Strength Performance Network

<div class="mceTemp mceIEcenter" style="text-align: left;">This is a previous post from last week at my blog www.zachdechant.wordpress.com.

So for quite a while I've had some issues with the box jump. I know many coaches who use the box jump extensively as a training exercise, as well as a form of testing. In healthy athletes it may not be as much of a problem, but anyone who has had any type of lower back disc issues high box jumps should be contraindicated. The real issue isn't necessarily the jump itself but the landing. It's athletes trying to achieve greater and greater heights when their vertical jump truly doesn't allow it.</div>

[caption id="attachment_527" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Neutral Spine?!?!?!"]<a href="http://zachdechant.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/jason.jpg"><img class="size-medium wp-image-527" title="Jason" src="http://zachdechant.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/jason.jpg?w=300" alt="" width="300" height="225" /></a>[/caption]

Yes, box jumps just like any other jump take explosiveness but where a lot of athletes appear to achieve this is really just high levels of flexibility, and not always where we want it to occur. I've seen athletes who had lower standing vertical jumps, when measured on a vertec, achieve much greater heights than their counterparts when box jumping. This is possible through greater flexibility. Where does this flexibility generally occur? Most athletes aren't able to touch their knees to their chest with a neutral spine. Here is where the lumbar spine has to become mobile and add to the flexibility that hips can't achieve at that particular box height. The exercise becomes who can get their feet the highest and not who can jump the highest. Just because we jumped up doesn't mean we should throw out everything that happens after the initial explosion. I would never let an athlete squat or pull with that technique so why would I let an athlete do a jump where they land with that technique.
<p style="text-align: center;">[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUHXKSOvcgE]</p>
The above video is a good example of what I'm talking about. Coach DeFranco is a huge proponent of the box jump and I believe he uses them as a testing method. Joe is a big time coach and trainer and I'm sure he has his reasons as to why he utilizes them. I have all the respect in the world for Coach DeFranco but in this one instance I disagree with him in the application of the box jump. I'm not saying that box jumps are a means that coaches shouldn't use. I'm saying that I don't believe trying to jump on higher and higher boxes are the answer. I've had and still have back problems including a bulging disc and a box jump that requires me to lose my neutral spine position is incredibly painful and leads to problems. WheThe box jump as well as any form of standing long jumps were the first to get cut from my program.

I do utilize box jumps but we don't use boxes that are so high as to limit an athlete's ability to achieve a proper athletic stance when landing. Athletes can still jump as high as possible but are now required to develop proper deceleration, and landing mechanics.

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Comment by Jason Roe on June 15, 2010 at 11:10pm
There have been some others, including Carl Valle on elitetrack.com that have noted that when jumping to a box it may enhance someone's jump height but they don't develop corresponding levels of eccentric strength to handle the landings which may increase an athletes risk of injury. One could counter that strength work such as squatting will develop eccentric strength but controlling a jump landing is a unique skill. I do incorporate box jumps in training with some athletes and some points in their training. But I prefer to use overhead (height) or distance goals with landings on the ground. When the height or distance is properly selected and the athlete is instructed on the objective of the jump and landing it usually results in more natural movements
Comment by Craig Cheek on June 15, 2010 at 9:58am
Its almost like a contest to see who has the best "tuck" jump versus vertical jump. This post has sparked my own thought process is regards to this exercise. However, I think what is contraindicated for one isnt necessarily contraindiated for another.

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