Single Leg Box Jump
An effective way to target the lower body, including the glutes, quads, and hamstrings, is with a single-leg box jump exercise. This is a great exercise for an athlete who wants to improve their strength and power (explosive strength). However, you don’t have to be an athlete to include this in your exercise program. In fact, the single-leg box jump can be used for functional fitness, weight loss, and general lower body strength goals. Additionally, it’s also a good fitness goal to improve. People who work on improving or learning a fitness goal are more likely to stick with an exercise program. But, to improve your jump height, you shouldn’t just keep raising the height of the plyo box. Instead, use progressions to improve eccentric strength control, better hip and knee mechanics, and general lower body strength.
Here, we’ll explore the benefits of single leg box jumps, how to perform them correctly, exercises to improve your single leg jump height, and how to fit it all into a workout.If you find yourself wanting to know more about what personal trainers know, take a look at the newest in personal training certifications with the EMAC Certified Personal Trainer course.
Benefits Of Single-Leg Box Jump
This exercise requires explosive power to overcome the box height. You’ll also need eccentric leg strength (descending part of the motion before you jump) to clear the plyo box. Additionally, this exercise activates the muscles of the glute, hamstrings, and quadriceps. This type of muscle recruitment means it also burns a lot of calories. Further, because it’s a single leg exercise, it also improves balance- a daily need for everyone. To break it down, including this plyometric exercise will provide the following benefits:
- Increase recruitment of fast twitch muscle fibers
- Increase lean body mass
- Decrease body fat
- Increase lower body strength
- Improve vertical jump height
- Enhance balance and reactive functional training
- Help with fitness motivation for re-engagement
Correct Box Jump Technique
As with any box jump exercise, you should always focus on having a soft landing. This includes having the weight evenly distributed throughout the foot as you land. Also, the working leg needs to have good squat technique and mechanics. This means optimal range of motion through the ankle, knee, and hip. As you squat with the working leg, the foot should remain pointed straight ahead. As the knee flexes, it should migrate straight forward without moving in or out. Lastly, the upper body should tip forward to get good hip flexion. This will activate the powerful glute muscles to get the most out of the explosive movement.
Follow these guidelines to do a box jump on one leg as correctly as possible.
- Through a fitness assessment, make sure you have lower body mechanics good enough to do this advanced exercise.
- Start with a box height you feel confident in achieving.
- Shift all the weight to the right foot, so your right leg is the one providing all the power.
- Allow the upper body to tip forward as the knee flexes.
- The left leg, or floating leg, should extend back slightly, but naturally.
- Using lower body power on the right, accelerate up into full knee and hip extension.
- The right foot should fully clear and make contact with the box and have a soft landing.
- Step down and repeat the exercise again on the same leg, or switch to the left leg.
Single-Leg Box Jump Variations
To improve how high you can clear the box during your jump, do more than just raising the height of the platform. The following exercises will help you improve your single leg jumping height.
- Box step up: This helps with concentric strength, or the ascent part of the movement. The box should be much higher than what you’ll be attempting to jump. You can also add external resistance with dumbbells to increase the strength needed during the exercise.
- Single leg squat: This will help you with balance and stabilization strength. If you cannot control a single leg squat exercise, it will be difficult for you to get height on your jump.
- Box step down: This will help you build eccentric strength. Start with a platform higher than what you’ll be jumping on. Slowly step back and down on one leg. Do this in front of a mirror to make sure your foot, knee, and hip track forward together. This is good mechanics and will help control the strength before using explosiveness.
- Drop squat: This exercise will also help with eccentric control that you need for single-leg hop plyometrics. Jump out and slow down the squatting motion as you descend, then jump up quickly with both feet together and repeat.
- Standard squat jumps: Practice these without a box. Even though you will be on both feet, it’s another plyometric exercise that will help you develop leg power.
- Box jump up: Performing this exercise with both feet will help you mentally and physically get comfortable with increasing the platform height.
- Box jump down: The focus here is to control the landing, keeping it soft and the mechanics throughout the body with good technique. You can add a vertical jump after the landing. Pairing these two exercises into one will help with your motor learning and control. You can also do this as a single leg exercise before gearing up for the single leg box jump.