Box jumps are an incredible exercise for people who want to increase their strength, speed, and explosiveness. They work all of the muscles in the legs and strengthen the core.
Are regular box jumps getting a bit boring for you, though? Instead of continuing to increase the height of the box, try some box jump variations. Listed below are nine options you can add to your workouts for extra spice.
1. Seated Box Jump
Seated box jumps are great for increasing lower body power and improving your ability to generate force. When you do them, you take off from a “dead start” position, which requires more force output and work from you.
To do a seated box jump, follow these cues:
- Start by setting up a box about 2-3 away from your landing box
- Sit on this box and face the landing box
- While in a seated position, inhale as you swing your arms backward and lean forward with your torso the way you would when performing a regular box jump
- Push off from here, exhale, and jump up onto the landing box, aiming to maximize triple extension (hips, knees, and ankles all extended) when taking off
When choosing a box to take off from, remember that a lower box (one that positions the thighs parallel to the floor) will create more of a challenge than a higher one. If you want to make the exercise even more challenging, try eliminating the arm swing and placing the hands on the hips when taking off.
Looking for a jump box? Check out this guide here.
2. Split Box Jump
For those who want to work on single-leg strength and power output, a split box jump is a fun variation to include in your leg workouts.
Set yourself up for a split box jump by placing one foot on top of a box (choose a box that puts the knee and hip in a close-to-parallel position). Then, follow these steps:
- Inhale as you swing the arms down and lean forward with the torso
- Exhale as you jump up, pushing off your top leg
- While in the air, switch legs so that the opposite leg lands on the box and the leg that was originally elevated lands on the ground (aim for a soft landing)
3. Countermovement Box Jump
Countermovement box jumps help you to improve your rate of force development. When doing this version of a box jump, start by standing in front of the box with your hands raised overhead instead of down by your sides. Then, follow these cues:
- Throw your hands down and back toward the heels
- At the same time, while jumping up onto the box, load the hamstrings and hips like you would if you were performing a squat
- This combination of movements is the “countermovement” portion of the exercise
- Work on minimizing the delay between the countermovement and the jump up onto the box (the goal is to change directions as quickly as possible)
4. Burpee Box Jump
Burpees are hard, and so are box jumps. If you want to add an extra-hard exercise to your workout, why not put the two together?
If you’re confident about doing burpees and confident about box jumps, this combination can help you up the ante. Keep these steps in mind to make sure you’re getting the most of this exercise:
- Start by standing in front of a box, about a foot away
- Inhale as you bend down, placing your hands flat on the floor
- Shoot your legs back behind you as you lower into a push-up, bringing your body all the way down to the ground
- Exhale as you push yourself up from the floor back to a standing position
- Instead of jumping up toward the ceiling, as you would during a traditional burpee, jump up onto the box from here
- Step down from the box and drop back down into another burpee
5. Lateral Box Jump
A lot of us are comfortable with jumping up onto a box facing forward. What happens when you turn to the side, though?
Lateral box jumps strengthen the legs and improve your confidence when working in different planes of motion. The technique for a lateral box jump is similar to that of a traditional box jump. Instead of starting facing the box, though, you’re starting to the side of the box.
Here are some additional cues to follow:
- Inhale as you swing your arms down and back and lean forward with your torso
- Exhale as you explode up and to the side to land on the box with both feet making contact at the same time
- Be sure to still aim for triple extension in the hips, knees, and ankles when you take off
- Practice the lateral box jump on both sides so you can build strength and increase your power output equally
6. Side-to-Side Box Jump
Side-to-side box jumps help you further improve your frontal plane strength and power output while also providing a more intense cardiovascular workout. Set up for a side-to-side box jump the same way you would for a lateral box jump, then do the following:
- Inhale while swinging the arms down and back and leaning forward with the torso
- Exhale as you jump up (aim to hit triple extension) and onto the box with box feet landing at the same time
- Jump down laterally onto the floor, landing on the other side of the box with both feet hitting the ground at the same time
- Now, perform another lateral jump up onto the box, moving from the other direction
7. Single-Leg Box Jump
Single-leg exercises help you to correct muscle imbalances, and single-leg box jumps are no exception. To perform a single-leg box jump correctly, follow these instructions:
- Start by standing in front of the box, balancing on one leg
- While maintaining your balance, inhale and swing the arms down and back as you lean forward
- Exhale and push off from your working leg, aiming to hit triple extension before landing on the box
8. Squat Box Jump
A squat box jump is similar to a seated box jump. It’s a little less intense and doesn’t require you to start from a full “dead start” position. Instead, you begin in a squat and push off for the jump from this position.
Here are some additional tips to keep in mind when doing this type of box jump:
- Start in front of the box with the feet about hip-width apart
- Lower into a bodyweight squat as you inhale
- From the bottom of your squat, lean forward with your torso to prepare for the jump (you can swing the arms back or keep them in front of your body for more of a challenge)
- Exhale as you explosively jump up onto the box, hitting triple extension before landing with both feet at the same time
9. Weighted Box Jump
Adding weight to your box jumps is an excellent way to make them more challenging and increase your strength and stamina. Keep in mind, though, that more weight isn’t always better. If you go too heavy with your weight, you could increase your injury risk and alter your jumping mechanics in an unfavorable way.
Start with a light weight vest (about 5-10 pounds). You can also hold a medicine ball (again, about 5-10 pounds in plenty) in front of your torso). Once you have your chosen weight, follow these instructions:
- Stand in front of the box
- If you’re wearing a weighted vest, inhale and swing the arms down and back like your normally would while leaning forward
- If you’re holding a medicine ball, inhale and lean forward still, but eliminate the arm swing to maintain your grip on the ball
- Exhale and jump up onto the box, aiming to hit triple extension before landing
You might need to lower the height of the box when you’re first adding weight to this exercise. Remember, it’s easier to add height later than it is to try to jump too high, too soon.
Try These Box Jump Variations Today
As you can see, there are many different types of box jumps you can use in your workouts to increase strength and power output.
Be sure to keep this list of box jump variations in mind, especially if it’s been a while since you’ve changed up your training regimen. Trying one (or more) of them will help you give yourself a unique challenge and keep things interesting.