If you were wondering how you might go about destroying the strongest and thickest tendon in your body, a simple way to achieve this feat would be to perform high rep box jumps. Sup, Crawzfitterz. It’s your old pal, Epic Beastmode temporarily out of hibernation to give my annual public service announcement to the kool-aid tards who wanna boing boing their way through 13.2 despite the inherent risk of injury.
Mr. Sexyasfuck allowed me to hijack his blog today to post an updated version of my original piece about box jumps from Beastmodal Domains (RIP, coffee) I wrote back in 2011. Me and him both snapped our shit up doing dem CrossFit High Rep Box Jumps because we were stupidasfuck. Learning the hard way is some CrossFit-ass shit, y’all. Dave Castro don’t give a fuck about your Achilles and this post is your warning.
TL; DR – STEP THE FUCK DOWN
For those of you who will jump on the go-to retorts of improper form and mobility issues, suck a fat one. I’ve heard it all before. Some asshole even said something about coconut water. Lol, CrossFitters. I’m sure we’ll get some of those gems in the comment section here.
I know I was warmed up when I popped. So was Sexyasfuck. So were a lot of people who popped. Here’s an affiliate owner, Reebok-sponsored athlete and former CF Games competitor who snapped her shit up. She said she was warmed up too.
Box jumps began as “depth jumps” or “the shock method” by the late Professor Yuri Verkhoshansky in the former Soviet Union. The athlete drops down from a specified height and subsequently jumps up onto a box as seen here by Dwayne Wade of the Miami Heat:
The muscle contraction resulting from the resistance created by the landing is similar to weight training while teaching the muscles to become faster in switching between a force yielding contraction to force generating contraction (stretch-shortening cycle).
It’s basically some explosive shit and is fucking badass.
Once the USSR Olympic athletes gained success from this training, it spread worldwide and became misused and renamed as “plyometrics”. Enter the box jump. The stress created by bounding on and off a box is not very different from what is experienced during depth jumps. When done properly and in moderation it’s an effective training tool, but in a high-rep situation your body will only take so much of this stress before it breaks. Then your Achilles looks like delicious spaghetti.
Verkhoshansky recommended the reps and height to be based upon the athlete’s capability. Regardless, he suggested no more than 4 sets of 10 reps (with as much quality and rest as possible due to the stress of the movement and potential tissue damage). You see that picture of D Wade doing depth jumps up there? In this video, his strength coach says he has Wade do no more than 3 sets of 6 reps. That’s it. Keep in mind: Dwayne Wade is a better fucking athlete than you.
“The guy who invented the movement says don’t do more than 4 sets of 10? Fuck you, Professor Verk. You don’t know shit. This is CrossFit. We are elite.” And so, we charge on with our stupidity and people get fucked up. In fact, there are estimates of over a hundred occurrences of Achilles ruptures resulting from high-rep box jumps in CrossFit dating back to 2007. Of note, 2011 Open Qualifier WOD 11.2 yielded an estimated 20-25 incidents of Achilles rupture. We saw more last year and it shows no signs of stopping.
Perhaps those figures are exaggerations. Or are they? Data is everywhere and doubters can take a look here. And here. And here. And here. And here. And here. And here. And here. And here. And here. And here. And here. And here. And here. And here. And here. And here. And here. And here. And here. And here.
I think box jumps in general may be a valuable thing (specifically, max height box jumps). Coaches should become aware that doing them in such high numbers may get your clients injured. Injuries are a part of life and sport (real sports- not exercising). But getting injured during training is fucking gayer than trees.
My intent for this post was to wake people up about the injuries in CrossFit caused by high rep box jumps. I had no clue this was an issue until I got injured in 2011. Those of you who think this is bullshit can argue this all you want and I hope you stay smug by not proving me right. But when those social media posts of “WAHHHH I snapped my shit up doing box jumps!” come out, I’m be like:
Julie Foucher stepped down in the 13.2 demo video. She’s pre-med, has a fucking brain and knows what kind of stress that movement causes to the Achilles. She is also better than you at exercising. You won’t beat her score by doing rebounding jumps anyway. So step the fuck down. But that’s just my advice. At the end of the day, you can do whatever THE FUCK YOU WANNA DO.