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Exercise: Iso-lateral Vertical Box Jumps

This lower body iso-lateral strength / speed exercise is designed to train symmetry in the strength / force profile of the in the soleus-gastrocnemius-achilles complex and the large musculature in the push-off leg while improving joint mechanics in the hip, knee and ankle.

This exercise utilizes triple flexion of the ankle, knee, and hip and pre-loads the stretch-shortening-cycle in the Achilles-Gastrocnemius-Soleus complex, providing a post-activation potentiated response, allowing for a greater elastic potential and energy transfer through the athlete's leg musculature.

This strength / speed exercise should be included in all speed or lower body power training programs, particularly athletes requiring  linear acceleration, sprint speed and running economy.

Primary Muscle Groups: Gastrocnemius, Achilles, Soleus, Trapezius, Deltoids, and the muscles of the Arms.  The hip flexors and other major muscles (Quadriceps, Hamstrings, Gluteals) of the legs and the deep musculature of the abdomen and low back are also active in the execution of this exercise.
Technique Ques: The athlete positions one foot on top of a jump box (box height should be set so that the athlete's leg is in a position of 90o knee and 90o hip flexion. The aim of the exercise is to isolate and develop strength in the leg on the box (the push-off leg).  The athlete begins the exercise by simultaneously pushing through the heel /middle foot of the foot on the box, and pushing through the forefoot of the foot on the ground, rapidly extend the knees and hips.
The athlete should coordinate opposite arm-leg swing to assist with the vertical transfer of power through the legs. In this push-up phase, the athlete should avoid any forward glide in their push-off knee - the knee should not slide forward past the toes.
In the landing phase of the jump, the athlete drops back into hip and knee flexion in the leg on the box, and into slight flexion in the ground contact leg, by triple flexing the ankle, knee and hip.  The athlete should concentrate on landing on the toes/forefoot, while transferring their body weight into the posterior kinetic chain by pushing the hips posterior, while coordinating the simultaneous flexion of the flexion of the ankle, knee and hip. The athlete can achieve this by concentrating on loading the Glutes and Hamstrings.
Options for Progression: An athlete can progress the difficulty of this exercise by increasing the number of repetitions completed, by increasing the height of the box, by increasing the number of sets completed, or by changing the rest ratios between sets.

Additional variations of the Bench Step-Up:
Bench Step-Ups with Rapid Hip Flexion
Bench Step-Ups with Weight Plates


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This website is not intended to provide medical advice whereby any and all exercise suggestions or recommendations contained within should not be taken as such. Please review the PTSI Privacy Policy and Authorized Use Policy and consult your physican before engaging in any activity described in this website.
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