T Nation

Jumping Question


When doing box jumps and some other speed/plyo exercise I tend to land with a lot of force, my landings are very loud.

I have seen another sprinter do box jumps and when he lands, he lands so soft.

I never really think or try to land soft. I just go up with a lot of power and come down on the box hard.

What does this mean about my performance?

How do I improve this? Should I improve this? What will it help me on?

Any insights?


Kir Dog,

The simple answer to your question:
YES, your landings do matter!

Now for the more complex answer:
Your landings are a good indicator of your ability to absorb force and/or power. A "heavy" landing that is loud (usually this involves the heels hitting the ground hard) shows that you are not able to properly absorb the force you are landing with. Why is this important? Well think about this, would you jump higher if you squatted down, paused for 5 seconds, then jumped? No, of course not! This is because the ability to absorb power is strongly tied to the ability to produce it.

Here's a simple test you can do:
1.) Measure your standing vert.
2.) Now stand on a box that is about half of that (so if your vert was 30", stand on a box 12-18"). Do a depth jump off of that box (drop off it, quickly absorb the landing and jump less than 1 second after you contact).

If your vert off the box is less than your vert from standing, you need to work on your power absorbtion.

I think the easiest way to do this is through altitude landings. Start off with a box that is about as high as your max vert, step off and absorb the landing. Your goal should be to make it as quiet as possible. Increase the height until you can no longer land quietly and/or keep your heels off the ground. I would recommend landing in two different positions, a full squat and 1/4 squat (which is about the depth you would squat down to jump from). Obviously you will use a higher box for the full squat landings than for the 1/4 squat landings.

I would do 3 sets of 5 with each type of landing (10 seconds between reps, 120 seconds between sets). Then about 20-30 more moderate intensity jumps (box jumps, broad jumps, vert jumps, etc) in 2-4 more sets.

Go for 3 weeks where you really focus on improving your absorbtion skills (so if you lift 3 days a week, 2 days would be the plyo stuff, the other day, whatever), then take a week off and test your vert on the 5th week. I wouldn't be surprised if you can get an extra inch or so doing that.

I'd like to see some of the other "jumping" guys (climon, coolcolj, jumanji, ze, thebodyguard) "jump in" on this subject. Get it... "jump in." ha... ha...


Jtrinsey pretty much summed it up from a testing standpoint. My advice to you would be to just see how you are jumping from the landing. The ideal way would be to literally "bounce" off of the ground. Think of a pogo stick or even a basketball, it absorbs the landing and explodes up. That is how it should be done. When you get to a box height that you feel that you are completing this in two different motions (Landing,stop,then jump) rather than one single fluid motion (literally springing off of the ground), then the box is too high. The way to approach this is to keep perfecting your landings until your body instinctively starts want to explode upwards. Then move on to the normal landing and jumping.



I especially like that comment on making depth jumps "one motion" rather than land-absorb-jump. That is a great way to put it and important to remember when doing this type of training. I know I don't always focus on it as I should but I'll try to keep that comment in mind. Thanks.

Don't you love when you try to help somebody, but you wind up learning something new yourself? It's so satisfying.


Thanks for the comments, good stuff.

I think you guys may have shed some light for me. I do seem weak when landing and jumping instantly after ground contact. I have never done depth jumps and never really focused on bounding. I think it's called bounding where you land and then jump again.


Yeah, bounding is kind of like an exaggerated running stride. Just repeated single leg jumps for distance. Recommendations I've seen are for 30-60 meters as one repetition.


Oh yeah, you're right...I was way off.

and "jump in" ha ha ha, good one


I don't have much to add. As far as the testing goes, I prefer to keep doing the depth jumps until your VJ decreases. I usually start at 4-6" and progress in 4-6" increments until VJ regresses. This should tell you your weaknesses and your maximum height for force absorption.

The only other thing I do differently is the volume, etc. However, that is an individual thing and takes some experimentation to know what works best for you. Most of the programs I have done have used 1-2 "jumping" exercises per session for 1-2 sessions per week. (max reps of 5; sets varied according to AREG) Vj has increased at least 5" in the past few months.