Plyometric exercises performed with a plyo box can be an excellent way to improve power, explosiveness, and overall athleticism. Many people haven’t seen how much they can really use their plyo box besides the standard box jump or stepping exercises. In fact, this simple mechanism can help you attain virtually an entire full-body, explosive workout.
If you don’t have a plyo box, check out our blog on what to look for when shopping for one.
Here are 10 plyo box exercises that will help you on your way to a great workout, along with the instructions on how to do them:
1. Box Jumps
This is easily the most popular and well-known plyometric exercise. The straightforward purpose of box jumps is to increase the explosive power in your entire lower body, enabling you to jump higher. However, you’ll also find that your running power and speed improves. As Runner’s World references, box jumps help you build the muscles that improve your stride and better your starting acceleration.
To perform a box jump, stand facing the box and jump directly onto it, landing softly in a squat position.
Then, step down or jump back down and repeat.
Step-ups are a less intense exercise than what most see or expect out of plyometrics, but they are very helpful in gaining or regaining mobility while also building cardiovascular and core strength. This exercise is also less risky than a box jump, and you’ll definitely start to feel it after several reps.
To do it, place one foot on the box and push through your heel to step up onto it.
Then, step back down and repeat, alternating legs.
3. Bulgarian Split Squats
Bulgarian split squats are less of a plyometric workout and more of a body-weight exercise. They are a great way of isolating your quads one at a time, building endurance in your lower body while also improving your balance. Make sure you’re doing these correctly.
To prepare to do a Bulgarian split squat, stand facing away from the plyo box. Then, put one foot back behind you and rest it on the box so that the top of your foot lies directly on the surface near the edge.
Perform a lunge motion, lowering your back knee toward the ground, then push back up. Repeat the motion for multiple repetitions on the same leg before switching to the other. Alternating legs with each repetition will greatly decrease your pace as you’ll have to reset your stance every time.
4. Box Push-Ups
Box push-ups are helpful in building or regaining upper body strength if you’re having trouble maintaining your muscles for standard push-ups. Not only that, but they make it easier to switch up your push-up stance to focus on different muscle groups.
These ones are pretty easy to set up for. Simply place your hands on the box shoulder-width apart, lower your chest toward the box, and push back up. Continue this motion for multiple reps.
Of course, if you are looking for a way to use your plyo box to increase the intensity of your routine, just face away from the box and get into a push-up position on the ground, then raise your legs and place your feet on the box. Then, perform the much harder push-up for multiple reps.
5. Box Dips
Box dips, often called tricep dips or reverse push-ups, are an excellent body-weight exercise to improve strength in your triceps, shoulders, and pectoral muscles. For obvious reasons, you’ll need to have a plyo box tall enough to keep you off the ground in the low point of your dip.
To perform this movement, position your hands shoulder-width apart on the edge of the box with your feet extended in front of you.
Keeping your legs straight, lower your body by bending your elbows and then push back up. Repeat the motion for multiple reps.
6. Box Toe Taps
Box toe taps will provide you with some low-level cardio. You can intensify this exercise by either quickening your pace or increasing the height of the box you’re working with.
To do it, stand facing the box and quickly alternate tapping the top of the box with each foot. Repeat this motion for eight a set amount of time or a number of reps.
7. Box Sprints
Box sprints are an intense cardiovascular exercise designed to help you increase your agility and speed. Do these to become a faster athlete and have quicker movement in your legs and feet.
Box sprints can vary a bit, but here’s the most basic way to do it. Stand facing the box and place one foot onto it with your heel coming off the edge. Balance yourself on the balls of your feet.
Then, in a quick jumping motion, switch feet where your other is one the box the other is on the ground. Continue to alternate your footing as quickly as possible. Avoid bouncing too much as the movement should be as smooth as possible.
8. Lateral Box Jumps
This is an alternate form of box jump that specifically improves your lateral explosiveness. These jumps will strengthen the muscles in your lower body, specifically your quads and hamstrings.
To perform the exercise, stand beside the box and jump laterally onto it, landing softly in a squat position.
Jump off to the other side and repeat the action, alternating directions. You can also repeat by jumping off to the same side as before, using one side for multiple reps before repeating the action on the other side.
9. Box Pistol Squats
Box pistol squats will intensify the load on your quad, glute, and hamstring muscles as they support your entire body weight on one leg.
Stand facing away from the box and extend one leg straight out in front of you. Lower down into a squat position on one leg, keeping the other leg extended in front of you, and then push back up.
Repeat the motion for multiple reps, then change legs and continue.
10. Box Burpees
Box burpees take the high-intensity movement of standard burpees and add an explosive edge to them. This exercise pretty much works out everything, being a cardio, endurance, and body-weight exercise altogether along with a plyometric ending.
As plyo box exercises go, this one is somewhat complex. The exercise is a sequence of movements as follows:
- Stand facing the box
- Drop into a squat
- Kick your legs back into a plank position
- Perform a push-up
- Jump your feet back up toward the box
- Explosively jump onto the box, landing squarely onto it
Wrap It Up
Remember to start with a box height that matches your fitness level and gradually increase the difficulty as you become more comfortable and proficient with each plyo box exercise. Always prioritize proper form and listen to your body to prevent injuries.
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