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Thread: Crossfitters--Need Advice (HELP: Learned Fear of Box Jumps)

  1. #11
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Shop Now
    Quote Originally Posted by TheyCallMeLazarus View Post
    At a CF box I go to occasionally there are 2 things that may help:
    -- Stack up the tumbling pads to the same height. My gym has a competitive college gymnast in there as well as 3-4 guys that do MMA practice, so we have enough to stack 7 feet high. I am assuming most gyms have enough for 20 inches.
    -- Ticker tape. We have a lot of that really thin yellow tape they use for races lying around. I know a woman that stands up two barbells (locks the weight in with a clip) and creates a sort of limbo line to jump over.

    Either way, you don't bite it if you don't make the jump. I use the ticker tape myself to do the real high stuff.
    We don't have enough mats to be able to stack up to 20 inches although it's actually a great idea. Wish we had enough mats.

    With the ticker tape thing--are you saying that you just jump over the tape? (I'm having trouble visualizing the contraption you're describing.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Neckhammer View Post
    If you ain't bleeding you ain't training!!! Bwarrrr!

    haha... just kidding. I actually have no use for plyometric work for anyone that's not in athletic competition, but if you REALLY wanna get back to it then don't give yourself a whole week to contemplate it. Get right back on the horse so to speak. Your going to be tentative at first, but that's a good thing. Good reflex to make sure you are paying attention this time. Only repetition will cure you of your fear. Just work for quality repetition.
    Hah, I don't REALLY want to get back to it at all, but I also don't want to quit crossfit just because I'm afraid of box jumps. I just don't want to be such a wimp...

    Quote Originally Posted by SophieScreams View Post
    I too ripped my shin on the box last year. Talk about a blood bath, yeesh...

    And maybe I'm talking crazy here, but would shin guards be okay to wear? I say wear whatever PPE you need to safely get though a WOD, and screw the haters/pretentious purists.
    Quote Originally Posted by bostonwolf View Post
    This might sound silly but if shin injuries are the main fear (and hell yes they hurt) then go buy some soccer shinguards. (Just saw the poster above said the same thing.)

    I can't imagine anyone in the box having a problem with it.
    Shin guards are a great idea. Just bought some on Amazon. Hopefully, my fear will magically go away when I'm wearing them! (I doubt it, but one can hope!)

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    I am looking at a lovely scar on my left shin from box jumps, acquired back in Jan. It was max height box jump day. I missed my first attempt at 32" and ate shit on the corner. Second attempt resulted in the same. Trust me when I say knee socks offer zero protection. I've thought about shin guards myself, I would be interested to hear how they work for you.

    As for the fear, I definitely had a mental block against box jumps following that. I cherry-picked WODs and skipped any with box jumps for a solid couple months after. Finally came back around, and can do 20" jumps well enough, although if I stare at the box too long between jumps it gets harder, my mind starts wandering back to getting hurt again. Had a WOD recently where women were told to do 24" RX, frankly I ignored it and did 20". I say do what you need to do to get back on the box, but don't let anyone bully/force/coerce you into doing jumps before you are ready. Try a lower box, or doing step ups until you are comfortable. If your fear is that great, try a stack of bumper plates. The edges are at least rounded, and a stack of plates looks far different from a box, that might help you get over the mental hurdle.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Central Florida
    Quote Originally Posted by diene View Post
    ...How did you know that I often look at the edge? I'll be sure to look at the center of the box from now on (that is, if I ever manage to convince myself to do another one)...
    LOL- Just a SWAG (Scientific Wild Assed Guess) I reckon LOL
    Probably because I did it too, at least initially.
    Then my "other" training kicked in.

    We (people in general) have a natural tendency to look "at" impending danger, or anything they perceive may harm them.

    As both a police motor officer, and a civilian and law enforcement motorcycle instructor, understanding how to overcome this "focus" becomes mandatory to your safety and survival.

    When confronted with an obstacle, most people will look at the "problem" (the obstacle) rather than the "solution" (the way out).

    By doing so, hand/eye coordination kicks in, and "you'll hit what you're aiming at" every time
    By using the same theory, but this time "focusing" on your escape route, you have a better chance of avoiding the crash by virtue of the same hand/eye coordination, combined with some skill/luck of course.

    Applying the same theory to the box jump, you may perceive the sharp wooden (jagged/splintered?) edges of the box as a threat to the safety of your shins (lol). As such, you focus, in some cases subconsciously, on the edge.
    When you jump, your feet will likely land pretty much where you're looking.

    The added "fear" of injury will likely keep you from going all out, and the focus being on the edge closest to you, limits your distance. As a result.....Wham!! You're now shaving off the top three layers of skin

    By focusing on something more distant, be it the center of the box, the other side if the box, or the other side of the room (careful with this one though), you stand a much better chance of landing in the center of the box.

    Also, by focusing "down" at the edges, your body has a tendency to move that direction.
    Head up, eyes forward (or slightly down at the center of the box), will usually keep your body moving forward, rather than shortening your jump.

    Of course, fatigue will have to factor in somewhere.
    Sometimes, all you can do, is scale the jumps to fit you!!
    I never did the Rx height, and in the end, did about 50/50 jumps and steps.

    Finally, I've seen a lot of CF types that wear scars and injuries as some sort of a badge, an accomplishment.
    That's just BS!
    We have to work, eat with, and be able to be functional with the extremities, hand and feet that we have, and beating them to death, just doesn't make sense.

    It's my body, and no one is going to cause me to do something to harm myself as a "badge of honor."

    Hope something above helps.

    Hang in there!


  4. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Austin, TX
    This is my area of expertise. I started Crossfit last year with a giant, impenetrable fear of box jumps. I had never even done one, or hurt myself doing one, or anything; it was an innate mental block. I definitely had the physical ability to jump on a 20" box, and I could even do 20" box jumpovers. I just couldn't jump on to the box. What would happen is that I could jump and land no problem with my feet separate--so, leaving the ground with one foot then the other, and landing with one foot then the other, more like a leap. I even got good at faking it, adjusting my feet midair so they landed at the same time and the coaches wouldn't notice I was taking off with one foot. But trying to make my feet leave the ground at the same time was like trying to make my body jump off a cliff. Wasn't going to happen.

    Here are the things that did not work:

    1. Coaches standing around watching and encouraging, trying to get me to jump properly, during a WOD. The mental block just grew and grew until I couldn't even jump two-footed.
    2. Continuing to do my fake two-footed jumps during WODs, hoping no one would notice. A coach noticed and called me out. And plus, it was reinforcing the Wrong Way, which is always stupid to do.
    3. Continuing to attempt the Rx 20" box during WODs. I'd just end up standing and staring at it.

    One day at the gym the mental block got so bad that I started freaking out even watching other people do box jumps. I would gasp and wince every time someone took off and landed. I think in my brain, I just picture landing wrong in such a way that my face hits the edge and it turns into the curb-stomping scene from American History X. Anyway, that day I was so freaked out mentally that I couldn't even jump onto two stacked plates on the floor (that's like 6 inches). It was ridiculous. I decided then and there that this wasn't going to continue.

    I went to Lowe's and for about fifty bucks bought myself the components to make my own plyo box. I built a 12" wooden box, then built three 3-inch risers that attach with velcro so they stay firmly on the box while I'm jumping. I could practice with the 12" box, then add height in 3-inch increments as needed, all the way up to 21".

    Once the box was built, I just practiced at 12 inches. I did a "grease the groove" type thing where I went outside several times a day and just nailed a couple jumps and came back in. If my mental block kicked in and I couldn't jump (I know as soon as I step up to the box if it's going to happen or not), I didn't attempt a jump, or do it the Wrong Way, I just walked away and came back later. A week of this got me to the point where I could comfortably and reliably nail 12" at the gym every time.

    Then I found out that an upcoming competition was going to include box jumps. I only had about a week to get myself landing 20" jumps perfectly. I ended up getting the jumps on a single day, and what I did sounds totally ridiculous, but it worked:

    I did 3 12" jumps. Then I walked a little ways away, laid down, closed my eyes, and cleared out all thoughts. I just made my mind empty out. I did this peaceful stillness for a couple of minutes, then stood up and WITHOUT THINKING AT ALL, not allowing any thoughts to enter my mind, walked over to the box, put the riser on, and landed the 15" jump. I got three more. Then I laid down again. When I went back to the box I landed three more 15" jumps, then put the riser on and landed it at 18".

    I repeated this jump, lay down, jump, lay down method over and over until I was landing the 21" jump. I walked away, went inside for a couple of hours, came out and did a few more jumps. I greased the groove throughout the rest of the day, and the next day I was getting the 20" box jumps at the competition.

    Now, this isn't to say I'm totally cured--we don't do box jumps all that often, and I don't make myself practice enough, so usually when I step up to a box at the gym, the block is there and I can't jump. But it's a LOT easier to break through, now that I know I can hit the box, and actually have it in my muscle memory. I just stack some plates on the ground in front of the box, stand on the plates, and jump to the box from that height; I remove a plate each jump and usually within three jumps I'm hitting the box from the ground as normal.

    Making the plyo box was easy, you just need a couple tools (and you can get the guy at Lowe's or HD or wherever to cut all the wood for you). I highly suggest making a practice box to get yourself back in the groove. Another thing that works to push through a block when it appears is to drape a towel over the edge of the box. For some reason, covering up the edge makes it easier for my brain to let me jump onto the box.

    Good luck! Conquering box jumps was my personal Everest! I posted video of my first 21" box jump to my gym's Facebook page when I finally got it, and everyone was so excited--that's how weird and infamous my fear of box jumps was!

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    I can't bring myself to attempt a 20" box! Unfortunately we've only had 14" as an alternative until someone made a 15.5" box (random size) which I can do. I did say they need more in between sizes! But it makes it hard if you've only got 20" as an option! I would try stacking plates if there's nothing lower than 20". I did that one time when there weren't enough small boxes!

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Richland, WA
    Your fear of box jumps is completely justified. Very high risk of injury for very little benefit.

    Come to think of it, that could apply to Crossfit in general.

  7. #17
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Thanks, everyone!

    Badkty & heatseeker--I'm so glad that I'm not alone on this!! I thought that I was crazy for having this fear of box jumps. Everyone else at my box seems to not have any problems.

    Badkty - Yikes, you attempted 32" jumps?! I don't think anyone/anything can get me to attempt a 32" jump. Max effort box jumps be damned. I think 20" is going to be my max, and I'm okay with that--just as long as I can do the 20" ones. If I could see the workouts before they happen, I think I'd avoid box jump days too. But I go in the morning, and they don't post the workouts until a little later in the day--mid-morning, after the class that I go to.

    I bought some shin guards. They're kind of tight, but I think they'll work since our WODs are always pretty short. Not sure if wearing them will make me less scared though. The fear has become quite irrational.

    The problem with jumping onto stacked plates is that--the surface area is so small, and that freaks me out too. So we have two kinds of boxes--rectangular ones and ones that are tapered at the top. The tapered ones, I think, are actually easier in a way, but they scare me more because the area at the top is so small.

    Heatseeker--I think I'll try stacking plates on the floor and jumping from the stacked plates onto the box like you did and removing plates incrementally. I've gotten to the point where just looking at the boxes and thinking about box jumps (when we're not even doing box jumps) causes my adrenaline to spike. Seriously, I'll be at the gym doing other things, and every once in a while I'll look at the row of boxes, like they're some kind of menace. (It's like what OD said about people having a tendency to look at things that they think are threatening.) It's really weird.

    So my globo gym has some boxes--just one set of three boxes of different heights. I think the middle one is a 20" one. These are the kind that's covered in rubber or plastic or whatever that material is that mats are made of. At first, I thought that they'd be wobbly on top, but I tried them yesterday, and they're quite firm and sturdy on top. It took me a bit, but I was able to jump onto the 20" ones (after ascertaining that the edge was not sharp and that even if I missed, it wouldn't hurt that much). I wish my crossfit gym had that kind of box too. *Sigh*

    OD - I definitely don't like crossfit injuries and scars! Seriously, I wish they used safer boxes.

  8. #18
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Have you ever thought about doing step ups? You get the same leg work without risk of falling on the box. Much easier on the knees and Achilles too. Unless you are a regionals/games level competitor they really won't hurt your score/time and might even help because it will allow you to catch your breath.

  9. #19
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Jimmy, I think my coaches won't like it very much if I started stepping instead of jumping. They'll pester me to jump since they know I can. I don't really care that much about my score/time and am definitely no competitor. But I also want to do the workout correctly. That said, I do step down since I read that most of the risk of ankle injury is caused by jumping down.

    Sent from my LG-VM696 using Marks Daily Apple Forum mobile app

  10. #20
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Central Florida
    Shop Now
    Posted by Heatseeker:

    For some reason, covering up the edge makes it easier for my brain to let me jump onto the box.
    Good point.
    Covering the part of the box that triggers the "danger" response in the brain is a great Idea.
    The rough edges always concern me as well.

    Diene: The rubber covered boxes at your globo-gym are a great idea. Any way you can post of a picture of one of them sometime?

    There are so many ways to correct the "problems" with the boxes themselves, but most crossfit boxes don't (or won't) "see the problem" in the first place

    Quote Originally Posted by diene View Post
    Jimmy, I think my coaches won't like it very much if I started stepping instead of jumping. They'll pester me to jump since they know I can. I don't really care that much about my score/time and am definitely no competitor. But I also want to do the workout correctly. That said, I do step down since I read that most of the risk of ankle injury is caused by jumping down.
    Diene: let me stop you right there if I may.
    There are a few things you (and the rest of us as consumers) have to remember about crossfit or any other fitness routine.

    1) You pay the bill! - While you're of course there to get fitter, stronger, whatever your purpose, you still have to remember that it's you that pays the bills to keep the box open! While you're paying for their "expertise" and "guidance", you have to ask yourself if you're getting what you're paying for? What are the coaches credentials?
    The Level 1 certification, is not that difficult to obtain, just expensive. That aside, what are their creds? Their background? What do they do in the "REAL WORLD."

    Are they certified on a national level by an accredited group as a personal fitness trainer?
    Do they hold "advanced" crossfit certification?
    Do they have college level training in sports physiology, physical therapy, or other medical/fitness related training?
    Are they a licensed or certified professional?

    Or, are they former gym rats that decided to throw money at a level 1 certification and open a box?

    These are all good questions that deserve an answer.
    Do this in a quiet or at least semi private setting out of respect to the coaches.
    If you're going to place your health and safety in their care, not to mention throw lot's of your hard earned money at them, you deserve an answer. If they can't or won't answer the questions, leave...quickly!

    The two that I had issues with at my box, were an engineer and insurance salesman in "real life."
    Both came from a standard weightlifting/body building or sport (foot ball for example) background.

    The female coach however, had a background in sports, and had worked (and still does) as a gymnastics coach/trainer.
    Her credentials (I don't recall them at the moment) were good, and her personality/attitude with the students was outstanding!!
    She was constantly walking around the box, assisting, not belittling, those with problems.

    So, don't be afraid to ask. After all, it's your money, and your safety!

    2) SCALE your workouts for YOU!- that's what crossfit is all about. Scaling the workouts to allow people with injuries, restrictions, etc., to complete the workout and build to a higher level.
    Unless you're planning on competing (even there, there are some scaled events), there is absolutely no sense in hurting yourself while doing crossfit or any other exercise program. Soreness is an expected byproduct, along with it's associated pains. Injury means you fouled up somewhere. Ask me how I know (LOL).

    Belittling and embarrassing/admonishing a student in front of others, is generally counter productive.
    This is not the military or the police academy! Frankly, it was somewhat counter productive then as well.
    You are paying GOOD MONEY to train and be trained by a professional. They need to conduct themselves as such.

    Worse case scenario, continue to STEP UP on the boxes as suggested, until you're "ready" to jump, and ignore the coaches.
    Yes, I said ignore them! You need to be both psychologically as well as physically ready before attempting the effort. Building up to that "readiness" is part of the program. If the coach can't see this, then they're not much of a coach!

    Again, don't be afraid to turn to them and say, I'll jump when I am ready to jump!
    The absolute worse that can happen, is they'll ask you to leave. That won't happen because they need the membership to keep the doors open.

    I heard one of the above mentioned male coaches at my box, once state that "people doing alternate exercises (rowing instead of running for example), caused a disruption in the 'workout routine'." What he failed to take into consideration, was those rowing, for whatever reason, couldn't run at the time.

    His thought was to "push through the pain", and while I fully support that theory in most applications (I'm prior military and retired law enforcement, so that's my mindset), I do not support it when someone is coming back off an injury.

    Don't let a bad coach ruin your health or your crossfit experience.


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