The Box Jump is one of the best plyometric exercises you can perform. Plyometric movements induce your muscles to exert explosive force in a short interval of time, increasing both your speed, strength, and heart rate.
Box Jumps work all the main lower-body muscles: glutes, quads, calves, and hamstrings. Beginners, and even more experienced athletes just warming up, should first start with a box that is lower in height. 20 inches is a good starting point. As you get more accustomed to this exercise, you can use a taller one, but try to avoid injuring yourself right off the bat.
To start, simply face the box about 1 step back from its edge. Feet should be flat on the ground and about shoulder-width apart. Now bend your knees slightly and pop your hips back. Swing your arms forward out in front of you as you shift your weight to your toes and leap up and forward onto the top of the box in one explosive movement.
Try to land in a controlled motion with both feet flat on the platform of the box, arms infant of you, and your knees bent (the same position that you leaped forward with). If you land in too deep a squat, try reducing the height of the box.
To return, jump backward the way you came roughly back to the same spot on the floor from which you started. If you’re aiming for a more aerobic, HIIT style workout, use a lower box and go for more repetitions with less rest time in between sets.
For more strength and power, use a higher box that pushes your maximum achievable jumping height over fewer sets.
Joel Runyon is the founder of IMPOSSIBLE® - performance lifestyle brand encompassing performance apparel & formulas, IMPOSSIBLE Fitness® programs, and a philanthropy arm. An endurance athlete and entrepreneur - he's also the creator of MoveWellApp and owns Ultimate Meal Plans. Find out what next challenge Joel is crossing off his impossible list here.