Month: September 2014

Box Jump Fails – How to Avoid


Box Jump Fails – How to Avoid



Box jumps have been criticized by those in the fitness community as being one of CrossFit’s most dangerous exercises. Although they are not without their risk they are an effective training tool if used properly.

Here are 8 ways that you can mitigate the risks of the Box Jump for both Coaches and athletes.


start small







1. Start small, don’t have people jumping above their comfort zone. Max height box jumps are for show and Youtube. If you are putting box jumps in a workout then have a height that is very comfortable for the athlete as they will fatigue and be less able to jump as the workout continues.


2. Step down. High rep box jumps were often used in CrossFit competitions and early programming. These high repetition moves caused some people to rupture or tear their achilles tendons. It’s really not worth it to do “quick box jumps” for time if the flip side of the coin is a 6 month recovery period and excruciating pain. Here is a great article from the Tabata times about stepping down. 

Box Jump Fails - How to Avoid

Nice look – Don’t be This Gal


3. Land Soft – As a coach you can hear when someone is about to “miss” a box jump because it sounds as if you are dropping heavy plates onto the box. A loud smacking sound on the box is the precursor to someone not making their box. Their feet are just clearing the edge and quickly smacking down flat on the box causing a loud distinct sound. If you hear your athletes doing this, get them to stop before they leave half of their shin on the edge of the box. A great cue for this to get people to jump a little higher and avoid the edge of the box is “Land Soft”. If the athlete is doing a quiet box jump they are landing on the balls of their feet and absorbing the jump as opposed to landing flat footed and hitting hard.


4. Use your arms – While most of the power from the jump comes from the opening of the hip, some of the power from the jump comes from driving the hands forward and upward in a quick swing. Get people to use their arms in a quick coordinated movement for maximum effect. A quick note is that some people will hit their hands on the edge of the box if they are really aggressive with their arms. The fix? Lower box height.

5. Jumpers vs. Leg Tuckers – Coaches should know what i’m talking about here. There are two types of box jumpers. People who jump and spring onto the box with an athletic stance, and then those who no matter what height the box is, they will pull their legs up to their butt like a plane retracting their landing gear to make their final approach to the top of the box. With leg tuckers, they will ride the jump right to the bottom of the squat and bounce out of the bottom, usually accompanied with the loud hard landing as previously mentioned in point # 3. You want to coach people to land on the box in an athletic stance, and not all crumpled up like they are in the bottom of a squat. A good rules is that you should jump and land from the same position.

6. Visualize your target – When people start getting sloppy with their box jumps, what tends to happen is that their feet start landing partially on the box. This can be a problem, and then next thing you know, someone has donated more skin to the edge of the box and a painful shin bash occurs. As a coach, you want to remind the athlete to have both feet in the middle of the box, and by doing this, there is a greater margin for error, and they will be less likely to trip off the side of the box.


correct box jump foot placement

Jump to the Middle of the Box

box jump foot placement wrong

Someone is going to have a “Box Jump Fail”!

7. Jumps vs. Step ups. Box jumps are scary for some people, and if you have this type of person then why are you box jumping anyway? If you cannot overcome the fear, then just have the people step up on a box. If you cannot effectively jump to a 8 inch box, then don’t you think you would be better served stepping up to 16 inch box? If fear is in the picture, then have your client do a box step, you will get a greater range of motion and twice as much work being done with little risk for injury.


8. Avoid high repetition box jump workout – As an athlete if your coach or your gym programs high repetition workouts involving box jumps then it may be time to look for a new gym, or take a pass on the workout. These dynamic plyometric movements will get riskier as you fatigue and the cumulative bounding effect is what will hurt your tendons and ligaments. For a more detailed funny explanation Check out our friend Beastmodaldomains

Read : High Rep Box Jumps are Stupid!


With these tips, you should avoid the common pitfalls of the box jump. We don’t want to be injured, and we sure don’t want to hurt our clients. In Mark’s Gym, we don’t have any boxes higher than 24 inches, because quite frankly we don’t need them to elicit the response we want, so let’s stop conducting silly training sessions and train smart.


Duck Tex Mex Marinade and Fajitas

Wild Duck Fajitas

Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Marinating Time: 4-6 hours
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4


  •  8-12  duck breast fillets, skin off
  • 1 medium red onion, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rings
  • 1 bell pepper, any colour, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rings
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeds removed and thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup tequila mmmmm
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil or avocado oil
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • salsa
  • warm flour tortillas
  • lime wedges

1. Place duck breast fillets in a shallow plastic or glass container. Arrange red onion, bell pepper, and jalapeño over goose. In a bowl, combine tequila with the next seven ingredients and mix well. Pour mixture over ducks, onions, and peppers. Cover and refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours, turning often.

2. Pour off and discard marinade. Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add goose and brown evenly on both sides, about 3 to 4 minutes each side. Add onions and peppers, and cook until onions are translucent.

3. Remove duck breast when still medium-rare. Allow to rest for a few minutes and then slice thinly across the grain of the meat. Arrange sliced meat on plates, top with onions and peppers, and serve with salsa, tortillas, and lime wedges.

Check out this Paleo fajita / taco mix recipe here. 



Deck of Cards – Bodyweight Workout

Bmarks gym collingwood deck of cards workoutack in high school there was this wrestling coach Terry Walzack, who would use a deck of cards for conditioning drills. Each different suit was related to different exercise and the team would get a lot done in a small space and a deck of cards. If you know anything about wrestling, then you know that wrestlers work hard and conditioning is at the heart of who wins or loses the match. Mr. Walzack worked us hard in that dark, small gym and it produced many great wrestlers. The deck of cards method changed from day to day and the deck of cards created a randomized effect. You couldn’t get angry at the coaches because it was all the fate of the cards. The playing cards created a fun conditioning game of chance that served a purpose.

Today we did the entire deck of cards in a bodyweight exercise format. You can randomize the exercises and throw in a couple jokers as wildcards.

Beal's longtime athletic director  says the school, its kids and staff stole the heart of this CCH grad and got into his blood. He says the downtown school helped him build relationships that will last a lifetime and have nothing to do with how full the sports trophy cabinet may be. (MIKE HENSEN, The London Free Press)

Terry Walzak -wrestling coach

Give it a shot, aces can be ones or 10’s or even 15’s. Face cards like jack, queen, king are equal to 10.

You decide, but more isn’t always better. Each suit is face value for the number of each specific exercise. 7 of spades = 7 pull ups. Queen of diamonds = 10 squats. You can go through the entire deck and using this formula you are only doing 81 reps of each exercise, a little bit less than the the CrossFit workout Angie, and more broken up for a higher work capacity. For pull ups you can always sub ring rows or you can do banded pull ups. Give it a shot and let me know how you make out in the comments below.

bodyweight wod

Deck of cards workout

marks gym collingwood trainer