Poor landing form and lack of proximal hip stability is a concern for many of the athletes I work with. For those participating in level 1 sports such as basketball, soccer, volleyball, etc., poor movement patterns lead to increased risk for injury. This exercise is designed to work on proper landing form as well as improve lower extremity dynamic stability.
Execution: Start with a lower box height (4-6 inches). Stand behind the box on the left leg. Load the leg by performing a shallow single leg squat prior to jumping onto the box. The emphasis on the landing should be on a soft bent knee landing while sinking down into the hip (encourage hip flexion). The knee should point forward at twelve o’clock on the landing. Perform 1-3 sets of 5 -10 repetitions. It is imperative to avoid fatigue, so volume should be based on this.
Observe any frontal plane collapse (dynamic valgus) and provide verbal and/or tactile cues to correct that. It is not uncommon to see some external rotation of the lower leg, but encourage clients to keep the toes pointed forward as much as possible. Another common landing error is to remain too upright with a stiff quadriceps strategy. Finally, some clients will use a trunk strategy to maintain stability, and this causes the shoulder on the landing leg side to move outside of the knee.
Application: This exercise is an excellent training option to improve landing form, eccentric strength and dynamic stability in the entire lower kinetic chain. It also provides an opportunity to improve hip control which in turn reduces injury risk with pivoting and cutting sports. Research has shown that successful ACL injury prevention programs include exercises that work on landing form and improving strength imbalances.
1. Increase the height of the box
2. Perform the jump in place on the floor
1. Lower the height of the box
2. Perform a split squat jump (front leg on the box) if the client has excessive dynamic valgus until form improves enough to move to the single leg box jump