Box Jumps: Step Down if You Like Your Achilles

We Are Scouting Top Writers

Are you passionate about fitness and have something to say? Reach a huge online community and get the discussion going - start writing for Tabata Times today!

Print

A growing number of CrossFit coaches are programming only “jump up-step down” box jumps in their training sessions. Why? Achilles tendon tears happen way too often in high-rep box jump sessions, making it one of more dangerous exercises in CrossFit – especially if you are a guy. The male to female ratio for Achilles tendon rupture varies between 7:1 and 4:1 across various studies.

Step down vs. Jump down

CrossFit Snohomish covers the basics of the jump up-step down box jump:

The jump up-jump down method in my opinion should really be reserved for those looking to be competitive in the sport of CrossFit and even at that, should possibly be saved for game day performances.
This method trains the explosive component of the movement that is the hallmark of the box jump. While providing the power and coordination of the jump, it also minimizes the risk on the descent back to the ground. It lacks some of the coordination and agility of our final option, the super speedy jump up-jump down version of the movement. This type of box jump is by far the fastest and I believe has the most potential to train the physical abilities that we are shooting for on the box jumps. It also has the most inherent risk due to the potential to get out of control and due to the rapid and forceful stretch/contract sequence in the calves and Achilles during the quick bounce off the ground.

And what method do they recommend for their clients?

I believe that the jump up-step down provides the most training effect while minimizing risk. The jump up-jump down method in my opinion should really be reserved for those looking to be competitive in the sport of CrossFit and even at that, should possibly be saved for game day performances.

…Most of these [injuries] are probably occurring at the point at the bottom of the jump down when the tendon becomes the most stretched and then is forced to contract for the next jump.
How did I come to this opinion? First, I have seen enough people struggle with the coordination of the jump up-jump down method and rake shins, twist ankles, hurt knees (me) etc… This is why I originally did not allow them at all. After our recent box jump injury, I have been doing my own informal research and have heard of enough other athletes getting the same torn Achilles injury that I am beginning to feel there is a connection between the jump down method and this particular injury. I believe that most of these are probably occurring at the point at the bottom of the jump down when the tendon becomes the most stretched and then is forced to contract for the next jump.

Box jumps for time?

For a more personal (and salty) account of what high-rep box jumps can do, read Sexyasfuck’s account of his Achilles tendon blowout and how it turned him away from pure “unknown/unknowable” anything-goes programming:

How many blogs do you have to read until you realize how fucking retarded box jumps for time are?  The answer should be one. This one. Or any of the 50 other blogs containing detailed accounts of people exploding their fucking Achilles tendons whilst doing high rep box jumps. …

Your shoulders and Achilles are nothing but ticking time bombs.
Let’s just be smart about what we do “for time.” Box jumps by themselves are fucking awesome. There is almost no better way of building speed and power. But as soon as you turn them into a contest, retards like me start doing them touch and go. No “time” or “trophy” or position on a podium is worth what happened to me.  Same goes for kipping pullups. Angie is an awesome test of how awesome you are. But performing 100 kipping pullups in short order will surely fuck up your shoulders. If you are lucky enough to not have suffered shoulder pain from high rep kipping pullups you are one of the lucky ones. Your shoulders and Achilles are nothing but ticking time bombs. I’m still going to perform Angie, Fran, and the others. But not with kipping.  I will still get the cardio benefit, I am sure of that. I might never jump off a box ever again, however. I have awoken twice from nightmares of my Achilles blowing up. Like a mild form of PTSD or something.

Still not convinced? Google “box jumps torn achilles” like he mentions and take a spin through the reams of accounts, a number of which occurred after the 2011 CrossFit Games Open 11.2, an AMRAP that included 15 box jumps using a 24″ box.

Love your Achilles and step off the box!

Printable Version

Looking for a competition near you? Having an event?
Check out our new Event Calendar!

Our event calendar lets you create your own event listing for any type of event - throwdown, adventure race, seminar, you name it. For free. In 2 minutes. It's as easy as writing a Facebook post. And you can embed the calendar right on your website.
Try it today!

Share this post
@TabataTimes on Twitter, become a fan on Facebook 

Contribute to this story by commenting below:

Most Popular of All Time

Advertise Here
Advertise Here

CrossFit WV shared an image on Facebook

JJ gets a bar muscle on his last day at crossfit wv!!!

CrossFit Rife posted on Facebook

*****reminder there are no 6 or 7pm classes this evening. Please plan accordingly.

CrossFit RVA shared a link on Facebook

WOD 4/10/14 - http://www.crossfitrva.com/2014/04/10/wod-41014/

CrossFit RVA posted an article
CrossFit RVA shared a link on Facebook

RVA Fit 4/10/14 - http://www.crossfitrva.com/2014/04/10/rva-fit-41014/

CrossFit RVA posted an article
cfwhrob published the post 4 Common Kettlebell Swing Errors Made by CrossFitters on Tabata Times
The kettlebell is a common tool in the CrossFit arsenal. Every box has a collection of them, and I...
Patriot CrossFit shared a link on Facebook

CF Teens Spring Break Schedule Mon 4/14- preteens @ 5:30pm, teens @ 6:15pm Weds 4/16- teens @ 6:15pm NO class T/Th! CF Kids class this Sunday 4/13 12pm at Patriot! Hang Snatch 2-2-2-2-2 4 Rounds 10 HSPU 15 Box Jump (24/20) 2 Rope …

North End CrossFit shared a link on Facebook

http://northendcrossfit.com/?p=2118

North End CrossFit posted an article
Ballston CrossFit shared an image on Facebook

Compound CrossFit posted an article
CrossFit Chesapeake shared an image on Facebook

A great night with the CrossFit Chesapeake Kids!! Rowing, tire drags, and burpees, oh my!!

CrossFit Chesapeake posted an article
CrossFit Rosslyn posted an article
Brickhouse CrossFit posted on Facebook

Don't forget about Yobility at 6am tomorrow morning with a Coach Alicia!

CrossFit Old Town shared a link on Facebook

Patriot CrossFit shared a link on Facebook

Everyone is invited to join PCFer ML Gilbride's family and friends in a celebration of her life and legacy by participating in a CrossFit WOD in her honor. All are welcome to participate, spectate, or just come out to honor our friend. Registration link and details below. http://www.active.com/event_detail.cfm?event_id=2128714

CrossFit WV shared a link on Facebook

CrossFit Falls Church shared an image on Facebook

Strong work today

CrossFit Woodbridge posted an article
CrossFit Woodbridge posted an article
CrossFit Rosslyn shared an image on Facebook

CrossFit Fairfax shared a link on Facebook

5 rounds for time: • 5 Pistols Right leg • 5 Pistols Left leg • 5 Deadlifts 275#/185# • 10 T2B

CrossFit Reston shared a link on Facebook

5 rounds for time: • 5 Pistols Right leg • 5 Pistols Left leg • 5 Deadlifts 275#/185# • 10 T2B

CrossFit Arlington posted an article
Patriot CrossFit posted an article
CrossFit West Springfield posted an article
shortz published the post Is it time to pay judges? on
Is it time to pay judges? CrossFit and CrossFit Competition is big business. There is a lot of...
CrossFit Chronic posted an article
CrossFit Rubicon posted an article
CrossFit Falls Church shared an image on Facebook

Max and Texas working hard this afternoon...

Ballston CrossFit posted on Facebook

New website is live!! Featuring many of our members. What do you think?

Brickhouse CrossFit posted on Facebook

Congratulations to Brickhouse athlete Sean O'Brien and his wife Angela on the arrival of their healthy baby boy William Cooper O'Brien!

Brickhouse CrossFit shared a link on Facebook

Coach Neal Jamison says an "aerobic finisher" does the body good. What exactly is he talking about?

CrossFit West Springfield posted an article
North End CrossFit posted on Facebook

FREE COMMUNITY CLASSES!!! Saturdays at 10am are now open to our local Community and our NECF Friends and Family! Been wanting to try Crossfit, but been to nervous?!?! Come as a guest to NECF for a great beginner style workout. Coaches will be there to welcome and instruct you through basic Crossfit movements to keep you safe and efficient while you work. Current members are welcome as long as they bring a guest:) We hope this will be a great opportunity for more of our neighbors to get involved and see how NECF and being a part of our family can greatly improve health and daily life. Look forward to seeing you soon!

CrossFit Old Town shared an image on Facebook

RunningBrooke hitting the WOD with Team 0915!

CrossFit RVA shared a link on Facebook

Last chance to sign up for the mobility and recovery seminar with Svetlana and Brian! You are not going to want to miss out on this!

CrossFit South Arlington shared an image on Facebook

Benchmark week.

CrossFit Arlington shared a link on Facebook

Scores for the WOD "Squat Jumps, Pull Ups and HSPU" on Friday April 4 have been posted

CrossFit Annandale shared a link on Facebook

Sometimes your PR might not seem so awesome compared to big-time CrossFitters, but remember that you are probably stronger than almost everyone you know! Check out this article for some numbers to shoot for at different levels.

Fentress CrossFit shared an image on Facebook

SPRING BREAK IS NEXT WEEK....The only schedule change we will have is....THERE ARE NO 11AM CLASSES ON MON, WED AND FRIDAY! All other classes are ON!

CrossFit Advance shared an image on Facebook

AM all finished... What could the wod(s) be?

CrossFit Fairfax shared an image on Facebook

Happy Birthday today to Keya!! Enjoy your special day you beautiful BEAST!!

Brickhouse CrossFit shared a link on Facebook

Congratulations to Brickhouse Athlete Chassity Martin for her feature on the CrossFit Games website!

Patriot CrossFit posted on Facebook

Effective Monday, April 28th, Potomac will no longer be offering a 7:15pm Class.

Outlaw CrossFit shared a link on Facebook

Yoga for Outlaws http://wp.me/p1bPVX-1po

Ballston CrossFit posted on Facebook

BCF - we are expecting our new and improved website to launch today! We may have some downtime during the transition and Thurs WOD may be delayed in being posted.

CrossFit Advance posted on Facebook

Meghan, our new in house sports massage therapist will be in tonight from 5-9. If you are feeling sore, need a little recovery or just want to treat yourself be sure to see her. It's a game a changer!!!

Outlaw CrossFit shared an image on Facebook

Outlaws, we are happy to announce a new specialty class we will be offering on Thursdays and Sundays! Check out the flyer below for more info on Yoga for Outlaws! Thursday classes start April 24th and Sunday classes start April 27th.

CrossFit RVA shared an image on Facebook

Deadline for orders is 1pm today! If you haven't tried them, fED meals are a great way to begin improving your diet and getting the most out of your hard work in the gym.

CrossFit Chronic shared an image on Facebook

Download this free app CFC peeps. You're gonna need it today :)

CrossFit Chronic shared an image on Facebook

Ugh, I am a day late, but yay for more birthday wishes. CFC wishes this longtime, dedicated, strong, and beautiful gal a Happy (day late) Birthday! Happy Birthday Teresa!

CrossFit Chronic shared an image on Facebook

CrossFit Full Circle shared an image on Facebook

Reppin that Tribe

CrossFit Advance shared an image on Facebook

6am just completed the day 3 blackout wod, what is it though?

CrossFit Rosslyn shared an image on Facebook

Brickhouse CrossFit posted on Facebook

TODAY'S WOD: “Nasty Girls” 3 RFT 50 Air Squats, 7 Muscle Ups, 10 Hang Power Clean (135 / 95). Post experience to comments!

Fentress CrossFit posted on Facebook

Wednesday's Programming: Strength: Dead Lift Warm Up 10x Empty Bar 10x 20% of 1RM 10x 50% of 1RM Strength 3x5 85-90% of 1RM 3xMax Strict Pull-Ups (In between Sets of Dead Lifts) THEN WOD: 5 Rounds 400m run 10 Thrusters 95/65

@TabataTimes on Twitter

Watch the latest episode of GPTV