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Bad Box Jumps Make Cranky Joints

By Frank Daniels | In Blog, News | on April 11, 2014

Ok, so you’re an avid exerciser who enjoys turning up the heat and competing against……. well, anything or anybody that can give you an edge on that given day.


You revel in being sore and banged up because it means you’re getting gains from your workout.


You ignore any pain signals your body gives you and push through it. After all, that’s what warriors do.


You push the pedal to the max anytime you get the opportunity.


Sound familiar??


Who can blame you?


You’re an athlete and competitor at heart and the last thing you want to do is feel the agony of defeat on any given day.


Hey I hear you and I sympathize with you. I’m an athlete too, always pushing the limits of what I previously thought I was capable of.


Since we’re all in this game of challenging the limits, I think most of us should pay attention to one critical thing when it comes to going balls to the wall such as Box Jumps and other plyomtric actions.


It’s a little thing called DECELERATION!


At Max Impact we train youth athletes and it’s very important to progress them to a point where their joints can handle the forces


The big problem with that is we have a rash of athletes around the world who are cranking out box jumps like it’s nobody’s business. With the advent of Crossfit, a lot of people think that this type of activity is a bright idea. It’s not a bright idea at all.


Is Crossfit a bad thing??


Sometimes yes and sometimes no.


So I’ll stay neutral on that for right now and just say that some coaching and exercise selection is questionable. But honestly that can happen anywhere so as of now I’ll just say at Max Impact we don’t do Crossfit. Now, some sweep of genius may cross our brains one day and cause us to adjust philosophy, but currently our main goal is to keep our clients healthy and training year round.


Here is the problem with box jumping. Quite simply some athletes are just not prepared for this type of stress. The body needs to be conditioned to a certain level to be able to do what you’re going to see below.


See what I mean in the youtube video below:





What looks cool/challenging and a win for Chad on the day is probably going to equate degenerative knees/back, surgeries, and pain later on.


Just realize this:


High Force + High Impact + A Ton Of Reps = Injured and Cranky Joints


I wouldn’t have a 12 year old doing aggressive box jumps to start out, let alone Chad the “Desk Jockey from Accounting” up on the box cranking out plyo’s!


It’s a recipe for disaster!


What’s the problem here??


Nobody taught Chad to Decelerate! Nobody taught him how to SLOW DOWN.


His muscles, joints, and tendons have not been conditioned well enough to handle the impact of all that plyo action he just did.


If you want to keep your knees and lower back healthy, please, never do what you just saw above.


You must take the time to learn how to slow down first. When you condition your body and train the proper way, over time you may be able to do this type of explosive activity.


But be cautious! 58 repetitions in 60 seconds is NEVER something you should attempt. It’s silly and downright dangerous!


Understand this athletes ===>>>You don’t get injured in the air, you get injured on the landing!!


We train athletes at Max Impact. Cutting, jumping, exploding and impacting the ground aggressively is all part of the nature of sport. The athlete should be prepared to deal with the type of forces that will occur in the athletic event.


Essentially that’s what Chad is doing in the video. He’s doing PLYOMETRICS which is a very aggressive action into the ground. Now I’m not sure Chad is gong to be playing any aggressive cutting and jumping sports anytime soon and he is definitely not going to be doing anything for long at that level of aggressiveness. Instead, he will be sitting in a wheelchair.


So the real question is WHY??


When you start to add up the risk and reward for this type of activity it doesn’t really measure up.


Take it from a man who has had 5 knee surgeries and a host of other athletic related injuries. It starts to add up over time and the body will feel it. I’m 32 and starting to feel all the wear and tear from a high school football career when I was 16.


What do you think Chad’s gonna feel if he continues with that nonsense??


Ok so back to what you can do about this…….


Very simple!!


Reduce the impact by teaching your body to decelerate. Be easy on your joints and learn how to slow down and brace your landings.


Here is a video of me doing the same level of box jump with about 90% less impact.


Check it out:








Even our young athletes who have to learn how to do plyometrics and be explosive off the ground learn how to decelerate first. We teach them how to control forces first and train their muscles, tendons and ligaments to handle these incredible forces that result from plyometrics.


But this happens over the course of several months, not on day 1 of training. And it definitely is not going to be 58 reps in a session.


A good rule of thumb for aggressive plyo work is 30 reps/contacts per session.


But that’s for Paul the Football player not Chad the Desk Jockey!!



Here is a video of some of our young athletes working on deceleration techniques and also some more advanced plyo work.



It’s controlled.


It’s sensible.


It’s safe.


Know what you’re training for and why you’re doing it. Then do it smart and do it safe.


Your joints and your physique will thank you in the long run.





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