Shortly after Jordyn Peters, Auburn’s new defensive back, proved he could nail a 54-inch box jump (that’s 4.5 feet, or the height of the average 10-year-old), he said, “I probably could have gone higher, but my legs were dead from my workout.” Since most people can’t jump over a box of raisins after a hard workout, we’ll give him a pass.
Impressive feats of athleticism like Peters’ aren’t attributed to a single factor, which is why you don’t see professional athletes who can only do one exercise well. “I have a 40-inch vertical, but it takes a combination of athleticism,” he says. “You have to be able to jump high, but also pull your hips up to get your feet on top of the box. My workouts are designed for explosion. I do a lot of power cleans for hip mobility, a lot of squats, and a lot of calf raises.” So if you want to develop massive hops, you might want to start with a well-rounded routine, similar to Peters’ powerful program.
Low Box Jumps
Peters typically starts with low box jumps, performing a few sets of seven to 10 reps, focusing on exploding off the ground as quickly as possible with each jump.
Power cleans effectively develop total-body strength, explosive power, and mobility through the calves, hamstrings, and hips. Try three to five sets of just three to four repetitions per set, using as much weight as you can handle with good form.
Peters currently squats twice a week — one day doing three to five sets of eight to 10 reps, and the other day loading on the weight to perform the same number of sets, but with four or five reps, to maximize strength gains.
Regular ol’ calf raises are perfect for getting warmed up before working on jump height. Peters typically does about five sets of 20 reps.
At the end of the day, it’s about practice and genetics. “As my granddad says, you can only do as much as you can do, and everybody has a limit,” Peters says. “I might be at my limit, I don’t know, but most of it is God-given.”