I’ve known about the benefits of box jumps for quite some time.
Almost every golf fitness book you read includes box jumps as a go to exercise.
Power in the golf swing is generated by pushing off the ground. Same with box jumps. So it seems to make a lot of sense for golfers to practice box jumps.
What isn’t discussed very often in these books is how to do box jumps correctly.
I guess box jumps are assumed to be such an easy exercise that correct form isn’t included in the write-up, or maybe I gloss over it while reading.
After all, they are only box jumps, and we been jumping on things since we were kids.
I do watch box jump videos, though.
Well, it is sort of like watching NASCAR highlights either something amazing is going to happen or there is going to be a big ass crash.
I mean really, pink circuit steps? How could that end in anything other than a fail?
But then there are box jumps like this that, well in a word, are amazing!
Those jumps are pretty cool, eh? I want to jump like the dude in the second video.
I got a new perspective on box jumps after reading an article by Micheal Anderson on Tony Gentilcore’s website entitled Exercises You Should Be Doing Better: Box Jumps.
From that article, I learned how box jumps are performed correctly. In fact, this post was inspired from Mike’s words of wisdom so inspired that I actually stole their videos to show you.
Copyright laws? No, it’s ok, the videos are posted on Youtube and I can use them as long as I don’t profit from their use. But I did ask both Mike and Tony for permission and they both graciously granted me permission to use them. Great guys!
I will also add that the text portion of this post is my interpretation of information from Mike and others and all praise or hate falls on me, no one else.
Enough wasted time, let’s get down to the brass tacks.
What You Will Learn
In this post, I want to show you why the golf swing and box jumps are similar.
I will discuss what the benefits of box jumps are to golfers.
I will use the videos from Mike and Tony to show you how to perform a box jump correctly.
Once you have read this post you will know the benefits of box jumps, why they help golfers, and how you can box jump correctly.
Benefits of Box Jumps – Push Off the Ground
In the two videos below you will see how Lexi Thompson and Tiger Woods use the ground for leverage to generate power.
Watch the video of Lexi Thompson as she hits the golf ball. When she makes contact with the ball, her feet are pushing off the ground. In fact, her heels are completely off the ground and is almost jumping to launch the drive.
She is using her feet to push against the ground to generate the power that has made her one of the longer hitters on the LPGA Tour.
In the other video, Tiger does the same. His feet do not come up off the ground as much as Lexi’s but notice how he squats down and drives up out of the squat when he makes contact with the ball.
Notice the Similarly to Box Jumps?
It should look similar, especially Tiger’s swing. In a box jump, you squat down and drive up and off the ground. Both Lexi and Tiger load up and explode from the ground up.
Power is generated by the following actions.
The legs push off the ground and generate force. The core transfers the force from the legs to the shoulders and arms where it is added to the centrifugal force of the club head as it traveled in a long arc to the ball. Speed is generated by the momentum of the arms as the body turns around the swing axis as well as the snap of the wrists at impact.
All of this leads to power.
This is an oversimplification but the more force you can generate from the ground and add it to the centrifugal force of the club head and the rotational speed of arms and hands the more powerful the swing.
To add power to your swing, you need to increase the force from the ground, increase the distance the club head travels, or increase the speed of the swing in some combination.
It Isn’t All About Strength
The benefits of box jumps aren’t all about adding strength to muscles.
Yes, depending on your fitness level box jumps will add strength to your calfs, quads, hamstrings, and glutes.
Box jumps will also improve the mobility of your ankles and hips, as well as improve the coordination between the lower body and upper body.
But for golfers, box jumps are more about hip extension and training your nervous system to become more efficient and fire your hip extensors at a faster rate. The main hip extensors are the hamstrings and glutes. If you can fire your hips from flexion to extension quicker the force from the ground is transferred more efficiently (more force is transferred) and it gets that quicker.
So of all the benefits of box jumps, increasing the efficiently of hip extension allows you to increase two of the factors that lead to more power in the golf swing.
Watch the videos of Lexi and Tiger again. This time, concentrate on watching their hips.
During the downswing both players, especially Tiger, place their hips into flexion. Flexion is the action of bending or the condition of being bent. When they squat down during the downswing, the hips go into flexion.
Watch during contact with the ball, both players go from hip flexion to hip extension. Extension is the opposite of flexion; it is an unbending movement around a joint that increases the angle between the bones of the limb at the joint. See how flat they are from the stomach to their thighs?
The faster a player can go from hip flexion to hip extension the transfer of force from the legs to the core becomes more efficient and quicker.
Summary of the Benefits of Box Jumps
Here is a list of the benefits of box jumps to the golfer.
- They will strengthen most if not all muscles in the legs.
- Practice driving up off the ground – improve the use of elastic energy
- Increase coordination between upper and lower body
- Increase mobility in the ankles and hips
- Train the nervous system to fire more efficiently and faster
- Train the hips to go from flexion to extension quicker
However, the benefits of box jumps are only realized if they are performed correctly.
How to Box Jump Correctly
I will admit that before I read Mike Anderson’s article I thought the higher the box jump the better.
Not so much.
It is all about hip extension. Ok, there is more to it than that too. I will touch on the other key points later but first let’s look at a bad box jump with poor hip extension.
The first is really bad, don’t get me wrong the dude got some air, but the jump is more about his flexibility, not his hip extension.
A world record box jump? Who the hell knows. But did you see his hips when he landed? He was basically in a squat position. Total flexion with no extension at all.
A great feat no doubt, but we ain’t looking for feats, we are looking to improve our golf performance.
The Wrong & Right Way to Box Jump – a Comparison
Ok, let’s look at Mike and Tony’s videos.
In the videos, two lines are drawn. The lower line is the position of the top of the hip at its lowest point in the jump. The top line is the top of the hip when he lands.
The first video shows hip flexion. The second video his hips are in extension.
In the first video, his hips stay in flexion, they extend very little. This is not correct form for a box jump.
It might appear that Mike is moving or jumping faster from start to finish in the first video. He might be, but he is only moving his feet faster. He isn’t really jumping he is placing his feet from the floor to the platform.
Did you see how much more vertical his body is in the second video? His hips go into flexion as he prepares to jump. He then quickly straightens up and places his hips into extension then lands on the box. That is the correct form.
See how much more distance there is between the lines in the second jump. When you do a box jump picture those lines in your head.
It is ok to go into flexion after landing to absorb the shock. But I would like to see you stand back upright and go into hip extension sort of like a gymnast after the landing.
This isn’t Cross-fit so you don’t have to do 15 of these as fast as you can. It is all about quality over quantity.
Don’t let your pride get the best of you, start with a low jump, get the correct hip extension form down before you move up to a higher jump.
Other Box Jump No-No’s
There are a couple other form issues that you should avoid when doing box jumps.
The first video below shows the quick jump down from the landing platform after the box jump. I see this all the time in Cross-fit.
Why, because the people are on the clock. Slow the hell down would ya? Jumping down like this could result in you tearing your Achilles’ tendon.
Not fun, I hurt mine, and it took months to heal. How did I do it? Not jumping off a box jump, but it was at a Cross-fit session when I was pushing a weighted sled. Faster is not aways better.
The second video below shows another issue called the stomp. Please don’t land box jumps like that. Shhhhhh be quiet.
Land softly and in control, then extend up and place your pelvis in posterior tilt by tucking your tailbone under and activating your glutes. Then step carefully off the platform.
Don’t Knee Dive
The last common mistake is the knee dive. When you jump and land your knees should be in-line with your ankles. They shouldn’t be tilted in or tilted out.
In other words, when you land your knees shouldn’t be touching each other, or they shouldn’t be bowed out.
When you jump and land a box jump your feet should be pointing straight ahead, 4- to 6-inches apart, and your ankles, shin, knees, and thighs should be in-line with each other.
How to Perform a Box Jump
The benefits of box jumps for golfers can lead to a more powerful swing. But the box jumps must be performed correctly.
- Brace your abs. Don’t overly round the back.
- Start and land a box jump with your feet pointing straight ahead and your knees neutral. Don’t dive your knees inward or outward.
- Keep your eyes and chest up. Don’t look at the landing area, look forward.
- Go from flexion to extension quickly during the jump. Get your upper body vertical before you land.
- Land softly with your feet flat. Don’t stomp when you hit. It should be quiet.
- Try not to land on the balls of your feet or your heels. Feet should be flat.
- After you land extend your hips, stand tall, and momentarily hold your position.
- Step off the box, don’t jump off. Jumping off the box backwards places stress on the Achilles’ tendon and poses an unnecessary risk for injury.
- If the box is too high to step off, have a shorter box next to it for a step.
- Don’t do too many of them. A couple sets of 5 to 6 are enough.
Box jumps are a great exercise for golfers when they are performed correctly.
I hope you found this article useful. If so, please share it with your friends.
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