High Rep Box Jumps Are Stupid

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.

kool-aid-man resize SAF

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

BJ1

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 can typing

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.

BJ2

Kate Rawlings, owner of Coca CrossFit in Ohio ruptured her left Achilles during the box jump portion of Filthy 50.

Roman, you're a fucking dick.

Roman, you’re a fucking dick.

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:

BJ3

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).

Science

It’s basically some explosive shit and is fucking badass.

BJ4

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.

BJ5

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.

BJ6

2x world champ and ’06 Finals MVP? Meh. What’s his Fran time?

“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.

BJ7

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.

BJ8

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:

CT

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.

64 responses

  1. [...] CrossFit Wylie Disclaimer: We HATE, and I mean HATE rebounding box jumps. They have been known to cause major issues. If you have ANY issues with your achilles tendon, do NOT rebound under any circumstance, step off the top of the box.  Here is an entertaining and potentially offensive link about this very subject. [NSFW] [...]

  2. 100% agreed. One argument that I’ve heard that is ridiculous and I’ve proved wrong is when people say “well if I don’t do a lot of box jumps I can’t improve my box jump height”. Bullshit. I quit doing high rep box jumps 2 years ago (except when I do something like filthy fifty in which case I step down). July of 2012 I had a 49 inch box jump. December 2012 I had a 53 inch box jump. Not a single high rep box jump workout between July and December to get that increase either. Olympic lifts will increase your vert. So will low rep depth jumps. High rep rebound box jumps are just unnecessary. Period. Anyone who tries to argue that, well, good luck. BTW I’m a CrossFit gym owner and I approve this message :)

  3. Gawd, I’ve missed Epic.

  4. Aaaaaahhhhh. I missed you so much Epic. Thanks for the post. Now I need a cigarette :)

  5. Wine, complain, start a fucking protest or maybe even a petition but damn this gets old. It’s programmed for 13.2 and will be in the future as well with most certainty, get over it.

    1. *Whine.

      U can typing.

      1. Charles Bronson

        Box jumps bad, maybe good with wine?

        If someone leaves a barbell with two kettlebells at the end of it, does it look like cock and balls?

      2. I can appreciate that grammatical correction, now everyone will be less confused with the actual intimation.

  6. At our box, the real elite athletes-and I know they are elite because they take their shirts off and wear board shorts- not only do high rep box jumps, but they do them on concrete in the parking lot so they can show off to the cars driving by….

  7. I know Kate… and the first thing she posted on Facebook after the workout was announced was that there will be NO rebounding at Coca Crossfit during the WOD. STEP DOWN ONLY. And I completely agree. Unfortunately, people will be jumping down who are trying to seriously make it to regionals and might be on the bubble and need every rep. I will be stepping down. Aint nobody got time for surgery.

    1. Jon North would be proud of you.

  8. Seriously brah, all you need is some airborne, wash it down with coconut water, and only do box jumps in Reebok Nanos with rock tape. Problem solved, you’re welcome.

    1. And Zone. They still do Zone, right?

  9. The programming this year is off the hook! I can’t wait for SDHP next week! Woop woop.

  10. Its about time Epic came fucking back… I knew he was always with us… looking down from us from above… waiting to swoop in and bukkake people with common sense.

  11. Epic,

    Drop the knowledge bomb on Military that have deployed , taken cipro, and straight broke their shit in 2.

  12. [...] there’s zero chance that I will jump down.  Not just because of information like this (http://sexyasfuck.org/2013/03/14/high-rep-box-jumps-are-stupid/) but also because I have a prosthetic hip, I’m nearly 52, and 24″ is a long way [...]

  13. Hey, kind of off topic, apologies in advance. Please let me state that I enjoy the hilarious shenanigans of some of the CrossFit Community as much as the next shirtless boardshorts wearing elite athlete. PVC Spearchucking being my current favorite CF nonsense. I think Drywall and Epic are both quite good at what they do, and I say that earnestly. At the risk of inciting the scorn of the acolytes, I would take exception to the “CrossFit is not a Sport” line of criticism. If one’s contention is that CrossFit competitions need more game elements, then you must also dismiss single skill events (like much of track and field) as lacking in game elements as well, as surely something as basic as a 400m sprint is simpler (I wont say easier or less athletic) than a standard CrossFit triplet. If you think CrossFit isnt a sport because it’s not athletically fundamental enough, then are you not also dismissing more complex sports like Football, Soccer etc that have more rules, equipment and participants? Please comment with your opinion.

    1. Rich Fitzwell | Reply

      Running and lifting weights are not skills. Any moron with two legs can run. Any idiot with two arms can lift weights.

      What you are doing isn’t special.

      1. Rich Fitzwell

        You can post all the dumb videos you want, but when it comes down to it, there is nothing special about running and lifting. There is something special however about being able to catch a football, hit a baseball, shoot a basketball, etc. Those are real skills.

      2. I see… So please explain Jamarcus Russell.

        You have to be elite and have skills in order to compete in anything. Weightlifting isn’t easy.

      3. Rich, thanks for your reply. So if i read your words correctly, you fall into the camp that thinks CrossFit as practiced is too athletically simple to be considered a sport. That athletic elements (running, weightlifting) by themselves are not enough to be a sport. If thats so, then you are disimissing usain bolt, carl lewis and michael phelps as less than athletic because they do not “catch a football”, As what they do as athletically much simpler than any player on a football team. Please correct me if im wrong.

      4. Rich Fitzwell

        I never said they are less athletic. Those are your words, not mine. I just feel the acts of running and lifting are less skillful than acts that are required for the major sports.

        There are plenty of athletic people on this planet, that can run and jump, whatever.

        But there are FAR LESS people on this planet who possess A SKILL SET to play sports and also have that same athletic ability.

        Crossfit is not a sport. It’s another form of exercise.

    2. CrossFit certainly requires a skillset, sure. But declaring the winners of the Games the “Fittest Man/Woman on Earth” is the biggest pretentious piece of shit title I’ve ever heard of. The beef with CrossFit comes from the elitist attitude held by a majority of the community (if you don’t CF, you’re not in real shape) and the nonsensical programming that gets put out there by both HQ and individual Boxes that think high-volume, stress inducing training 24/7-365 days a year (with rest days thrown in for pussies. Elite!) passes for “elite fitness”. The fact that you’ve listed sports which you think are less sport like than CrossFit kind of points to the problem-exercising isn’t a sport.

      Elite!

      1. probablynotlouiesimmons

        ‘exercising isn’t a sport’
        cool. so at the minimum we can cross off

        running
        swimming
        rowing
        weightlifting
        cycling
        speed skating
        cross country skiing

        Man, what the fuck are you doing on a crossfit blog? You’ve got a lot bigger battles to fight, you better get going.

      2. Squatcurls, thanks for your reply. Attitude and pretensions aside ( and indeed theres often much to complain about in those arenas) you lost me when you said ” youve listed sports that are less sport-like than crossfit…exercising isnt a sport”. So am i correct in saying that your definition of sport falls into more of the games type? As in more rules, more competitors, possible more equipment? If so, do you dismiss the single skill set sports that make up much of the olympics, like track and field single events, as being more akin to exercising than to being a sport? Just looking for consistency here….

    3. TL;DR — I don’t think Crossfit is a sport, but it could be. Read on if you want to know why, and sorry for the wall of text.

      I think that there are two related reasons that referring to Crossfit as a sport doesn’t seem right to me. The first has to do with the idea of “constant variation” and the manner in which Crossfit attempts to be objective and subjective at the same time. The sports you mentioned above — running/rowing etc. — are all objective sports that have preset rules. There aren’t any surprises. Sprinters train differently for the 100, but they all know beforehand that they’re running 100m, and the fastest time (as opposed to, say, the fewest strides) is going to win. Crossfit isn’t like that. The point of Crossfit is surprises. Calling the results of the Games objective fails to see the forest for the trees. This isn’t a fatal flaw, however, because lots of sports — figure skating, gymnastics — are inherently subjective. But, in those sports, the source of the subjectivity is the competitor. The judges’ judgment is really only subjective because everyone is doing different routines. If everyone did the same routine, then something like figure skating would approach objectivity, kind of like a boxing match that goes to the scorer’s table.

      I think that the notions of objectivity and subjectivity I described above are inherent in what people are comfortable calling a sport, and I think this is the case because without those two things, the would-be competitor is stripped of a huge chunk of any agency in determining the outcome of the competition. In something like the 100m, it’s totally cut and dry. Even in gymnastics or figure skating, the athlete who loses without faulting in the routine can say “well shit, I should’ve designed a harder routine.” Crossfit tries to have it both ways by subjectively allocating unknown-but-objective events to determine a winner. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that Crossfit, as it’s presented and constructed at the Games, has no rules. This might seem goofy, but if someone asked you, “oh, this is a competition? What are the rules?” what could you say beyond “uhh… do what the judges tell you to do.”

      The second reason I don’t like calling it a sport, which I think is better understood in the context of what I just said, is the fact that this is something that some guy made up 15 years ago. Of course, this is true for every sport, it’s just that they were made up a long time ago, and maybe this will all sound stupid in 50 years when countries that want to host the Games are bribing the shit out of Glassman (aside — how funny/awesome would it be if that were the case? God, Glassman would take so many bribes). Nonetheless, there’s something kind of off-putting/self-congratulatory about some guy inventing a competition (the Games are, if nothing else, a competition) and by fiat declaring it to be a sport in the grandiose way that Glassman did. This is especially true when the would-be sport is less than 100% novel (again, though, this isn’t a fatal flaw, e.g. the decathlon). But think about how different football and basketball are.

      So, short story long, I don’t think Crossfit is a sport for the aforementioned reasons. Writing this wall of text did just give me an interesting thought, though — maybe Crossfit could become a sport if it switched to a figure-skating style of judging. Crossfit can never be totally objective because it’s too tied up in the idea of constant variation. But, imagine a Games where the competitors design their own workouts and are judged on who best demonstrates the ideals of fitness? Man, I’ve only been thinking about this idea for about 5 minutes but I think I love it. How fucking cool would that be?? You could even use the Open as it’s constructed now to qualify…

      TL;DR — I don’t think Crossfit is a sport, but it could be.

      Also, if it’s relevant, I like Crossfit a lot and it has totally changed the way I workout.

    4. Are they really spearchucking PVC now? I’ve been spearchucking PVC for years. Glad it finally caught on #Trendsetter

  14. oh jeez not this again. just bounce it ffs. stepping makes you look like a pussy plus you can’t game the WOD with stepping. it’s CrossFit and it’s gonna hurt, get over it.

    1. Yeah man, just get over it. Only pussies get hurt and if you get hurt you’re not a real CrossFitter, right? Because elite and I can type.

      1. Rich Fitzwell

        I never understood why people get seriously hurt exercising? Especially when that exercising is only being done to do more exercising.

        These people crack me up. They create something with no definitive goal in the end. The only goal was to create some half ass events to exercise against other people and hand out medals.

        Isn’t that called going to the gym? (minus the medal part)

    2. Whew, I’m glad you commented, I was up late worried about what people would think about how I exercise but now I know how to get your personal approval and I feel so much better.

    3. This is how I feel when I see you guys whining about box jumps http://crossfitlisbeth.com/2013/02/22/what-did-you-just-say/ . Do you think that when my old shoulder thing starts playing up it’s time to QUIT? What you guys need to ask yourselves is “how bad do I want it”?

      1. Bob's your uncle

        I agree dude. I go HAM until my achilles tendon is snapped up and I no longer have any cartilage in my shoulder joint, because I WANT IT SOO FLIPPIN’ BAD

    4. … and while I’m handing out advice, you could all use a bit of practise turning that hater energy into Positive Attitude. Take a leaf out of this book: http://rx-star.blogspot.com.au/p/rx-star-facts.html

  15. First thing I thought as I watched them announce 13.2 is Sexyasfuck is going to be shaking his head. I like my Achilles and walking with a normal gate. I do not like hospitals (unless I am there to deliver a child) surgeries, cruthches, port-surgery recovery and being double-dog-dared into doing dangerous shit. I CrossFit to look good naked, not accumulate scars. Step down it is, for me and ANYONE I train.

  16. Tendons have also been shown in recent studies to be basically the same throughout our adult life. Unlike pretty much every other single part of our bodies which are being constantly renewed, the tendons only change ever so much throughout the years – which in turn means that tendon damage recovery is a lot slower. This isn’t a sprained or pulled muscle, it isn’t a broken bone – those will heal in a relatively short time. Tendon damages you risk not ever healing fully. Be careful!

  17. I was glad to see Julie step down. I had basically stopped doing box jumps because I’d always figured they weren’t wortwhile if I wasn’t bounding up and down. I worked them in yesterday (stepping down) and felt just as much burn. Her example was good. Good post.

  18. I aerobic’d that shit and did step ups/downs. I was thinking jump up/step down, but I could cycle the step ups/downs faster. I got one rep shy of 8 rounds and definitely think there is room for improvement.

    Give it a try.

  19. Congratulations! You have just proven that American Football is stupid. Football players get hit over and over again, hundreds of times in a game. They get concussions, and joints and tendons to a point where they are brain damaged and debilitated in old age. So football is stupid, no one should play it, it should be banned.

    You are an inflammatory, foul-mouthed idiot.

    1. Bob's your uncle | Reply

      I believed he proved that this workout was stupid because it could be possibly injurious… I don’t think he mentioned anything about American Football.

      And besides, American Football is a SPORT. Competitive exercise is NOT.

      1. No one ever accused you of being an intellectual, have they.

        You missed the fact that I was extending his logic to football. “Box jumps can result in injury at high reps so don’t do them.” That is the argument. Football players are hit at forces replicating car crashes at 25 – 35 mph repeatedly. So football is inherently dangerous and no one should play it. But try telling that to the American public.

        So you probably don’t think swimming, Oly lifting, or strong-man competitions are sports either as they are basically just exercise. I’m certain those communities would have some words for you. A snatch is one of the most difficult skills to do and do well. Sport is any activity requiring skill or physical prowess. Get off your ignorant soapbox.

      2. Westin Carpaccio

        Chadwick, you miss the point: there is a choice to rebound on box jumps. In football you can’t elect to not get it; it is a fundamental part of the sport. Anyone that plays football understands that going into it.
        For 13.2 or a wod any day of the week you can pick. If you want to rebound, go for it. I step down because I don’t want to absorb the risk of rupturing my Achilles. If the risk is acceptable to you, then do it.

      3. Bob's your uncle

        Actually, I do think those are sports because they require an athletic skill set; Olympic lifting measures your power output i.e. the snatch and clean and jerk; swimming tests your lung capacity by going against water resistance; football tests athleticism in many ways. . I could go on and on about how those are sports while Crossfit is not. Now, is Crossfit a sport in terms of strategic planning? Yes, and that is why we see people doing step-ups instead of box jumps so that they can get a higher score (and also not wreck their achilles tendon).

        Also, sports tend to have standards. Crossfit, last time I checked, thinks a clean is a ground to front rack lunge.

        Look, there are many good things about Crossfit, but the way they program workouts are just not good… I’m sorry, but it’s true (especially when Epic gave everyone cold hard evidence on how high rep box jumps will destroy your achilles).

    2. Football doesn’t have a core mantra of “mechanics, consistency, then intensity”, doesn’t claim to increase the length or quality of your life, doesn’t take pride in scaleability and inclusiveness and doesn’t purport to make you “better at life”. When people start CrossFit, a lot of them – heaven forbid! – are simply expecting to increase their physical capacity, get stronger and lose a bit of fat – fitness stuff. Instead, within a year they’re suckered into lifting too heavy, sacrificing form, pushing themselves till things break (or they puke) and leaving with a faint dread that their joints are those of a 70-year-old.

    3. You’re kind of killing your own argument here. This workout is designed to be done by anyone, no matter their fitness level. Professional football is only done by serious professional athletes. Also in professional football they know the consequences of leading with their head into a tackle. If they continue to do it that’s there fault, especially knowing the resulting injuries. Other injuries (tears, breaks, strains, etc.) are accidents. Kind of like you probably were. The same argument can be made for anything in the world. People die having sex, driving cars, walking and chewing fucking bubble gum; should we make ban those too? You clean mouthed douche.

  20. [...] reading of Siff and Verkhoshansky and Siff’s excellent Supertraining (See page 274) as well blogs like this has me convinced to never program high rep box jumps again.  For today’s workout [...]

  21. Everyone here is angry, like someone just shot a bus full of nuns and puppies in front of them. Sport, not a sport, ban football, ban rebounding box jumps, fuck me to tears, LIFT HEAVY SHIT, leave the “13.2” stuff for the grass eaters, they can carry our stuff and deliver letters when someone “cuts off all the lights”

    1. I’m angry because I don’t like mofos suggesting I’m not elite.

  22. [...] have to talk about 13.2! So… apparently last year there were a lot of injuries reported from people doing high rep box jumps in the Open wor…. So this year, they decided to allow step-ups instead of box jumps for 13.2. Box jumps completely [...]

  23. Decafiz4lozerz | Reply

    Coffee

  24. TMW reference….look at dat form!

  25. [...] As these three movements swirled around my brain I got a message from a buddy from my old Guard days.  He posted this article: [...]

  26. […] and for more strategy fun, check out this, this (crude, but very valid points), this, and […]

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  28. […] I could do better. Anybody else mentally f*cked when it comes to rebounding box jumps? I read this (if you have a sense of humor, you’ll enjoy that, if you don’t, you won’t), […]

  29. […] Check out this read about high rep box jumps and crossfit. This is bound to be spread about and lead to fun arguments (not by me – I’m just sharing). […]

  30. What would you consider to be high rep, pretentious asshole?

  31. I miss you💔

  32. […] I could do better. Anybody else mentally f*cked when it comes to rebounding box jumps? I read this (if you have a sense of humor, you’ll enjoy that, if you don’t, you won’t), […]

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