Box Step-ups vs. Box Jumps
You all have grasped my attitude of the jump vs. the step-up, but, I would like to clarify why I have such a preference for the jump.
First off, I have to say, if the reason for stepping instead of jumping is a concern for your ability to safely complete a jump, this is not what this post references. This is about the decision to complete a work out stepping up rather than jumping because the needed recovery time between reps is lessened and more reps are able to be completed. If you are still working towards your first Rx box jump and are using the step-up as a strength gaining technique, keep it up!
The amount of force needed to push yourself off of the ground onto the top of a box is tremendous. Power is force times velocity. The ability to rebound from a box jump and launch into another rep with minimal time spent on the ground increases your velocity. While controlling for force (body weight and height of box) the best way to generate more power is to increase your velocity as much as possible. More power generated is greater gains in the glutes and hamstrings which translates directly to literally everything else we do in fitness. One can simply not replicate the velocity generated from a jump with a step. We severely limit our gains when we choose to step-up rather than jump.
I understand that box jumps are incredibly tiresome and the allure to get through the workout or to score higher in the workout by doing steps is tempting. But, we don’t go to the gym to score better in a WOD, we go to the gym to get stronger.
When in competition like The Open, I encourage you all to do whatever necessary to score as many reps or finish as fast as possible. If this means stepping up, so be it. But on a random Tuesday afternoon at CrossFit Full Bore we should be trying to get as strong as possible. And physically speaking, if you choose to step instead of jump, you are choosing to be weaker than you could be.
May the Ravens of Odin guide you.