Second in our series of fitness tips from Star Wars’s most active characters is the scarlet-and-black martial arts master Darth Maul. His explosiveness is a handy trait to have when it comes to nailing box jumps in your workout, so we asked trainer Rob MacDonald of Gym Jones to tell us how to do it.
“You don’t need to use a huge box to achieve maximum explosiveness” says MacDonald. “When you take your stretch reflex out of the equation, your leg muscles have to work harder to land a 30cm jump. Start the movement by squatting down and holding the position for a second – don’t bounce. Then explode up and land on the box with your legs straight if you can.
Do broad jumps – an excellent functional movement – too. “You’ll go further if you concentrate on jumping up as well as forward. Place a small plate or water bottle on the ground in front of you and aim to leap over it. Clench your glutes before you leap for extra power.”
If you’re jumping for maximum height, don’t squat all the way down. “Do a quarter squat, think ‘fast arms’ and explode upwards,” says MacDonald. “The goal is 60cm.”
If you need a warm-up before trying box jumps, try British Military Fitness’s Revenge of the Sit to strengthen your quads in preparation for leaping.
- Stand about 60cm away from a wall with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Lean back against the wall and slowly slide down on your back until your knees are bent 90°.
- Hold for 30 seconds, take a break and repeat three times.
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From 2008 to 2018, Joel worked for Men's Fitness, which predated, and then shared a website with, Coach. Though he spent years running the hills of Bath, he’s since ditched his trainers for a succession of Converse high-tops, since they’re better suited to his love of pulling vans, lifting cars, and hefting logs in a succession of strongman competitions.