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Box Jumps

Danny Wilson talks about the science behind explosive training for Boxers, including the benefits of box jumps and how to integrate them into your training. 

Boxers and boxing coaches recognise that lower body force can contribute to a harder punch. However, most of the boxing community are still wary of strength training and heavy compound lifts, so many opt to develop lower body explosiveness through fast bodyweight and light loaded movements.

This has made Box Jumps extremely popular as the strength and conditioning culture grows within boxing.

Our own scientific research suggests the higher you can jump, the harder you can punch! This means that boxers need high amounts of rate of force development (RFD) of the lower body for a forceful punch.

Click here to read science behind the punch!

Box jumps are a great exercise to develop a harder punch and we use it in our programs delivered at Sheffield Hallam University. Here are the potential benefits for boxers, and how to best integrate them into your programs.

Why Box jumps are great for boxing.

  • Encourages maximal force production in a short amount of time – If the box is set up at the right height, you will not be able to do it slow! You have to produce force quickly, just like a punch. Plus, we are setting a target for boxers, this can end up in some friendly competition encouraging maximal efforts. There has been many times when our sessions are interrupted by a box jump competition.
  • Rapid extension of the hips, knees and ankles – A forceful punch requires an explosive extension and rotation of the hips, the box jump encourages that. 
  • Less eccentric demand on landing – There are many ways we can use jumping, ballistic and plyometric drills to develop lower body explosiveness, such as countermovement jumps, bounds, hops and accentuated jumps.  However, what goes up… must come down! Our research suggests that boxers struggle with eccentric demands, therefore struggle with landing mechanics. We continually coach this within our programs, however, we don’t want this to limit our ability to produce maximal force. The box jumps help reduce the eccentric demands, therefore, higher jumps can be achieved.

A video posted by Danny Wilson (@wilson_boxingscience) on

Approach with Caution and Use Wisely!

  • Too low boxes may effect triple extension – When using boxes that are too low, an athlete may struggle in extending the hips and start requiring a triple flexion instead. We want to improve triple extension, a faulty technique can lose the purpose of the exercise….
  • Use it with a purpose – All of the exercises within the Boxing Science program are not random, we integrate exercises based on scientific research, the needs of the individual and what we want to achieve from it. I see many boxers performing reps and reps that it almost becomes a conditioning exercise (and come under the ugly bracket of ‘power endurance’). Box jumps are much more beneficial when used as a speed/plyo exercise. When wanting to maximise force production, you should limit your box jumps to 3-5 reps – 4-5 sets.
  • Can be used for conditioning – We still sometimes use box jumps as a conditioning exercise as part of the circuit. However, we are cautious with this as we recognise that technique can falter with fatigue. We use smaller boxes and limit the rep time to between 20-30 seconds.
  • Compound lifts and Olympic lifts are still the priority – Box jumps are great, but they are just a small piece of the jigsaw. To create more bang for your buck, maximal strength and Olympic lifting training will be more impactful on developing RFD. Box jumps are a nice way to supplement this and teach a boxer how to express force.
  • Does not challenge the stretch shortening cycle – The stretch-shortening cycle (SSC) is the sequencing of a fast eccentric (stretching) and concentric (shortening) action of the muscles. This increases the amount of foce developed during sprinting, jumping, hopping and throwing. The box jumps is more of a snap, a quick movement depending on neural drive. Boxers should include other jumping activities, especially the loaded CMJ (read more here).
  • Be careful!! Box jumps can be a risky exercise, so please do approach with caution. If you are buying equipment for your facility, we would advise to buy soft plyometric boxes to avoid impact injuries (shins have been scraped!). Also, take care when getting off the box as poor landing mechanics can cause injury.

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