squats. An open arena is sufficient.
How to do:
- Keep your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands by the side. Your chest must be upright, and your face should be straight, with chin up.
- Next, push your hips back and bend your knees and assume a sitting position. Touch your palms together and bend your lower back slightly to prevent injury. Keep your back straight. Your knees should stay behind your toes.
- Now, hold the squat position for a second and launch yourself up in the air by applying force from your calves right through your glutes and quads.
- While jumping, push your hands behind to generate force.
- Land softly to prevent shock and injuries.
- Repeat this movement for a specific number of repetitions and sets.
No of repetitions and sets: You can perform three sets of 15 repetitions each. For advanced level, you can do a maximum number of repetitions in a minute.
- Over time, you can also increase the difficulty by adding weights to your jump squats. You can do this by wearing a weighted vest or simply holding a pair of dumbbells in your hands.
- Invest in good shock-absorbing shoes to avoid hurting your feet while landing.
Lunges are another great exercise to target your quads, glutes, hamstrings and calves. These are the four major muscle groups that are activated during box jumps. If you want to develop strength for box jumps, you can perform a good number of lunges. In fact, there are so many variations to lunges that you can incorporate them in your usual leg day routine too.
What you need: No equipment necessary. Dumbbells are optional.
There are different types of lunges that you can perform. They are:
It is the simplest of all lunges types. Here is how you can do it:
- Keep your feet shoulder-width apart. Keep your hands on your hips if you are not using weights.
- Now, move your left leg forward so that the heel touches the floor first.
- Bend down with your left leg so that it makes a 90-degree angle with the floor.
- The right leg follows when you move forward, but make sure not to touch the knee on the ground.
- Now, lift yourself from the left leg and move back to the start position.
- Repeat the same movement for your right leg.
Lateral lunge is also referred to as side squats. It is very effective for the major muscle groups and also works on the inner thighs. In this variation, you move towards the side instead of moving ahead.
Here is how to do it:
- Start by keeping your feet hip-width apart.
- Now, keeping your feet flat, take a big step towards the left.
- Bend towards the left with your left leg and push your hips back, assuming a squat position while you go to the left.
- Do not let your knees cross your toes.
- Once your thighs are parallel to the floor, jump back up using the same left leg and return to the starting position.
- Follow the same with your right leg.
This is one of the most complicated lunge variations. However, it is very easy to learn.
Here is how to do it:
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands on your hips.
- Now, move your right leg behind your left leg, and bend down to perform a backward lunge.
- Bend until your left thigh is parallel to the ground. You can touch the right leg’s knee to the floor.
- Then, jump back to the start position using your right leg.
- Repeat the same with your left leg going back this time.
No. of repetitions and sets: You can perform three sets with 12-15 repetitions on each side. Beginners can go for 8-12 repetitions.
- Add weights to increase the challenge eventually. You can also use stable support for balancing yourself in the initial stages, especially for curtsy lunges.
- Make sure to keep your back straight while performing lunges. This is to avoid pressure and chances of injury on your knees.
3. Squat to Push Press
The squat to push press is a full-body integrated exercise that targets several muscles. The majority of them include the abs, glutes, hamstrings, hip flexors, quadriceps, shoulders, upper traps, and neck and triceps.
The push movement upwards to carry out the shoulder press instils the same motion and force you need while pushing yourself to jump. Therefore, it can be considered a great preparatory exercise for box jumps, targeting the lower and upper body.
Squat to push press is also known as dumbbell thrusters because of the thrusting movement you make upwards.
What you need: A pair of dumbbells.
How to do:
- Take a pair of dumbbells with comfortable weights and hold them across each shoulder with a tight grip.
- Keep your feet wide across the hip, assuming the squat position.
- Now, with the weights in your hand, push your hip back and perform a squat.
- Next, come back up to the starting position.
- Once you reach back up, lift the weight from your shoulders as though performing a shoulder press.
- The movement to perform the shoulder press has to be explosive, and you need to generate some momentum to extend your arms explosively.
- Bring your arms back to the start position with the dumbbells on your shoulders.
- Perform the same movements for the given number of repetitions.
No. of repetitions and sets: You can perform three sets of this exercise. Each set should comprise 8-12 repetitions.
- You can increase the weights gradually to add to the challenge. Just make sure not to bend your body forward; else the weight would put pressure on your back and cause injuries.
- You can also perform this variation with a barbell. But, using dumbbells gives you the advantage of lifting an equal amount of weight in both hands, thus developing more strength.
4. Bulgarian Split Squats
If you want to build more muscular legs and focus on isolated leg movements, Bulgarian split squats are a great exercise. It is also known as a single-leg squat, and it emphasises the quad muscles. It also works the major leg muscles required for box jumps, being the hamstrings, glutes and calves.
But, overall, Bulgarian split squats focus on strengthening your lower body movement. The only thing that makes it challenging is placing your leg in an elevated position performing a semi lunge. It also helps in flexing your hips and aids in better mobility while performing a box jump.
What you need: A chair, bench, or stable support, dumbbells (optional)
How to do:
- Grab hold of a bench or a step to place your legs.
- Now, stand approximately two feet apart from the bench and place your right foot on top of the bench.
- The foot is placed such so that the foot’s upper part should be resting on the bench.
- Now, hop around with your left leg, and check for a spot where you can lunge comfortably.
- Place your hands on your hips and lean forward slightly. (if no weights)
- Now, assuming the squat position, sit down and bend your left leg. Make sure the news doesn’t cross the toes.
- Once there is enough pressure on the quads, stop and bounce back up using the same left leg.
- If you want to focus on quads and glutes, you can squat a bit deeper until the thighs of the left leg are parallel to the floor.
- Switch and perform this variation for the other leg as well.
No sets and repetitions: For beginners, you can perform 8-10 repetitions in each set and perform 2-3 sets. For advanced level, you can perform 12-15 repetitions in each set.
- You can add weights to make the Bulgarian squats more challenging. Just make sure not to go too heavy and not add pressure on your lower back.
- Maintain the position of your torso, and lean slightly forward to acquire a better range of motion.
- You can also perform this exercise on a smith machine, with kettlebells, barbells, or even a resistance band.
5. Barbell Squats
Barbell squats are a dynamic exercise and an excellent power movement to develop overall body strength. It activates your core, your lower body, and most importantly, boosts your mind to lift stronger. Since it involves the coordination of several muscles, squats help boost your confidence and give an absolute endorphin rush.
It also helps in developing endurance for primary day to day activities and is even suggested for athletes. Therefore, incorporating barbell squats and their variations will only reap you benefits in your day to day activities.
Now, it primarily targets your gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus. Alongside, it also targets your quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, and hip flexors. It also works on your erector spinae, transverse abdominis, oblique muscles and rectus abdominis. Plus, it’s a real calorie burner and helps you lose weight faster.
What you need: An Olympic bar with weighted plates (optional based on capacity), squat rack (if performing in the gym)
How to do:
- Set a barbell on the squat rack with appropriate weights if need be.
- Go underneath the bar, bend a bit and place the bar behind your neck, at the top of the back.
- Hold the bar with your hands.
- Keep your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width and lift the bar to clear the rack.
- Push your hips back and lower into a squat position.
- Pause for a second or two and push yourself back up with your feet to the starting position.
No. of sets and repetitions: You can perform four sets, with each set comprising 12-15 repetitions.
- There are several variations to barbell squats that more or less target the same set of muscles. You can perform them alternatively to increase lower body strength for box jumps.
- If you have faced lower back problems before, do not go very heavy with weights. You can wear a core belt for stability and safety.
- You can also perform this exercise using dumbbells or resistance bands.
- Maintain a tight core while performing this exercise, and do not lean too forward to pressurise your back.
Step-ups are like taking baby steps towards performing box jumps. In fact, you can do this exercise as a warm-up before performing barbell squats or lunges. It will help in activating your lower body muscles. With time, you can also make step-ups more challenging but master the basics for the initial stages.
It requires minimum equipment and can be performed anywhere.
What you need: A step-up platform or a slightly elevated surface like staircases. Weights are optional.
How to do:
- Keep your feet hip-width apart with your hands on your hips (if doing without weights)
- Stand feet apart from the step-up bench.
- Step your left foot forward and push on the bench/support with your heel.
- Bring the right foot close to the left foot.
- Now step the right foot down and bend your left knee, still keeping it on the bench
- Now bring the left foot back to the starting position
- Repeat this around 8-12 times for each leg
No. of sets and repetitions: You can perform this exercise before starting with a leg session or perform atleast two sets consisting of 8-12 repetitions for each leg.
- You can increase the height of the bench slightly for an added challenge.
- Lift the leg, which is not on the bench, slightly above in the air and push above for developing better momentum.
- You can also hold dumbbells in each hand for an added challenge while stepping up.
7. Trap Bar Deadlifts
Deadlifts are known to be a compound exercise. However, it is not everyone’s cup of tea. Thankfully, trap bar deadlifts are easy to master, and you can also lift heavy. The grip and the height of the bar make it relatively easier to perform than regular deadlifts.
It helps in building lower body strength as well as body stability. It partially mimics the movement of box jumps while you lift the hex bar off the floor. Therefore, it activates similar muscles that are used in box jumps, making it a great substitute.
What you need: A trap bar, weights added (optional)
How to do:
- Take a trap bar and load it with weights if need be. Start small and load gradually.
- Step inside the bar space and keep your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Grip the bar from the handles at the centre of each handle. While gripping, bend comfortably from your knees and hips.
- Push your hips back and keep them slightly high while your back remains flat.
- You need to apply pressure on your legs and hamstrings while lifting. Push them into the ground and stand straight, holding the bar.
- Stay upright for a few seconds and then start lowering the weights slowly to the start position.
No. of sets and repetitions: You can easily perform three sets with 12-15 repetitions in each set. Increase the weight gradually and reduce the number of repetitions with an added weight.
- Do not overload weights, as this can injure your lower back. Go light and avoid rounding your back.
- A lot of people lean back while moving upright with weights. This can create excess pressure on the spine, and it seems unnecessary.
- Do not hold the handles at the corner as it would cause improper weight distribution. It can cause the bar to tilt and put unwanted pressure on your back.
8. Trap bar jumps
If you want to improve your explosiveness with weights, then trap bar jumps are a good way of practising explosive box jumps. It helps you apply a good amount of force, jump at a higher peak and practice jumping to higher levels as well.
In fact, it can bring an improvement in your box jump abilities as you are practising jumps with weights, thereby applying greater force from the target muscles. This exercise requires good lifting strength, and we suggest you start with lesser weights.
What you need: A hex bar with weights – optional
How To Do:
- Load the trap bar with the required weights.
- Step into the trap bar space and keep your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Now assuming the trap bar deadlift position, bend your lower back, push your hips back and keep the back surface flat.
- Grab the handles from the centre and lift the weight off the floor.
- Now, push your feet to the ground while straightening your body and applying force to move your body upwards.
- Again, land down slowly and bend your knees while you land for reduced impact on feet. Place the bar down again to the start position and repeat the movement.
No. of sets and repetitions: You can perform three sets with 8 to 12 repetitions in each set.
- Try performing hex bar jumps only after mastering hex bar deadlifts.
- Do not load heavy right at the start as it can cause back injuries
- Do not get your back rounded while lifting the bar off the floor
- You can wear knee pads and a core belt to reduce impact and muscle stress.
Broad jumps are like the bigger version of frog jumps. Instead, it’s like performing double frog jumps. It mainly targets the hip flexors, quads, calves and hamstrings. However, it requires a lot of focus and muscle concentration to land at the right place. In short, it helps you practice the force, start and stop motion i.e. eccentric movements, which is very essential for box jumps.
What you need: An ample space to perform high jumps
How to do:
- Keep your feet shoulder-width apart and with arms suspended at the sides.
- Now bend down and assume the squat position, pushing your arms behind.
- Apply force from your feet, pushing them to the ground and take off for a jump. Use your arms for a helping force.
- Swing your arms to help you propel forward. Land softly on your feet and retake the starting position.
- Repeat for a set number of repetitions.
No. of sets and repetitions: You can perform this exercise back to back. Make sure to do 15 jumps at a time if possible.
10. Pistol Squats
Pistol squats are best for isolated leg strength, flexibility and maintains stability. It works on your lower body and core. Since your feet mimic the shape of a pistol, with one leg extended and the other bent, it is known as pistol squats.
You can practice this at the end of a leg session to build some stability and balancing skills for box jumps.
How to do:
- Stand at a normal position. Now, keep your left leg on the ground and raise your right leg off the floor.
- Hover the right leg in the air and maintain balance.
- Now, slowly raise your right leg straight and up while maintaining balance.
- Extend your arms in front of you while you raise your feet.
- Now, engage your core, keep the lower back straight, and bend your left leg to lower your body. Keep extending the right leg in front of you.
- Bend your left knee and squat deep with a single leg. The extended right leg should be parallel to the floor.
- Now, after squatting, straighten your left leg to return to the start position.
- Repeat a few times.
No of sets and repetitions: You can perform two sets of this exercise with 8-12 repetitions in each set.
- For beginners, stand around an object to hold if you lose balance midway.
- Keep your back straight to maintain the position while lifting your body up. Else you may lose balance.
- Keep your core engaged as much as possible for ease of performing.
Tips to Consider for Box Jumps
Box jumps are a great exercise to indulge into. But, not everyone may master it on the first go!! Especially if not done correctly, it can do more harm than good. Here are a few things to keep in mind before mastering box jumps:
Appropriate stretches before doing box jumps
Box jumps require a lot of work and stability around your knees and ankle. Therefore, do not jump into performing box jumps immediately, but practice some stretches and weight training first.
You can follow the above exercises and then try performing box jumps. Weight training can be an excellent way to improve your jumps. It helps in developing muscles strength and control, which is crucial before you indulge in box jumps.
Select a proper height for landing
If the height of the box is too high, then you would either end up:
- Injuring yourself and not reach to the top
- End up performing a deep squat and land wrongly when you are supposed to land in a quarter squat position.
No. of repetitions and sets matter:
Do not overdo performing box jumps. If you have just started, perform 2-3 sets involving ten repetitions in each set. You can build stamina gradually to perform more repetitions and variations.
Land soft to reduce the impact
A sudden landing on the box can shock your muscles and cause nerve damage or injury. It may also lead to terrible cramps after landing. Therefore, you need to learn to land smoothly to reduce the impact on your feet. Try wearing shock absorbance shoes for better balance and smooth landings.
Jumping off the box
Jumping on the box can be easy to master. But while jumping back to the start position, it can increase your chances of getting injured. Therefore, jump on the box, land smooth and get off without jumping back normally.
Box jumps have several benefits to offer, be it strength building, concentration, endurance, power, and focus. There are so many receptors and muscles involved, that box jumps is one of the most sought after workouts. However, you need to seek for alternatives in the beginning before indulging into box jumps.
Therefore, we have listed the 10 best alternatives to box jumps along with their benefits and steps to perform. Not only that, we also have a special list to keep in mind before you are actually ready to perform box squats so you are fully prepared to master it!!
Read our alternatives above and tell us which is your favourite box jump alternative through the comments section below!!