Box jumps simulate many athletic movements, teach the body to transfer force and absorb shock, and can make you more explosive. When you do them correctly, that is. Unfortunately, the fitness industry has bastardized the box jump by maxing out on height and reps instead of emphasizing proper form. To help bring back the importance of form, Mike Boyle—one of the world’s most revered strength and conditioning coaches and the owner of Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning in Woburn, MA—points out the five biggest box-jumping flaws and how to correct them.

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1) You Start and Finish in Different Spots 

Jump from a mid-squat position, and land in one as well. Not finishing in the right position usually means—well, see No. 2.

2) Your Box is Too High

If your box is too high, then both your starting and ending position will be compromised. Start low, perfect your form, then slowly increase the height of the box.

3) You Land With a Thud

This indicates poor form and a lack of body control. Drive through your hips; otherwise, your knee joints can suffer. Focus on jumping athletically with a soft, heels-first landing.

4) Your Knees Cave In 

Caving knees often means weak or inactive glutes and hamstrings. Improve them with banded goblet squats and lateral mini band walks.

5) You Aren’t Using Your Arms 

Failing to swing your arms will reduce your power output, decreasing the amount of force being transferred during the jump, which is why you want to rocket your arms skyward as you release your hips. This will help ensure that you begin and end in the same position, allow you to land softly, and also help maintain balance throughout your body as you shift your center of mass.

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