T Nation

Alternatives for Jumps and Throws? No Boxes or Medicine Balls

Hey, Jim.

I understand the importance of jumps and throws. Also, I know there’s not much that can replace them. The only gym I have access to doesn’t have any medicine balls or boxes.

Until I can get my hands on a medicine ball, what could I be doing instead? I need to be doing something in the meantime.

Since I don’t have access to any boxes, I jump over the bench at the gym like a hurdle. Is there something I could be doing that would be better?

Thanks for any tips. I’m just working with what I have at the moment.


You could do a ballistic type push up off a bench or the ground.

Standing long jump is an option. Would you be allowed to jump onto the bench (or a stack of bumper plates)?

Thought about doing that with the bench. Will try it out. All plates are iron plates, no bumpers. I wouldn’t feel confident jumping onto a stack of iron plates.

Thanks for the suggestions!

Squat jumps, plyo press ups and broad jumps are what I use as I am in the same situation.

The only thing I would recommend - after 20 years of jumps and coaching them - standing long jumps, standing long jump, triple jump, standing long jump, triple jump bounds and a variety of vertical jumps.

I do not recommend squat jumps or plyo Pushups. You can do whatever you want but I’ve done literally hundreds of thousands of jumps and throws in my life and can safely say these options reap the most benefits.

You can make your own DIY medicine balls fairly cheap out of $5 basketballs and duct tape at your local dollar store and some play sand or drainage rock if that’s something you would be interested in. You can get 50lbs of either for under $5 bucks at your local hardware store.

Hello, Jim.

In regards to the plyo pushups, is it because the resistance of your bodyweight is too high to elicit results favorable for power work the reason why you don’t recommend them? I have tried them on foul weather days and felt like they were about equivalent to a 70-80% bench press and too slow myself.

Not really - it’s just a incredibly poor movement/exercise for what we are trying to accomplish.


I started using standing long jumps and triple jumps a couple weeks ago. You said you don’t recommend squat jumps, but a variety of vertical jumps. Can you give some examples of what you mean?

The easiest and most basic is jumping (for example) and trying to touch part of basketball net/rim/backboard. Having some kind of “goal” to reach makes it 100% easier.

The other thing that requires no equipment is something we did in high school and college ( and we did this a lot between working sets of a main movement) - we call it tuck jumps. In place, you jump, bring your knees up, land with VERY LITTLE contact time and repeat. So imagine “bounding” in place over a pretend barrier. We did this for sets of 5 or so - no need for high rep sets. Very simple to do and incredibly effective.

I feel like some of this part of training, the non-biceps shit, is like trying to get people to give Neurosis or Lord Mantis a chance. So much resistance due to the “popular” shit that is being shoved down people’s throat. It is a losing battle but one that I won’t give up on as jumping and throwing made up such a massive part of my training during the first 10+ years. THIS is what allows people to learn how to be fast when they lift. Learn how to apply force and even learn how to relax, stay tight and breathe - 3 things that seem at odds with each other. Only in last 2-3 years have I learned how to program them in a “5/3/1” way - i.e. not make it insanely complicated.

Even though I started lifting with the mentality that you need to focus on lifting and put conditioning aside, now that I’ve incorporated sprints, runs, and mobility like the Agile 8 every day I feel like I’m much stronger and more capable than I was before. I recover better, too. I’ve been doing jumps similar to what you just described as of late and it makes me wish I was this focused and in this kind of shape 12 years ago when I was playing football in high school. I wouldn’t have been a mouth-breathing offensive lineman that only got the position because I was fat.

Basically, ever since I’ve actually fully committed to taking your advice, I’ve improved drastically in all aspects.

Also, I completely understand the music reference. More people should give Neurosis a chance, much like the rest of your advice.

Thanks, Jim. I’m serious when I say that 5/3/1 has been slowly changing my life for the better.