I’ve done a lot of box jumps over this last year, and I got to the point where I had to only do them single-legged because there is no way for me to stack up enough Reebok steps and 45lb plates to get the stack high enough for two-legged jumps at my gym.  I stacked them up until they were the height of my navel and was able to land on top.

Looking back, that might not have been the best idea, and I almost hurt myself doing the single-legged box jumps at my gym yesterday.  Thankfully when I tripped on the plate, I didn’t hurt my toe or foot.  My only injury was a little bruising on my right ring finger from catching myself.  Really, that particular fall was no big deal.  The problem would come if I wrote a book and a bunch of people started doing box jumps and started getting hurt.  Although part of the problem was that I had a less stable platform to jump onto because I had less Reebok blocks to work with (curse you, aerobics room), I’ve figured out that I need to have a safer approach to train single-legged power.

In the book that I’m writing, single-legged power is largely addressed by using different types of sprints.  However, I want to take that idea slightly further and do single-legged bounds.  In doing so, you’re still having to create a lot of power with a single leg, but you’re directing that power in more of a horizontal fashion than vertical.  I already have a bunch of exercises that train vertical power (cleans, hang cleans, dumbbell snatches, etc.), but what I didn’t realize until I tripped on my single-legged box jumps is that I didn’t have any strictly power-focused exercises that focused on horizontal power.  It’s a good thing I tripped over that stack of 45lb plates on top of the deadlift platform.

So, the safer alternative to box jumps is bounding.  Single-legged and two-legged.  Sure, you might fall, but at least the chances are a lot less than when you have the chance of tripping over some high platform.  Here are a couple videos I found to show what I mean by “bounding”.

Two-legged bounding:

Single-legged bounding: