20-19-18-17-16-15-14-13-12-11 reps per round of:
High Sumo 65/45
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It isn't that box jumps are inherently dangerous. They aren't. If they were - we wouldn't be doing them. Box jumps are incredible for advancing fitness and health. There are very few exercises which can improve your spatial awareness (stuff you use in everyday life), timing, speed, power, agility and etc. like a box jump can. All of this is ON TOP of the fact that they stimulate equal portions of aerobic & anaerobic fitness (when done to our 15" box).
If it were about incr'g your aerobic & anaerobic fitness ONLY, we'd surely find another way. But the thing is, people run up & down stairs in real life. People jump over rocks, gutters and curbs (or, at least, we should). We walk/run/jog on slippery, uneven surfaces. We change direction quickly and often (also on said surfaces). We do all of this while carrying unbalanced loads. In fact, anyone who lives an active lifestyle uses elements of a box jump many times throughout the day.
GPP train you in ways that you actually move in real life. This is as it should be. It also lies in stark contrast to how other methods (bodybuilding, circuit training, walking) would train you. They would never ask you to practice functional movements. They are only comfortable asking you to do slow movements, in singular planes of motion, without the presence of momentum or speed. It's not just wrong that they advocate this. In my mind it's irresponsible. Do they imagine you'll somehow obtain acumen for normal daily movement patterns without actually DOING these movements? Do they imagine leaving these natural elements of movement out of your training will help you to prevent injury?
That's just silly. It doesn't make sense. I mean, where on earth would this hold true? Could a pitcher become great at throwing a ball by just doing triceps extensions and lat pull-overs? Hell no. He'd suck. He'd also break. Not that triceps and lats work wouldn't help. It's just if that was ALL he did ...
Being a functional human mandates functional movement in our training. It mandates that we move backwards, forward, side to side, up and down & transversely. Sometimes altogether. Often under load. NOT training like this would be inefficient, irresponsible and would cause injuries. In life - where it counts.
With all of that said it seems prudent to point out that there are, of course, stages to any training program. Those who practice life (workout) at speeds and loads which are completely unfamiliar to them are setting themselves up for failure and catastrophic injury. For those who would wear these attributes as badges of honor... read no further. Feel free to go bat-FRICKIN-crazy at this workout. Enjoy your 9 months, to a year of rehab. For the rest of us ... read on.
Box Jumps can be sneaky. They don't always give you a warning before they detonate an Achilles. Neither do they limit their mayhem to only the inexperienced and/or out of shape. The good Dr. (AF) proves this (There might be a couple of folks in the world AS fit as AF, but NOBODY more).
Here are our best suggestions for avoiding Achilles tendon failure:
Take a good long warm-up.
Do lots of light stretching. Do this daily.
Progressively warm up to the 15" box.
Work on your form. Jumping too far backwards and immediately springing back up places more stress on the tendon.
If you are lucky enough to get a warning - heed it.
If you are over 40 - consider the OG alt (video).
If you are tired - skip them.
If you already did them this week, and it's been a long time since you did them last step them (R+L=2), or do the OG alt.
I haven't bounced out of the bottom of a box jump for a couple of years. I do the OG alt. I got a warning a couple years back and haven't been tempted to push my luck since then. Not that I believe this will absolve me. It seems like when it comes to Achilles tendon injuries, when it's your day - its YOUR day. My dad blew his up in his early 40s pushing a car out of a snowbank. I saw a soccer coach (late 30s) blow his when he turned to yell at a player. A friend of mine was jogging down the court in a friendly pick-up basketball game. He wasn't sprinting. He wasn't leaping. He wasn't changing directions. He was just jogging down the court. Said he thought someone ran up behind him and kicked him in the leg.
Finally, when in doubt - sit it out!