How to Master the Box Jump When It Feels Impossible
Jen Widerstrom is a Shape advisory board member, a fitness expert, a life coach, a cohost of Daily Blast Live, the best-selling author of Diet Right for Your Personality Type, and the mastermind behind our Ultimate 40-Day Plan to Crush Any Goal. Here, she answers your plyo-related questions.
I have this mental block with box jumps, thinking I'll tear up my shins. How do I overcome it? -@crossfitmattyjay, via Instagram
JW: Do not fret! There are ways you can prove to yourself that you're capable of clearing the boxes and any other physical feat that fear is holding you back from. (Here's why the box jump is the most underrated exercise.)
Step 1: Repeat
Evidence of your ability is often the shot of courage you need. Start by doing multiple jumps onto a box that's just six inches tall. This repetition will ingrain in you the understanding that you can absolutely do box jumps. Once you've got that down, graduate to 12 inches, and so on. (Achieving a box height of 18 to 24 inches warrants a huge celebration.)
Step 2: Routine
I want you to approach each box jump the exact same way every time, so you'll know you have a system you can count on. Step in with your left foot, then your right. Inhale and exhale. On your next inhale, swing your arms back in preparation for the jump. Exhale as you make your way to the top of the box, aiming for a jump height that's two inches above the platform. Land with your feet side by side, just outside your shoulders-and yes, in the exact same place you always land them. Stand with pride.
Step 3: Remind
Keep in mind that the way you operate in the gym is the way you will operate in the world. By holding back and worrying about mistakes, you may let those worries paralyze you. I encourage you to use every box jump to practice mental toughness for your life. (Related: This Video of Massy Arias Box Jumping Will Make You Want to Conquer a Challenge)
What are the best plyo exercises for your butt? -@puttin_on_the_hritz, via Instagram
When it comes to shape-shifting that backside, plyometrics are supereffective, but the key is to do them weighted. One of my go-to moves for rounding out the booty is runner's lunges with dumbbells: Hold a midsize dumbbell (10 to 15 pounds) in each hand, arms slightly bent, and start in lunge position with your left leg forward, both knees bent 90 degrees. From here, drive through the left leg to jump straight up off the floor, bringing your right knee up toward your chest (keeping your arms slightly bent). Return with control to the starting lunge position. Do 12 to 15 reps, then switch sides and repeat. (Related: 5 Plyo Moves You Can Swap for Cardio)