For those of you who don’t know, Ben, Cali, Tex and I are contracted by CrossFit Football to teach the CrossFit Football Trainer’s seminar around the globe. It’s a great gig. We get to meet all sorts of athletes, travel to fun places, and we get to put our studies and hard work to use. To pump our seminar we set up a booth at the 2013 CrossFit Games SoCal Regionals competition in Del Mar, California.
Anyone who has had the privilege of being a vendor at a fitness expo (or any other expo) knows that when there’s dozens of other booths around you need a “gimmick” to attract attention. Most people throw some hard bodied scantly clad babes in the mix. But what people forget about is that CrossFit athletes are hard bodied scantly clad babes, and/or they are surrounded by them ALL DAY at their gym.
What we know is that CrossFit athletes are attracted to FEATS OF STRENGTH!
Enter the the Vertec. We decided it would be interesting to test out people’s vertical jump at Regionals. What surprised us is that people were ASTONISHED when they only put up a 26″ vertical jump. “Bro, that doesn’t make sense! I have a 46″ box jump!”
No shit. It’s common sense to us but we figured it be worth sharing to Power Athlete Nation. A big box jump doesn’t equal a huge vertical jump. Why is that an important distinction? Because the vertical jump is a significant bio-marker of athleticism and is worth developing, and RM box jumps are a valuable tool to develop the vertical jump. But you may be doing it wrong.
Let’s break down Kevin Bania’s world record box jump that has been floating around the inter-webs.
This is an amazing feat of timing and mobility to contort his body to effectively shift his center of gravity over the plates and his base of support. Let me open with this; I am very impressed with this accomplishment. But I just don’t consider this “one of the most incredible demonstrations of explosiveness & feats of athleticism ever recorded.” He’s quoted saying is best jump was a 34″ on the Vertec so this isn’t an attack on him. I’ve done my best to break down this jump to try and satisfy my curiosity and figure out what the vertical displacement of Bania’s spine is.
Let me rationalize. When we talk about a vertical jump we are really talking about vertical displacement of the spine. We are a big fan of the one joint concept. At a loss for a better way to calculate this I’m going to assume that vertical displacement of the hip = vertical displacement of the spine. When evaluating the photo above I’m assuming that hips are about even with the top of the bottom plate. At the apex of this jump the hips appear to be below the top plate, but I’ll even give the benefit of the doubt on that. At the end of the video it looks like the height at the top of the bottom plate is 32″. Some simple math shows us that what we have witnessed is approximately a 32.5″ vertical jump. A decent jump, but by no means a world record.
Barreling forward; a major component to Power Athlete training philosophy is posture and position. Your training should reinforce the posture and position that is most advantageous to your sport. We just addressed a question on Power Athlete Radio regarding landing position on a box jump. In order to address that we need to know; What Are You Training For?
Let’s assume you are training for field sport performance. Now that we’ve established context, here’s the answer: You should be landing in a position that’s advantageous for any movement. We call this our universal athletic position.
Now, when you are testing box jump RMs, if your landing position looks like you’re trying to self-fellate (trying to be PC), you are doing it wrong. I repeat, your landing position on box jump RMs should resemble the athletic position. If we scroll back up and take a peek at Kevin Bania’s position on his landing, it is nowhere near what we would consider an athletic position.
Let’s shift gears; if you’re trying to establish the highest box jump possible then do what you have to do. Strip down to your Skinz, jump, contort, and compromise posture and position. I used this jump as an example only because it hit the internet recently. But Bania holds a place in the Guiness Book of World records. Congrats to him for being a world record holder.
At the end of the day, if you are training for performance, posture and position are king.
John Welbourn is CEO of Power Athlete and Fuse Move. He is also creator of the online training phenomena, Johnnie WOD. He is a 9 year veteran of the NFL. John was drafted with the 97th pick in 1999 NFL Draft and went on to be a starter for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1999-2003, appearing in 3 NFC Championship games, and for starter for the Kansas City Chiefs from 2004-2007. In 2008, he played with the New England Patriots until an injury ended his season early with him retiring in 2009. Over the course of his career, John has started over 100 games and has 10 play-off appearances. He was a four year lettermen while playing football at the University of California at Berkeley. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in Rhetoric in 1998. John has worked with the MLB, NFL, NHL, Olympic athletes and Military. He travels the world lecturing on performance and nutrition for Power Athlete. You can catch up with John as his personal blog on training, food and life, Talk To Me Johnnie and at Power Athlete.
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