I distinctly remember the day I tried to jump the height of a table. I stood in front of it, trying to psyche myself up to do it, but knowing I’d fail and bail as soon as my feet left the ground.
It’s a common feeling, in fact, it’s a basic instinct wired deep into our organisms called self-preservation.
Self-preservation is a tendency to avoid injury and maximise chances of survival. As a failed box jump could mean anything from a scratch to a face plant and beyond, our instincts kick in to help prevent ourselves from being harmed.
“Isto é CrossFit.”
— CrossFit (@CrossFit) November 10, 2020
So, if we’re wired to not want to perform that slightly higher box jump, how can you get over the fear of box jumps?
1. Accept the fear
“Many athletes are ashamed to accept it, yet it is perfectly normal to be afraid,” says CrossFit L3 coach and Self Mastery founder, Juan Acevedo. “Most importantly, the fear always comes back. As you progress, you’ll be able to perform higher box jumps, but there’ll come a point where the height you’re attempting will bring back exactly the same fear as day one.
“It’s important to accept and normalise this fear and realise it’s a way for our bodies to signal: ‘be careful, pay attention now!’”
2. Gradually increase the height
“The difference between a 20’ and a 24’ box might not seem like much, but it is huge,” says coach Acevedo. “If you’re trying to increase your max jump, add height in the smallest increments possible. You won’t run out of energy.”
Source: Photo courtesy of CrossFic Inc.
3. Think outside the box
“Boxes can feel pretty intimidating to many athletes. Sometimes, all you have to do it start with a stack of plates and add height as required,” explains coach Acevedo. “Once you’ve reached the box’s height try switching.
“It might sound silly, as you’d be jumping the same height, but it gets athletes over the mental block!”
4. Choose heights you’re comfortable with
“During metcons, only use boxes you feel comfortable jumping up to,” recommends coach Acevedo. “Athletes partly feel this fear through lack of confidence – and confidence is built through delivery. It’s important to accumulate as many successful reps as possible because if you constantly fail you’ll dimmish your confidence and the fear will grow.
“Don’t resort to step-ups, even if that means lowering your box’s height and not RX’ing the workout. During metcons, focus less on height and more on successful jumps with good technique.”
5. Shin guards?
“Many of my athletes have finally decided to wear shin guards for box jumps,” says coach Acevedo. “They look like football players, but they no longer have accidents and can jump without fear. If you’ve scraped your shins more than once during box jumps, get over the public embarrassment and wear shin guards.”
Go and achieve new heights!
Source: Photo courtesy of CrossFit Inc.
Learn more about Dr Juan Acevedo’s methods under Self Mastery Training.