The Exercise That Makes Your Legs Appear Powerful…

The Exercise That Makes Your Legs Appear Powerful…

Let me start off by saying, that I am not blaming you for this; it is not the hockey player’s fault.

This misused hockey exercise comes straight from the trainers who post videos of players jumping up onto boxes that are 3+ feet high.  I have even seen video of NHL players doing the same off-ice exercise and I am guessing this is where some of you got the idea.

Again, you are trying to do the right thing; you were just given the wrong message.

So today we will talk about Box Hop Ups for hockey training and how to do them properly to build powerful legs.

Box Hop Up For Hockey

What? It is an off-ice hockey exercises used to develop explosive power in the legs and help the player learn to apply their force very, very quickly.

Why? The box does two things, it reduces the landing impact and it gives the athlete a target to hit and some consequences (read: face plant, scraped shins) if they miss that target.

How?  Here is where it get’s tricky.  When you put the box there, the players just focus on getting their feet on top of the box.  Think about it, this can be done two ways.

  1. The player can get his/her centre of gravity 3-feet off the ground, or…
  2. The player can get his/her centre of gravity 1-foot off the ground and pull their knees up under their chin to hit the top of the box.

One of the options requires a 3-foot vertical jump, which is pretty rare and the other option teaches the athlete to get really good at pulling their knees up to their chin, but I am not sure how that translates to hockey.

To me, unless the athlete is displacing their centre of gravity, there is absolutely no benefit to jumping onto a 3-foot high box compared jumping onto an 18-inch box.  In fact, I think we can coach full triple extension in the jump and proper landing mechanics better on the lower box – without the athlete worrying about the consequences of an epic fail.

If you don’t see the video in the player above, just click in this link

So, better mechanics and lower risk are the benefits of lower box hop ups.  There is nothing stopping the athlete from jumping as high as they can, we will often cue them to ‘imagine this box is twice as high’ and that seems to work great.

When? We use the box hop up in the earlier phases of our training when we want to minimize the landing impact so players can focus on explosive jumps and proper landing mechanics.  In later training phases we will use different jump variations that require more control and deceleration.

I hope that helps you understand the box hop up a little better – again, I am not blaming you for misunderstanding the purpose of the exercise, you were trying to do the right thing.  Happy training.


hockey training program

The Step-By-Step Off-Ice Training Program For Skaters.