| | | | BOX JUMPS AND VERTICAL JUMPS

Author / Luke Summers

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.

SoCal-CFFB-Booth

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!”

581683_10151684807489612_685863566_n

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.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tl8VG5brpRA[/youtube]

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.

VerticalBreakdown

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.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iAEX5wv3drM[/youtube]

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.

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AUTHOR

Luke Summers

I am the COO of Power Athlete, co-host of Power Athlete Radio, and a Power Athlete Coach. I've been coaching athletes, training clients, and educating 1,000s of coaches around the globe since 2007. I'm a lifelong multisport athlete, but my focus was football up through college where a neck injury forced me to hang it up.

Now I'm a stickler for productivity, and have a burning desire to empower athletes, coaches, and every day people who are striving to be better versions of themselves.

12 Comments

  1. Craftman on May 24, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    This is a great post about a subject that I hoped would make it to the Power Athlete Radio. I know I’m guilty of compromising form on box jumps just to get a good box jump but not seeing much of a transfer to the vertical leap. From now on I”m going to focus more on landing in a athletic position even if I won’t do much more than 30” from it.

  2. Cody Rice on May 24, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    Good article.

    This has been a big point of contention with many CF coaches and athletes over the past few years, and also why I believe vertical jump is a better metric than box jump height. It is also why I coach my athletes to do low reps and use high intensity box jumps, landing as high as possible on the box. Mix in some power cleans, sprint starts, jump roping, depth jumps, etc. to round out your power development.

    Took my vert from 21″ to 33.5″ in the past 3 years using my own programming (methodology similar to CF Football). Looking to see if I can’t get a bit closer to 40″ over the next few years of training…

  3. Steven Platek on May 25, 2013 at 4:20 am

    Awesome write-up Luke!
    The athletic position is something I’ve always tried to get on high box jumps even when people tell me “you can go higher” – I sort of knew that they meant I needed to self-fellate! It’s not how I roll…

  4. dredlocked on May 25, 2013 at 4:29 pm

    Great post Luke. I agree with Steve and Craftman; one of the things that’s great about CFFB is that you guys don’t bash other programs/approaches. Different people train for different things. This guys hop was crazy, and it’s tough to self-regulate when most of the CrossFit culture is saying otherwise; good for them if they’re just going for max-height-by-any-means, just not what we’re training for.

  5. Rego on May 26, 2013 at 10:03 pm

    Another benefit to landing in the athletic position is a greatly reduced chance for injury. I’m old, brittle and not that flexible, so not bailing off the box to eek out that last inch sounds good to me

  6. 05.31.13 | Blaine's CFFB Workout Log on June 2, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    […] pulling the bar as high as you can without breaking extension *For lateral box jump, start from the athletic position and jump laterally to the top of the box landing in an athletic position. *Step down from the […]

  7. Q on June 29, 2013 at 9:51 am

    Awesome post.

    Regarding a topic very similar, an angry person wrote this: http://becomethebull.blogspot.com/2012/02/get-some-fucking-perspective.html

  8. 07.12.13 | Blaine's CFFB Workout Log on July 12, 2013 at 5:03 am

    […] Okay, so I’ve done way higher jumps, but after reading this article I’ve changed my setup some: Box jumps and vertical jumps […]

  9. […] Chatter about this subject at CrossFit Football, Beyond Strenght […]

  10. July 17, 2015 | CrossFit Fort Bragg on July 17, 2015 at 10:03 am

    […] Box Jumps and Vertical Jumps […]

  11. Naeem on June 3, 2020 at 11:23 am

    Boing vert looks like a serious program, and coach rock also has a very good reputation, although he’s more into general basketball stuff rather than just highest vertical jump training, but based on what I heard boing vert is more advanced and developed in terms of depth and quality.

  12. Randall on October 6, 2020 at 7:15 pm

    I appreciate you taking the time to distinguish between the box jump and standard vertical jump; the measurements often get pretty conflated, making the whole topic confusing. From what I’ve read on similar articles https://ballamazingly.com/the-highest-vertical-jump-ever-reached/ its extremely important to take that difference in consideration, since it puts the numbers into context. Also like the part at the end where you emphasize posture and position, I completely agree.

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