Vertical Force Management during Box Jumps


Box jumps are one of the foundational movements in CrossFit and are responsible for working out your body muscles. However, for you to reap the maximum possible benefits from this CrossFit training movement, you have to do it right. It is common to see and hear people performing box jumps in a rather inefficient manner. For instance, some of them have heavy landing which places a significant amount of stress on their joints which may lead to injury.

Box Jump

The best way to do box jumps is to absorb the landing impact throughout the entire body in a controlled and soft manner. Insufficient mobility in one part of the body will make you accommodate the forces through another plane of movement, and this may affect your form when working out. For you to competently perform box jumps, you require sufficient control in all the joints involved.

During takeoff and landing, your ankles, knees, and hips should all stay in alignment. A good landing requires that your ankles, knees, and hips absorb the force while the muscles on the opposite sides of the joints should work in partnership to allow the extensor muscle group to lengthen and after that shorten to control joint bending. In some athletes, this range of motion doesn’t come automatically, and often their muscles fail to change length making the athletes land with locked joints. This causes a kind of jarring sensation and reduces the ability to move easily following the landing.

There are three main components which come to bear in vertical force management when performing box jumps.

Unlocking the Hips

This involves a small movement which lowers your body center of gravity while at the same time maintaining a vertical trunk. This releases tension in the lower back and hip flexors which makes the spring action possible in the hips. In turn, this allows for glute activation and efficient functional motor patterning.

Box Jump

Well, separating spinal movement from hip movement is important. It is unsurprising to see athletes coupling back extension with hip flexion which compresses the lumbar spine and compromises the spine.

Dropping the Center of Gravity

When performing the air squat CrossFit workout, it is easy to see how it drops the center of gravity. This exercise requires hip, knee, and adequate ankle mobility as well as the ability to control your balance point. If you want to find your balance point, try sitting in a squat and then shift your weight from your heel to your ball of foot until you get to a comfortable position. Once you get to this position, try dropping into your squat and then bounce back out of it with minimal effort. If you can master this, shock absorption in box jumps will become much easier.

Shock Absorption

If your knees and hips do not absorb the forces arising from box jumps, they will be forced downwards, causing a collapse of the ankle and foot. Alternatively, they may shunt up into the sacroiliac or hip joint. Smooth and coordinated hip and knee bending make the vertical forces to flow down and out. If at the hip and knee, this motion is blocked, the pelvis will stop moving downwards, and this will cause the force from above to crash into your lower back.

To stay injury free and to prevent stress in your joints, it is important to concentrate on your box jump form to ensure you are in the right frame to undertake this CrossFit exercise.


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