Make the Most of your Box Jump

Box jumps - one heck of a plyometric exercise that can be added into virtually any circuit or interval workout. However, technique plays a huge role in affecting the level of effectiveness of this wonderful (and wonderfully simple) exercise.

Many people who do box jumps cheat a little bit. One of the fundamental components of the box jump is the hip extension and here’s where the cheaters cut the corner.

Take a look at the following sequence:

If you notice, the person doing the box jump doesn’t do a full hip extension when he lands on the box. A full extension can be reached either through completely standing up (hips over feet) at the top of the box or through a powerful leg/hip explosion off the box that causes the legs and hips to straighten out and extend.

To illustrate, take a look at another sequence:

The full hip extension is one of the most powerful movements that the human body is capable of. Many compound movements, such as the squat, deadlift, clean, or simply standing up or moving into a sprint from the starters position - all are based on the hip extension. As such, it is important to complete a box jump with a full hip extension and work those muscles to the max. Doing so will work the quads, hamstrings and glutes all that much more while increasing the energy requirements of the movement and causing increased cardiovascular stress.

The Fit Blog Tip #5

Don’t forget to warm up before your workout. But despite how many people perform their pre-workout warmups, don’t get right into stretching. Starting your workout off with stretches could cause pain and does nothing for flexibility.

Instead, start off by getting your heart rate up a bit and increasing your body temperature. One great warm up is to perform some air squats and situps. I also find that hitting the rowing machine right away is a great way to start.

Once your quick warm-up is completed, then feel free to get into some stretches.

Remember that it is important to do stretches. Do them… But make sure to stretch only after a real warm-up, half way through your workout or at the end of your workout.  Stretch “warm” rather than “cold”.

The Fit Blog Tip #4

The other day at work, I learned that many of my coworkers don’t eat breakfast! I was really quite amazed. One of them said that he did eat in the morning, but then later admitted that his breakfast consisted of a simple cup of coffee. I couldn’t believe it. So here’s a fit tip that probably won’t get read by anyone who should read it. Eat your breakfast. Even just a slice of whole grain toast with some peanut butter and a glass of milk would be better than nothing. But if you have the time, have a bowl of oatmeal or bran flakes and maybe a yogurt and some fresh fruit. Of course, some foods are way better than others, but at least eat something. When it comes to a healthy diet, skipping out on breakfast is an avoidable mistake.

The Fit Blog Tip #3

The whole gym or running thing got you down? Not that exciting sometimes, is it.

Have you ever thought about joining a team sport? Amazingly, a recent study has found that the fitness benefits of football (or soccer) are so massive that it’s even better than running for fat burning. Most communities offer local soccer leagues for all sorts of skill levels from recreational to competitive, for all ages. And not only are they a great way to get in shape without the monotony of a regular running\gym routine, team sports are a great way to meet new people and have a great time.

The Fit Blog Tip #2

Losing weight is a commitment. Unfortunately it’s the hard truth - you can’t expect much from a one or two week South-Beach diet. Losing weight means having the will to deny yourself many of the things you may like. Chocolate bars, beer, croissants, all the good stuff has to be removed from your diet, and not just for a couple weeks - staying on the course and staying committed is the number one road to success. Mix in some cardio and resistance training and you’ll be seeing the weight drop off in no time.

The Fit Blog Fit Tip #1

The first in a series of quick, realistic, usable fitness tips.

Make situations where you don’t have time to cook a good dinner a thing of the past. Preparation is key. Sundays, when things have slowed down a tiny bit, cook up some food for the week. Grill some chicken breasts and pack them in the fridge in some Tupperware. Slice them up for wraps or salads, or enjoy them on their own with a side of microwaved frozen veggies. While you’re at it, prepare other foods like chopped or sliced veggies for salads, pack up some single serving portions of baby carrots in zip-lock bags, cook up a bunch of slices of turkey bacon and refrigerate them. The more food you have ready to go, the less likely it is that you will make that McDonald’s stop on the way home from work.