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Powerlifting Jumps by Shane Sweatt - CrossFit Journal

Powerlifting Jumps

By Shane Sweatt

In Coaching, HD Videos, Powerlifting

September 25, 2012

Video Article

For improving jumping, explosiveness and overall athleticism, Westside Barbell’s Shane Sweatt likes training from the seated or kneeling positions.

During this CrossFit Powerlifting seminar at Integrated Fitness, a CrossFit box that does sport-specific training just outside Pittsburgh, Sweatt begins with seated box jumps. To properly execute the movement, the feet come up and are driven into the ground, the chest stays up, and the arms come back and forward.

“Arms are very important in jumping,” Sweatt notes.

Then it’s on to the kneeling jump, where the hips must fully extend before the legs come through.

“The farther you can extend your hips through, the more height that you’re gonna get on a kneeling jump,” Sweatt explains.

Next, he has the group practice kneeling long jumps, box jumps with a barbell, kneeling cleans, kneeling snatches and even a kneeling split snatch.

“It’s a way to get someone very athletic in movement—something fresh,” he says.

10min 39sec

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SD wmv file size: 127 MB
SD mov file size: 66 MB

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Additional reading: Improve Your Jumping Ability by Bill Starr, published Aug. 15, 2012.

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8 Comments on “Powerlifting Jumps”

1

wrote …

Excellent video, this will really help people with immediate, explosive power that needs to go from off to on with no wind up. Thanks for posting!

2

wrote …

Cool stuff-can't wait to take this cert!

3

David Claiborne wrote …

Hmm where exactly to start.

The best thing to do with this video, is to write down these exercises and variations as things you should never have an athlete do.

Seated box jumps are great, but forcing an athlete to perform them using that technique is going to mess up their jump mechanics more than anything.

Make sure you jump like a box squat with a wide stance and sitting way back, because that is exactly how an athlete would jump in their sport...

Try a normal jump stance (or slightly wider), going down to a box instead of back and not rocking back. Picking your feet up while rocking back in a static position cancels out the point of a seated box jump. By picking your feet up and rocking back you are going to re-introduce the stretch shortening cycle, which is what the seated box jump is supposed to remove.

Kneeling jumps are a great exercise, when performed correctly.

The purpose of these is to introduce hip speed, so the goal of the jump is to generate enough speed so your feet land exactly where your knees were.

Taking them into a broad jump isn't horrible, but most athlete's will end up face planting because they aren't able to get up high enough to get their legs in front because they are focused more on going out.

A better option is to have them stick the initial kneeling jump, and use the stretch shortening effect that it creates, to transfer over to a broad or vertical jump.

If anyone ever does box jumps with a barbell on their back, they are just asking to a) crush their face, b) blow out their spine since the body can't absorb the landing when compared to a typical squat jump, or c) severly injure themselves if they fail the jump but have no hands to catch themselves since they are holding onto a barbell.

A better idea if you want to take the arms out of the jump? Prisoner box jumps. Want to add weight? Use a weighted vest or hold dumbbells in shoulder press position (still not a great idea, but better than using a barbell).

Ankle weights... seriously? If sprinting with ankle weights is one of the worst things you can do because of how it adds heavy pulling forces against the knee and then you are trying to restabilize the knee in mid air so you can safely land on a box?

Also ankle weights focus on the wrong part of the jump. Ankle weights turn it into a focus on pulling, while jumping should focus on pushing.

A better idea would again be a weighted vest, a weighted belt, or best option would be weighted compression shorts.

Lots of stuff sounds great in theory and might work for a few athletes here and there, but if you work with athletes the first thing you have to do is ask yourself if the risk/reward ratio is worth it.

Is the chance of having an athlete dislocate a knee from ankle weights, or crashing onto a box with a barbell on his back worth the reward it will bring?

To me I say no, especially if there are smarter and better ways to get the same results.

4

replied to comment from David Claiborne

I agree with a lot of your comments. I like the seated box jump (static, no rocking) and kneeling jumps. I also thought the same thing about the barbell on the back plus ankle weights. Seems a bit sketchy. Any hesitation will end up in a messy missed jump. The weighted vest seems like a good bet. I also found the kneeling clean/snatch odd. I never heard of them prior to this video. There is some potential, but since the drive cycle of the movement is shortened and the reaction load is driven through your knees, a lot of arm bending and pulling is required to get the bar moving. I suspect the therapeutic benefit comes from the weighted jump, not the clean/snatch itself.

5

wrote …

Hmm where exactly to start? Yes, DC I agree with this, where should we start. First this is a CrossFit certification held by Westside Barbell. Many of those who attend, if not all, are coaches or athletes with prior education and experience. You are also only seeing a small clip from what was covered. All of the jumps you referenced were recommended by me for elite jumpers. Elite athletes must do things that are continually more difficult to keep making gains (There are known cases of well-trained athletes losing overall coordination and having difficulty learning new skills, also called secondary movement illiteracy as a result of undiversified strength training (Wazny, 1981) . So elite athletes many times regularly do things that people who are not elite can’t do in training to keep progressing. This is where a good coach comes in handy to know when to add these jumps in. These versions on jumps are never given to athletes who don’t feel confident in making them. These variations are a form of conjugate training, a constantly varied form of training like CrossFit utilizes.
Just so people don’t make a mistake in understanding how we utilize these movements, we classify them in order of intensity using an elaborate conjugate sequence system. This system and plyometric (shock method) was invented by Dr. Yuri Verkhoshansky. This is not opinion, it is fact proven by science. I do recommend following Dr.Verkhoshansky’s rules of overload weight and sets and reps. Some of the movement variations come from Louie Simmons.
1. Single jumps starting either standing or seated: no forward momentum or added weight
2. Multiple jumps with forward displacement: Stadium jump, Bounces and double leg jump
3. Multiple jumps without forward displacement: Box jumps and standing jumps
4. Jumps with overload: vertical jumps with barbell, consecutive kettlebell squat jumps, consecutive barbell jumps
5. Depth jumps

1.)“Seated box jumps are great, but forcing an athlete to perform them using that technique is going to mess up their jump mechanics more than anything.”
Anyone who has attended our course can tell you that we teach many variations of jumps for beginners to elite jumpers, which we have had many. Dr. Verkhoshansky, the inventor of plyometrics, published additional exercises beyond the simple drop jump, or depth jump, as some call it. These more advanced movements incorporate variations of the simple jump, such as adding forward movement, hopping on one leg, alternating landing leg, jumping multiple times, and combining running and jumping. The key to making a jump plyometric is minimizing the contact time of the feet with the ground. This is why sometimes we pick up the feet before we jump, as it is another variation from the reactive method. It is also another reason why Louie Simmons’s invention, the plyo swing, works so well. It gives us a similar response with the added benefit of an over-speed eccentric phase. By focusing on reducing landing time, the interval between stretch and contraction is shortened, creating a bigger muscle stimulation that advanced athletes need. Triple jumpers have shown in the last contact phase pressure reach in upwards of 300kg, so the simple picking up our feet will not raise any injury issues. It is recommended, though, not to do depth jump any higher than 1.5 times the height you can box jump.

2.)”Make sure you jump like a box squat with a wide stance and sitting way back, because that is exactly how an athlete would jump in their sport...”
Aside from CrossFit, I have never actually heard of a sport where people jump on boxes in competition. We box jump close, medium, and wide stance. Sometimes with our feet starting on the floor, sometimes not. Every variation that we do, we do for a reason and majority of the time not trying to mimic an exact jump in sport which box jumps don’t do anyway. I have never seen a basketball player or volleyball player bring their knees up in competition but I have seen direct correlation between increased box jumps and competitive efforts. These variations are used to make an athlete explosive in many positions. We use a wide variety of tools so we do not develop a weakness in any position. As you get efficient in one position you can create a deficiency in another. The wide stance form which you refer to with feet up does translate well into our wide stance competition squat, in which we have by formula the best men’s and women’s squats in the world.
3.)”Kneeling jumps are a great exercise, when performed correctly.”
Yes they are. In our gym I have seen the heaviest kneeling jump to feet, 275 pounds. And the highest, to a 31” box from an athlete who is 5’7”. There may be higher out there but I have yet to see it, either way this is elite for sure. Doing the variety of jumps that we utilize have helped them reach elite status in jumping.

4.) “The purpose of these is to introduce hip speed, so the goal of the jump is to generate enough speed so your feet land exactly where your knees were.”
Actually the goal of any plyometric is to improve:
1. Maximal strength, Explosive strength and reactive ability
2. Local muscular endurance and Maximal Anaerobic Power
3. Ability to coordinate movements and force efforts through properly performing the correct movement to improve an athlete’s ability in their sport. We have found it helps broad jumpers learn how to fully extend their hips and build explosive strength in their hips.

5.)”Taking them into a broad jump isn't horrible, but most athlete's will end up face planting because they aren't able to get up high enough to get their legs in front because they are focused more on going out. Then these athletes are not ready for these jumps.”
I have had too many athletes that can perform these properly to count. So you just need to train your athletes properly to be able to handle movements like this. I have seen great improvement in long jumpers from doing these. If we avoided exercises to avoid getting injured we would not do olympic lifts, rope climbs, or many of the movements we do. Training will always have a risk factor, proper training methods and selection of exercises based on an athlete’s abilities, will keep this to a minimum.

6.)”A better option is to have them stick the initial kneeling jump, and use the stretch shortening effect that it creates, to transfer over to a broad or vertical jump.”
Again one of the many variations that we use, but not limited to.

7.)”If anyone ever does box jumps with a barbell on their back, they are just asking to a) crush their face, b) blow out their spine since the body can't absorb the landing when compared to a typical squat jump, or c) severly injure themselves if they fail the jump but have no hands to catch themselves since they are holding onto a barbell.”
This is where a good strength coach comes in handy. We as coaches know when our athletes are ready for advanced movements. In my gym I have never had an athlete take a fall on one of these jumps. I don’t let them go for jumps they can’t make. And I don’t let clients who are not elite jumpers try elite movements. And if one is familiar with box jump they know that a good box jumper lands softly, so this whole crushing of the spine is just a lack of knowledge of movement. Again Westside barbell lifters have never had a back injury but they do have over fifteen 800 pound deadlifters and multiple athletes clearing 60” box jump and a recent 63.5” box jump. Other notable jumps include kneeling to 31” box, and kneeling to feet with 275 pounds on the athletes back. We use spotters when needed. Every Olympic jumper Louie has worked with have all beaten their old PRs after working with him.

8.)”A better idea if you want to take the arms out of the jump? Prisoner box jumps. Want to add weight? Use a weighted vest or hold dumbbells in shoulder press position (still not a great idea, but better than using a barbell).”
Actually we do all of these also except for the dumbbells being held in a shoulder press position, we didn’t find that to be a good idea. We do box jumps with weight vest, ankle weights, combination of both, band tension, max dumbbells to set height, or a set dumbbell weight to max height (dumbbells are by our side).

9.) “Ankle weights... seriously?”
Actually yes jumping with ankle weights. Jumping and sprinting are two different movements. With the box jump you land on top of a box so there is no hard landing like in a sprint. Also the movement and tension is completely different. Completely safe movement. Again, no injuries from this movement in the history of Westside or my gym doing this.

10.) “Also ankle weights focus on the wrong part of the jump. Ankle weights turn it into a focus on pulling, while jumping should focus on pushing.”
Actually there are two things to focus on. One, the initial push which the faster you push into the ground and the less time your feet have in contact with the ground the higher you go. This is something that Yuri Verkhoshansky (the father of plyometrics) talked about. This push with minimal time on the ground is part of why sometimes we pick our feet off the ground before we go. The second part, pulling the feet up helps athletes in sports where they need to make there hip flexors more explosive. There is also a difference between a vertical jump and a box jump. A box jump has the added athleticism of having to manipulate your body position to have optimal clearance onto the box.

11.)”Lots of stuff sounds great in theory and might work for a few athletes here and there, but if you work with athletes the first thing you have to do is ask yourself if the risk/reward ratio is worth it.”
This one I agree with. Yes, many things work great in theory and there is a risk to reward ratio involved. Louie Simmons has 5 decades of elite totals, a world record. Westide training has produced the oldest male and female to break all time world records and the youngest athlete to break an all time world record. It has also produced the highest, by formula, totals male and female, as well as more world records in powerlifting than any other gym in the world. This program doesn’t work for some people, it works for everyone.

12.)”Is the chance of having an athlete dislocate a knee from ankle weights, or crashing onto a box with a barbell on his back worth the reward it will bring?”
My gym and Westside barbell has never had this problem, and has proven, repeatedly, to produce results. I would say that if a client’s knee would dislocate so easily, they probably shouldn’t be jumping in the first place. Rather, I would concentrate my efforts on a prehab routine to strengthen this area. Or better yet, build a base for this athlete who is so unstable.
I hate to see misinformation out there, so I am glad I could clear this up.


6

wrote …

Wow Coach that was AMAZING !! There was so much information in your rebuttal,I loved it ! You truley are the best as far as I'm concerned! Thank you for all the inspiration that you give me through your articles and videos !
Joey Commisso

7

replied to comment from Marcos Ubilla

His is way old, but the two posts above are so stupid I just wanted to vent, regardless if anyone ever reads. It was specifically stated that these movements are not for athletes by the previous poster and followed up on. Sketchy and fear are not acceptable reasons not to perform any movement and your mind sets of avoiding things that have a possibility of injury based on balance, external objects or too much range of motion. You can't apply crossfit to old methods of personal training in that manner and the simple fact is, training like a pansy can only create a big swollen pansy. Do what's difficult and by the level of difficulty increase your ability and your BALLS.
Hulk

8

wrote …

Coach,
Have you ever compared the distance an athlete can broad jump standing versus broad jump kneeling? Also, any comparison of box jump versus a kneeling start box jump? Great comments and videos! Thank You! David Brewer

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