Living Purposefully

20130625 105404 Living Purposefully

When I wake up each day I immediately know what I have to do each day. I have a plan for each and every day, and this is how I maximize what I get done in a day.

I call it living purposefully.

My life certainly hasn’t always been like this though. It wasn’t too long ago where for lack of a better way to describe it, I simply felt like life just happened to me.

It was as though whatever was going to happen to me each day was going to happen no matter what and I felt helpless to change it.

In essence I felt like a passenger in my own life watching as everything “happened” to me.

I would often say things like “shit happens”, when in reality I was in some way responsible.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I was a useless blob on a couch, I was still a busy personal trainer and helped tons of people, but there was nothing guiding the direction my life was taking.

Fast forward many years, and I guess I would say that having kids was really the big catalyst for some pretty amazing changes in my life.

The reality that I need to to be a leader for my family and that nobody else can make it happen except me, really helped shift a few big obstacles in my mind.

There was no magical awakening of brilliance or performance, but I did stop doing one thing… and that one thing… was making excuses for everything that “happened to me”.

What I finally came to realize is that I am the driver and captain of my own ship… and at the time of this realization I was on a crash course with a terrifying place called Nowhere!

Becoming aware that I alone was responsible for the non-direction of my life was a difficult pill to swallow, but it did one tiny thing that in the end has made a huge difference in my life… I finally realized that I had been all along making choices (and many were pretty bad choices) on a daily basis, and that I could make different choices it I wanted to.

So I did. I started making better choices. And what is critical to understand is that when you choose to do the same thing over and over, it becomes a habit.

So instead of unconsciously making the same bad choices (and allowing my bad habits to continue to exist), I started making better choices.

I should add that I haven’t ALWAYS made better choices, often I have allowed the old unconscious habitual choices to “just happen” to occur again, but when I did and the same negative outcomes resulted, it really helped to cement in my mind that it was MY CHOICE that brought the negative result.

For me at least, there is no such thing as a magical awareness. I have to make an effort on a daily basis to be as aware as possible about the choices I’m making to ensure the results I want.

This is what I call Living Purposefully.

It is making purposeful choices (behaviors and actions) about how you will live to get the result you want.

Exercising and eating well have not traditionally been where I’ve had trouble. My difficulties have been more in my personal and professional life.

But wherever your difficulties lie, if you choose to Live Purposefully each and every day, I can guarantee you can change your life significantly.

Posted in Personal Development by admin | 2,482 Comments

The Spark | Motivation

0 The Spark | Motivation




So now that you know Arnold used to be my idol, I’m sure I’m going to be teased about it around the gym.

Anyway, here’s the link to Arnold’s new website and the blog post I was talking about called The Spark.


I’m sure you’ll enjoy reading it as much as I did.

Hopefully enough of us will do our part to try to do the two things Arnold asks of us in his post.


To help on my end, I’m going to make next week a BYFFFW.  That’s Bring Your Friend For Free Week.


So if you have a friend who’s been wanting to come try out our bootcamp or kettlebell classes, instead of paying the regular $20 trial class fee, you can bring a friend for free.  You can even bring a friend who’s done a class with us before!


Please take advantage of this offer and please leave your comments below.



Posted in Training Center by admin | 2,442 Comments

6 Exercises You SHOULD Be Doing That Can Change Everything

bossy1 6 Exercises You SHOULD Be Doing That Can Change Everything


6 Exercises You SHOULD Be Doing That Can Change Everything

6 exercises you should be doing is a list of 6 essential exercises that we regularly program into all of our athlete training programs.  When I’m designing programs for our various strength training groups, I often find myself including exercises that I seldom see in other programs – exercises you SHOULD be doing.  I use these exercises because I find them to be very good at either fixing little problems or helping to bolster movement patterns for other exercises.

Without further adieu, here are 6 Exercises You SHOULD Be Doing That Can Change Everything:


1. Band-Resisted Hip Abduction – Exercises You Should Be Doing

The first exercises you should be doing is Band-Resisted Hip Abduction in some way.  We do this exercise with either an orange or red band looped around the legs just below the knees.  This exercise is excellent in helping to reinforce abducting the thighs during squats.

There are a few variations with each one giving a slightly different benefit.

Exercises you should be doing #1 – Variation 1: Band-resisted hip abduction squats.

0 6 Exercises You SHOULD Be Doing That Can Change Everything


Exercises you should be doing #1 – Variation 2: Lying band-resisted hip abduction.  This one works the hips in full extension.

0 6 Exercises You SHOULD Be Doing That Can Change Everything


Exercises you should be doing #1 – Variation 3: Seated band-resisted hip abduction.

0 6 Exercises You SHOULD Be Doing That Can Change Everything

Variation 3 of the 1st exercises you should be doing also has three small variations to it.  You can do it sitting with your pelvis in neutral, in anterior tilt, or in posterior tilt.  All three variations will hit the glute triad slightly differently.


2. Wall Squats – Exercises You Should Be Doing

The 2nd exercises you should be doing is Wall Squats.  While this exercise is often used simply to teach new clients how to squat, it is also a great exercise to be used as an exercise technique reinforcer, and we use it quite often as part of our warm-up.

Wall squats help to teach the hip hinge, how to abduct the thighs and engage the glutes, as well as how to properly brace the core on top of a tight arch through the lumbar and thoracic spine.  Many young athletes have hip strength/mobility imbalances that are often hard to correct.  With proper cues, the wall squat almost forces the correction, though repetition is required.  With our hockey players, on a four day off-season program we’ll have wall squats as part of the warm-up on two days and hit 5 sets of 5 reps.

0 6 Exercises You SHOULD Be Doing That Can Change Everything

Key to this exercise is body position.  Start facing the wall with feet slightly wider than shoulder width with feet turned out at about 30 degrees.  Adjust foot position so that feet are approximately 1″ – 2″ out from wall.  Place hands behind head.  From this position, start descent by pushing knees out and hips backward while maintaining a rigid core.

Descend as far as possible without losing your arch, or losing symmetry of movement.  Hips should hinge evenly on both sides, and knees should abduct evenly on each side.


 3. Wall Slides – Exercises You Should Be Doing

The 3rd exercises you should be doing is Wall Slides.  Shoulder issues often arise when there’s a lack of optimal shoulder mobility.  Along with lots of static stretching for the pecs and lats, wall slides are one of the best exercises when done regularly to improve shoulder mobility and reduce pain.

If you walk into our gym and you have less than optimal shoulder mobility.. you’ll be doing these!

0 6 Exercises You SHOULD Be Doing That Can Change Everything


4.  Get-ups - Exercises You Should Be Doing

The 4th exercises you should be doing.  There are many variations of this exercise, but the two we favor the most are the Turkish Get-Up (done with a kettlebell), and the Sandbag Get-Up (with a sandbag held on the shoulder).  The Sandbag get-up is an excellent core strength and conditioning exercise that we use extensively with our MMA athletes.  Fighters often find themselves on the ground with someone on top of them, and sandbag get-ups are excellent at training the “getting up” movement pattern under loaded conditions.

0 6 Exercises You SHOULD Be Doing That Can Change Everything


5. Step-ups - Exercises You Should Be Doing

The 5th exercises you should be doing is Step-ups.  In popular fitness circles and magazines like Men’s Health, due perhaps to the “un-sexiness” of the good old step-up, it is often neglected in favor of exercises such as pistol squats, TRX reverse lunges or Bulgarian split squats.  And while these “sexier” exercises have their place in many a good program (including ours), I think the step-up should be used more than it is.


The Step-up is a very basic exercise to do, and can easily be taught to almost anyone.  Though basic in nature and ease of teaching, few exercises deliver quite the bang for the buck.  Uber-expert strength coach, Bret Contreras, has done extensive EMS testing on virtually every lower body exercise in existence, and found that the good old Step-Up delivers one of the highest glute recruitments of all exercises, second only to the glute bridge and hip thrust.

In this video, I’m doing a Deadlift Day finisher consisting of sandbag shouldering to step-ups along with a couple other exercises.  You simply can’t beat this combo for crushing it!

0 6 Exercises You SHOULD Be Doing That Can Change Everything


6. Barbell Glute Bridge and Hip Thrust - Exercises You Should Be Doing

The 6th exercises you should be doing are Glute Bridges and Hip Thrusts.  Although recently (and thanks to Bret Contreras) the glute bridge and hip thrust and their many variations have been gaining in popularity, these insanely effective exercises have been historically neglected.

I too had fallen into the neglectful category and had not been thinking outside the box with these exercises as I often do.  I have long used the glute bridge as an activation exercise, programmed into the warm-up before hitting squats or deadlifts.  I’ve used it as a main exercise to help improve the mind-muscle connection in the elderly or for those with severely atrophied glutes as well as with athletes whose gluteal recruitment needs improvement.  But the one thing I always did was to stop using them after we saw some improvement.


Barbell Glute Bridge – Exercises You Should Be Doing

0 6 Exercises You SHOULD Be Doing That Can Change Everything


Barbell Hip Thrust – Exercises You Should Be Doing

0 6 Exercises You SHOULD Be Doing That Can Change Everything

Thankfully, after Bret’s re-visitation of these exercises, they now find themselves in our programs on a regular basis and as they should in yours.


I mean, if they can take an atrophied set of glutes and bring them back to life, why stop there?  Why not take it a step further and see what kind of difference it can make to everyone in all situations?






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Nothing Is Impossible With Extraordinary Resolve

Nothing Is Impossible With Extraordinary Resolve


never give up Nothing Is Impossible With Extraordinary Resolve

Nothing Is Impossible With Extraordinary Resolve

Extraordinary Resolve.  Nothing Is Impossible With Extraordinary Resolve and this has been proven many times.

A few days ago, I came across this video on the internet, and I just had to share it with you.


At first, I thought here we go, just another weight loss story.  Not to take anything away from people who lose weight, but there are plenty of these stories pretty much everywhere.

Today, another strength coach whom I admire also posted this video so I decided to watch the whole thing.


I was truly in awe of this man’s journey.  And it really showed me that nothing is impossible with extraordinary resolve.

(The video is hosted on a religious site, so I’m not pushing religion, but people need to see this video.)


Nothing Is Impossible With Extraordinary Resolve!



What is extraordinary resolve?


Extraordinary resolve is what you must find in yourself to endure the pain of DOING… so that you do NOT have to face a much worse pain… the pain of REGRET!


After watching this video, I want you to ask yourself some questions… some important questions…


Why is my battle too supreme to overcome?

Why do my obstacles seem bigger than everyone else’s?

What possible reason can I have for not attacking my dreams?


Here are the typical reasons?

No time…

No money…

It hurts…

It’s hard…

I’m not strong enough…

I’m not talented enough…

I’m not good enough…

I have bad knees…

I have a bad back…

Bad hips…

Bad shoulders…

Bad wrists…


I’m sure somewhere in there your reason lies.. or maybe your reason lies in some other list.


The bottom line is that a life where you’re simply hanging around, without purpose, just working a job to make money to simply live.. almost like you’re just waiting to die…

Is NOT a life at all!


That’s a sentence!


Don’t live your life like you’ve been given a life sentence!


Live it as it’s been meant to live.










And most importantly LOVE YOURSELF… for nobody else can love you the way you can love yourself.  Not your partner, your husband/wife, kids… nobody.


Nobody else on earth can LOVE YOU and take care of you as well as you can yourself!


So next time one of those thoughts creeps in your head about why you can’t do something…


Remember this..


You CAN!


Then DO IT!




Posted in Training Center by admin | 4,263 Comments

Kettlebell Technique Essential Pointers

Kettlebell Technique Essential Pointers

Kettlebell windmill Kettlebell Technique Essential Pointers

Long lean muscles... Yoga.. what?

Getting the most out of your kettlebell training requires some patience.  But with patience comes rewards right?  And in the case of kettlebell training, having enough patience to learn correct kettlebell technique is essential.


With dumbbells and barbells learning technique can take some time too, but learning kettlebell technique is another story altogether.  With kettlebells, unlike dumbbells and barbells, the centre of gravity does not rest in the palm of your hand, but instead about 8 inches due North of your closed fist.  As the kettlebell moves, it generates it’s own momentum that is NOT directly sitting in the palm of your hand as with dumbbells and barbells.


As a strength coach I’ve always sought to learn from the best in the industry, and kettlebells were not an exception.  I did a seminar with Mike Mahler from Aggressive Strength down in NYC at Peak Performance, it was a great seminar, but Mike practices what I call more of a soft-style with his kettlebell technique, and I prefer the hard-style  that is taught more through the RKC and Agatsu programs.


That said, I had already learned pretty good technique on my own and I was comfortable to teach it to my clients.


HOWEVER… After taking just a few classes with Dave my kettlebell technique has really improved, and with all the great pointers he showed me, I thought it fitting that I share it with you so your kettlebell technique can improve too!


Dave Anderka’s Essential Kettlebell Technique Pointers

Kettlebell Technique Technical points for swings

Structure (squat)

•           Feet parallel,

•           Knees stay above feet

•           Eyes forward


•           Hips crease back, not down

•           Load weight on heels

•           Head up, shoulders packed

•           Back swing touches butt

•           One armed – thumb in the bum / free hand off the hip or leg


•           Hips snap forward

•           Heels drive into the floor, posterior chain

•           Sharp exhale, engage abs & back

•           Swing to eye level

•           Shoulders square / slight flex in elbow / fist with free hand


Kettlebell Technique Technical points for the clean

•           Half swing (<45°), legs stay bent

•           Pop the legs/hips to accelerate (change direction)

•           Hand stays close to body, like zipping up a long coat

•           Aggressive punch around the bell

•           Insert hand into handle, 45° across the palm

•           Rack position, fist under chin (landmark finger to opposite cheek), elbow tucked

•          Return – Bell rolls off arm, into back swing


Kettlebell Technique Technical points for snatch

•           Half swing (45°)

•           Vertical high pull, action/power from legs/hips

•           Aggressive punch around the bell

•           Lock out at the top

•           Handle position across palm (45°)

•           Return – lead with the pinky, spiral out

•           Pressurize torso as the bell comes down


Review these kettlebell technique pointers thoroughly and see if you don’t notice a difference in your swing right away.


If you’re interested in learning more about kettlebell training and kettlebell technique, click this link to view the kettlebell class schedule:


Kettlebell Technique  <===== CLICK HERE


Steve Maxwell Kettlebell Training Videos

Check out these AWESOME videos of Steve Maxwell in action.


This is the exact stuff that Dave will be teaching here at PhysXtreme.



0 Steve Maxwell Kettlebell Training Videos



0 Steve Maxwell Kettlebell Training Videos



0 Steve Maxwell Kettlebell Training Videos
Posted in Training Center by admin | 3,162 Comments

Gonna Get Me Some Natural Bacon… or NOT

Natural Bacon Come On… Who Doesn’t Love it?

i love bacon Gonna Get Me Some Natural Bacon... or NOT


Natural Bacon?  Fooled Again!

Well folks we’ve been duped again! At least I was.


Who doesn’t love bacon… right?  I damn love the stuff, but I don’t eat much because I know it’s unhealthy.

All those nasty nitrites and nitrates right?


Well not long ago these new Maple Leaf Natural bacon packages started appearing in the Local Loblaws and I was so excited to see that they “appeared” to contain none of those nasty preservatives.  I bought 6 packages and went home and got some eggs and bacon cookin’ right away!


Not So Natural Bacon

not natural bacon 1024x635 Gonna Get Me Some Natural Bacon... or NOT

Well… as it turns out I was duped!  In the Maple Leaf Natural Bacon ingredient list is an ingredient called “cultured celery extract”, which contains high levels of sodium nitrate.

What I didn’t know is that in addition to this new Natural Bacon, regular bacon, and other cured meats, pretty much all vegetables contain sodium nitrate. It’s a common mineral in the soil, and is thus absorbed as the plants grow.

Apparently though, when found naturally in vegetables, the negative affects of the nitrates in our body are countered by the high levels of natural anti-oxidants found in the vegetable.


In this Maple Leaf Natural Bacon, they don’t add any Nitrates or Nitrites, but they use a “cultured celery extract”, which is simply a concentrated form of celery containing high enough levels of naturally occuring nitrates to do the job they’re supposed to.


In this Natural Bacon, the cultured celery extract has too much nitrate compared to anti-oxidants.  So the ratio doesn’t provide the anti-oxidant protective effects you get compared to eating foods that naturally contain nitrates and anti-oxidants like beets and spinach.. two of the vegetables containing the highest amounts of naturally occurring nitrates.


As it turns out, vitamin C is the major anti-oxidant that prevents the formation of the carcinogenic nitrosamines in the stomach in the presence of excess nitrogen.  So what I’m wondering is… could we supplement with a couple 1000mg vitamin C (ascorbic acid) chewable tablets just before consuming bacon?


I wonder if this would help keep it healthier for us.  There is some research that supports this position.


Unfortunately there is also research that demonstrates that while adding ascorbic acid (vitamin C) does slow down and even block the production of some nitrosamines, it can accelerate the production of other nitrosamines.

Of course.. there couldn’t be just one nitrosamine.. and vitamin C would block it right?  There has to be tons of different kinds so that we can’t have a straight and clear answer.


Some other reading I did also spoke about the fact that if products like bacon had a zero nitrate or nitrite content, they would be grey in colour.  Guess that’s why they have to put it in there.  Who would by grey bacon?  Yuck!


I’d love to hear your comments on this one!

Please leave them below in the comments section!





Posted in Health, Rants by admin | 2,898 Comments

Strength Training For Athletes – Man Up Monday

Strength Training For Athletes

Hercules Tire Flip Strength Training For Athletes   Man Up Monday

 Strength Training For Athletes – Man UP!

Strength Training For Athletes gets our athletes, bigger, faster, stronger, and more mentally tough than traditional bodybuilding and pretty-boy pump up your pecs and biceps training that you see commonplace in most of the big chain gyms today.


When I was younger I knew nothing about the intelligent, balanced type of strength training for athletes that I now use in my own training and with our athlete groups and bootcamps.   I merely followed all the training programs of all the biggest bodybuilders in the gyms and in the muscle magazines.


The programs I followed helped me put on close to 50 lbs of muscle from my 18 year old weight of 145 lbs at 6′ 2″ tall, but I developed many strength imbalances and never truly learned how to master safe and effective training techniques which are critical when designing strength training for athletes.   The  ultimate result was many injuries of which a few still affect my ability to train today.


Bodybuilding and pretty boy/girl training is training that focuses on appearance.  If this is how you train, it will catch up with you over time.  The strength training for athletes that we do today develops superior strength, power, speed, and overall athleticism.  It also builds muscle size, but not the useless muscle that does nothing except slow you down that bodybuilding and pretty boy pump up training does.  And traditional strength training for athletes is also not all it’s cracked up to be as it ONLY develops strength in a few specific dimensions.


tire flips for chicks Strength Training For Athletes   Man Up Monday

Tire Flipping… Not Just For The Guys!


Traditional Strength Training For Athletes

MOST strength training for athletes relies heavily on Olympic weightlifting.  Exercises like cleans, power cleans, snatches, jerks, push jerks, etc… form the bulk of the training.  Undoubtedly the olympic clean and jerk and snatch are certainly the best display of pure power.  I mean athletes who focus heavily on these movements can definitely produce the highest levels of power, as they move very heavy weights pretty damn fast.  But they do this in a very specific plane of movement where the movement is perfectly timed and executed flawlessly.

In my opinion, no program that involves strength training for athletes would be complete without it… but what is even MORE important is strength and power development with odd objects which helps prepare the body for the real world sporting environment where things don’t line up perfectly to allow you to get into the perfect position to exert maximum force.

Whether you’re an MMA athlete, a hockey or football player, or a wrestler or athlete of some other contact sport, if there is contact between players, then you will often have to rely on your ability to generate forces in sub-optimal positions.  Strength training for athletes that ONLY focuses on the olympic lifts will result in suboptimal preparedness when it comes down to the crunch.


Optimal Strength Training For Athletes

The type of strength training for athletes we do involves sandbag training, kettlebells, sledgehammers, heavy sleds, battling ropes, and of course massive tire flips.  Tire flipping is probably the ultimate exercise for developing mental toughness as it pits you against a massive practically unmovable object that requires both massive strength and power production to successfully flip it.


Here’s a video taken a couple weeks ago of yours truly realizing that I’ve got LOTS of MANNING UP to do.  I got 2 sets of 3 reps with our 800 lb tire.  Subsequently, last week I was able to get 2 sets of 5.  It wasn’t pretty, and it was nearly a life or death battle on my final set to get the last rep, but this is the kind of physical and mental training that is absolutely critical for developing the optimally developed athlete.  Getting this tire off the ground is practically like doing a 1RM on deadlifts followed by a 1RM clean to move the tire from hip to shoulder.. then you have to do it again.. and again.. No room for pussies or cry babies!



The take home message is that if you want your contact sport athletes to have optimal strength and conditioning development, they need to train with odd objects during both strength training and conditioning training.  If they don’t, watch them get left behind by those who do the right kind of strength training for athletes!


Please leave your comments about strength training for athletes in the comments section below.




Posted in Training Center by admin | 2,798 Comments

How to Safely Increase Your Box Jumps Without Getting Get Injured

Safely Increase Your Box Jumps Without Getting Injured

box jump injury 300x224 How to Safely Increase Your Box Jumps Without Getting Get Injured

Safely increase your box jumps without getting injured.  In this post I’ve got a cool video where I show you 3 critical elements you need to know to safely increase your box jumps without getting injured.


How to Safely Increase Your Box Jumps and NOT Get Injured:

0 How to Safely Increase Your Box Jumps Without Getting Get Injured


To recap the video, the three things you need to do to safely increase your box jumps without getting injured are:


1. Hip height and hip mobility.

When you box jump, take notice of how high your hips are when you land.  If your hips are barely above your ankles as in you’re nearly sitting on your feet, chances are you’re not ready to safely increase your box jumps.  However, if you notice that you’re able to land with your hips 6-12 inches above your feet, then you’re developing enough force to box jump a little higher.


The next issue when trying to safely increase your box jumps height is whether or not you have sufficient hip mobility and flexibility in the muscle groups required to pull your legs and feet up higher to land a higher box jump.  If you can stand on one foot and without your hands pull your thigh of the free leg up past parallel to the ground and hold it there for 15 seconds, then you have at least sufficient hip flexor strength.  Next if you can pull your knee with your hands all the way up to or close to your chest without your support leg knee bending or your back hunching over, then you can safely increase your box jumps height.


2. Foot position on the floor.

To safely increase your box jumps height, another important element is making sure you get a solid drive off the ground.  Start your box jump with a strong dip on flat feet.  An all to common mistake is to rise up onto the balls of the foot before the dip and drive into the floor with the feet.  This causes the calf muscles to act as a sponge, absorbing some of the force we ideally want to transfer directly into the floor.  In a very well trained athlete, through a plyometric effect, this would actually help increase the box jump height, but it is important to realize that most people will lessen their box jump height by doing this because they will not develop sufficient force with their hips and legs.  Getting maximum force production through the glutes, hips, quads, and hamstrings and delivering that force into the floor is what is MOST important for training to safely increase box jump height.

3. Maximize upper body momentum with the arms.

To safely increase box jumps height you have to ensure you’re generating the maximum amount of momentum possible.  This is achieved with a powerful arm swing initiated as part of the downward dip and then followed through with the subsequent drive from the legs and hips.  The safety point is to make sure the arm swing follows an arc that does not connect the hands with the box itself.  My sister was doing our bootcamp a couple months back and she smashed her hand on the box and a couple of her knuckles are still not healed properly.  So be aggressive with your arm swing, but be conscious of HOW you swing them.


A fourth thing not mentioned in this video because I covered it in my previous article on Box Jumps, is to increase lower body strength.  Stronger muscles can produce more force, which is obviously critical to improving your box jump.  I didn’t cover it in the video because the video was in response to someone’s comment on the first post on box jumps in which the reader had hurt her leg during a box jump.  So this video was more to address how to safely increase your box jumps without getting hurt.


So work on this stuff and you’ll safely increase your box jumps height without getting injured.


I’d love to hear your comments, so please leave them in the comment box below.  I get a ton of comments from my posts by email, and I really appreciate them, but it would be very helpful to everyone if people would comment ON the blog in the comment section as others will benefit from hearing what you have to say and potentially my response.  Thanks!  :)



Work on these three things and you’ll soon find your box jump

Posted in Training Center by admin | 2,877 Comments

Explosive Strength Training For Hockey Players – Box Jumps

Box Jumps Explosive Strength Training For Hockey Players

explosive training for mma box jumps Explosive Strength Training For Hockey Players   Box Jumps

Explosive Strength Training For Hockey Players – Box Jumps


Explosive Strength Training For MMA Athletes Box Jumps In this article I’m going to cover some very important aspects of box jumps that will help you both improve your performance in the box jump and thus get more out of them in terms of their carry-over to MMA and other sports such as hockey, wrestling, football, etc…


Box Jump Set-Up

Always start with a relatively low box, one that you know you can jump on successfully.  Even though it may not feel like it’s much of a challenge, starting low and gradually working higher will bring your nervous system up to speed slowly and prepare you for higher boxes on successive attempts.

Stand in front of the box and depending on the height, assess your distance.  Common mistakes include either starting too far back or too close.  Either one can cause you to catch your foot on the lip of the box and leave you with a pretty nasty bruise and/or cut on the front of your shin.

Common approaches are either standing with two feet planted and then jumping, or doing a walk-up before the jump.  The walk-up gives a bit of forward momentum going into the jump.  Some prefer this, while others don’t.


In my own box jump training, at most I’ve taken a tiny step into planting both feet before jumping, but never a big walk-up.


How To Jump Higher

How high you can jump depends on the following factors:

1. Ensure a good set-up

2. How much force you can develop with your jumping muscles

3. Your hip and leg flexibility and mobility

4. Your athletic ability


How much force you can develop depends on how strong you are and how “amped” up you can get for your box jump attempt.  Strength training with exercises like squats, step-ups, hip thrusts, glute bridges, glute & ham raises and deadlifts will help your muscles develop the strength required to jump higher.

One common mistake I see frequently is not enough leg drive into the ground before the jump.  What tends to happen is people initiate the movement by lifting their heels off the ground and then they spring off their toes without getting much drive from the hips.  Good drive from the hips will usually start with feet flat on the ground and a good drop in the hips will occur before the jump.

Mobility and flexibility are critical for box jump height, as a maximum height jump will result in a landing with both hips and knees in deep flexion, a position only possible with sufficient hip mobility and flexibility.

Finally, with regards to athletic ability, the use of momentum is required for jumping, and the amount of arm movement is often over-looked it terms of importance in providing momentum for helping with box jump height.

A hockey player or mma athlete who attempts a box jump without sufficient use of their arms will not jump as high as the athlete that instinctively engages a powerful arm swing entering and following through the jump.

The picture at the top of this article shows clearly the heavy involvement of the arms in a high box jump.


Serious Box Jump Action

0 Explosive Strength Training For Hockey Players   Box Jumps


Box Jump Programming Considerations

Box jumps are becoming a popular exercise for not only athletic training, but also in exercise bootcamps (including the PhysXtreme Bootcamp!), but how you jump based on the programming is important to avoid injury and maximize performance.

When box jumps are used at the beginning of an exercise program, the hockey player, mma athlete, or bootcamper is fresh and not suffering from a heavy dose of accumulated fatigue.  At this point, the participant can attempt to jump as high as possible, and possibly even try to jump higher and set a personal record (PR).  The chance of injury is always there, but it is less because the muscles are fresh.  In contrast, if box jumps are prescribed at the end of a workout when the athlete is fatigued, we’re not usually looking for jumps to be of maximum height, and we’re certainly not looking for PR’s.  So make sure your desire for height takes into consideration your level of fatigue.

Normally when we put box jumps at the beginning of the workout, we look for sets of 3-6 reps.  This rep range can usually done with maximum force output and very little drop-off in power output.  If we use box jumps midway through or at the end of the program, we’re looking to train power endurance, and box height should be adjusted to reflect the athlete’s level of fatigue.


Safety Considerations

Box jump safety starts with taking stock of your fatigue level going into the jumps.  If you’re heavily fatigued, this is NOT the time to be trying to set any records.  Step-in, adjust your distance if necessary, and ensure you get a good arm swing as you jump.  Your set-up is key to safety.  If you’re not sure, ask for help from a qualified coach.


When Box Jumps Go Bad

box jump injury 300x224 Explosive Strength Training For Hockey Players   Box Jumps    box jump injury healing 300x224 Explosive Strength Training For Hockey Players   Box Jumps

Immediately After Crash Landing                                                        One Week Later

Click this link to learn how to safely increase your box jumps height.

Sample Lower Body Strength Training Program

1A) Box Jumps 3×6

1B) Box Squats 3×5


2A) High Box Step-ups 3×8

2B) Glute & Ham Raises 3×8


3A) Cossack Squats 3×10

3B) 1-Leg RDL 3×12


4A) Grappler 3×15

4B) Farmer’s walk 3×100′


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