Have you heard about this heat wave in southern California? It’s been over 100 degrees in my next of the woods for the past week. Good times. Welcome to September! The ridiculous heat thwarted my workout plans the other day. I was planning on doing my final stair workout before my next race on a new-to-me public stairway in the Hollywood Hills (that ends down the street from a big time celebrity’s home!), but I didn’t wake up early enough to go before it got too hot. And it got too hot at, like, 9am.
So, I had to improvise.
Instead of exercising outdoors, I went to my wonderfully air-conditioned gym. I started with 21 minutes on the elliptical. Then I wanted to work my leg muscles, which is what I would’ve done at the public stairway. So, I gave myself a challenge: how high could I do box jumps?
I’d never done box jumps before Labor Day, when I was inspired to do them while replicating Apolo Ohno’s stair workout. They’re tough, but they work all the muscles in your legs, plus your core. Don’t know what a box jump is? Here’s an tutorial, courtesy of the YouTubes:
The group fitness room was empty and available, so I set up shop there. I had the room to myself, except for a woman stretching in the far corner. I pulled out a step platform and a big stack of risers.
A step platform is 4″ high, and each pair of risers adds 2″. I started with 6 pairs of risers, which made my starting box jump height 16″. My goal was this: Do as many sets of 15 box jumps as I could, while adding a pair of risers in between each set.
My first set of 15 were slow, because I was relatively new to this, and I wanted to make sure I had good form. Because that first set was exploratory more than anything, I did my next set of 15 at the same height, but at a faster clip. Then I started adding risers.
I did 15 jumps at 18″, then 15 more at 20″. Then I added my 9th set of risers, and did 15 more at 22″. OH! One thing I did differently from the dude in the tutorial is that I stepped down after each jump, as opposed to jumping down. This exercise is extremely high-impact, and stepping down seemed like a good way to cut out some of that impact.
It started to get difficult when I added my 10th set of risers. That put me at an even two feet. Those 15 jumps really challenged my balance, but I did it. Not nearly as fast as I was doing them at the beginning, but I finished the set.
So I added another set of risers. 11 sets total. 26″. This proved to be really difficult, but I did all 15, even though a couple times I had to really catch myself so I wouldn’t crash to the ground. Because it seemed like I was getting precariously close to injury, I decided that was enough. I bet I could do one or two box jumps at an even higher height, but that wasn’t my goal. My goal was to do sets of 15, and doing 15 of something is a lot different than doing 1 or 2!
I was super happy with how I did. A step platform on top of 11 risers is pretty freakin’ tall! See?
Seven sets, with 15 reps in each set means I did 105 box jumps. Woohoo!
Later that day, I climbed a few flights of stairs to get out of an underground parking garage, and I definitely felt it. Man, I was sore. And it felt great.
Keep it up, David!
PS – I also learned that step platforms and risers are recyclable. Good to know!
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