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Plyometric Box Exercises

Plyometric Box Exercises

Many different names for an essential tool in every fitness room where functional training and CrossFit are practiced.

And whether you want to learn more to enrich your training, or you want to deepen your knowledge because you want to become a Cross Training instructor, this guide to the plyometric box will surely come in handy.

The plyometric box – also known as plyo box, box jump, plyometric box, or more simply, as a cube for functional gymnastics – is the tool that is used to do plyometric exercises.

Plyometric training, also known as jumping training, is used to increase muscle strength and elasticity, but also to burn fat and improve coordination, posture and balance. While the jump is important, the plyometric exercise is important for the landing after the jump.

Extraordinary benefits that meet the expectations of athletes, sportsmen, fitness lovers, and people with the aim of taking care of their physical shape.

Through plyometric exercises, in fact, we can train the muscles of the whole body at maximum power – which we can also define as ‘explosive’ because it is expressed in short intervals of time – rapidly passing from a muscle extension to muscle contraction (lengthening and shortening).

This type of training is performed with bodyweight or with different equipment. And in this guide, we see how the plyometric box works, its characteristics, and the exercises that can be done.

Used mainly to perform jumps, or plyometric leaps, the wooden tool is recognized by its cube or parallelepiped shape in different sizes.

How does it work?

Nothing more versatile than a tool that can take on different guises.

Those who want to train at home without the classic gym plyo box, in fact, can not only build it themselves but replace it with any other support – bench or step – as long as it remains stable and functional to the type of training.

Basically, the operation of the plyometric box is very simple: it is mostly used for jumping training, with elevation from the ground to reach the box at different heights. But not only.

What exercises can be done with the plyometric box? With the box you can perform different exercises:

  • Sit squats
  • step-up / step down (ascents and descents)
  • preparatory for push-ups (push-ups)
  • DIP
  • abdominal exercises
  • stretching
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Use in CrossFit

In CrossFit – an integral part of functional training – the plyometric box is used to perform high-intensity exercises such as the box jump.

An exercise of this type, which we will discuss shortly, works on strength, power, and speed, through the extension and rapid contraction of muscles.

Plyo box exercises are an integral part of WODs ( Workout Of the Day ) in a CrossFit training program, and have several goals:

  1. strengthen the muscles of the legs (glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves) and abdominals
  2. increase heart rate
  3. improve core stability and posture
  4. increase muscle elasticity and resistance to effort.

Dimensions and Measurements

What are the dimensions and measurements of the plyo box?
There are several – small, medium, and large – depending on the person and the intensity you want to achieve during training.

The standard dimensions used in American crossfit competitions are 50.8x61x76.2 cm. The most common sizes on the market are 75x60x50 cm, 60x50x45 cm, 40x35x30 cm ., But there are also some with dimensions of 60x50x30 cm; 76x61x51 cm; 80x90x95 cm.

By rotating the box on one of the three sides, you can use different height settings to choose the one that best suits your workout.


The material of the plyometric box is wood assembled in several layers to form resistant panels of various thicknesses, which can be birch plywood, OSB wood, or other types of wood, as long as it is resistant.

The internal cross reinforcement, which each box should contain, serves to ensure maximum stability, resistance to stress, and sustainability of the weight during the workout. The most solid and robust can even tolerate weight of 200 kg.

To prevent any accidental bumps and injuries during exercises, there are also boxes covered in soft foam and vinyl (PVC). In this way, the landing surface will be softer and safer, especially for those who are not yet too experienced.

Functional Exercises with the Box

1. Box Jump

Box Jump

The most common exercise, and also the most difficult within the Cross Training circuits, bears the same name as the tool: box jump.

Jump up – Jump down is the jump mode that is performed to go up and down from the cube with both feet (together).

Told this way it might seem simple, a saying and a fact, but in reality, you have to get trained in this exercise, to get to the best performance and obtain the extraordinary results it promises.

How do you perform the Box Jump? After choosing the most suitable side to set the right height of the box, you position yourself with your legs shoulder-width apart and with your torso erect.

The jump is performed by flexing the legs to load the thrust, aided by the movement of the arms carried backward and then pushing them forward.

Landing on the box must take place with the soles of the foot resting well.

A variation of this exercise is the Jump up – Step down, that is the jump on the box with both feet but with the return to the floor without jumping.

2. Step-Up / Step-Down Box

Step-Up and Step-Down Box

This exercise does not involve jumping, but a repetitive movement that simulates climbing up and down a step, first with one leg and then with the other.

Excellent for training legs, hips, buttocks, and core, it is advisable to follow these precautions for a better training performance:

  • choose the side of the box that reaches knee height
  • repeat the movements at a high speed, without slowing down
  • keep your glutes contracted as you go up, avoiding swinging your leg.

3. Push-Up Box

With this exercise we perform pushups to train the muscles of the shoulders, biceps, triceps, and back with a push-up different from the standard, and which we could define as “inclined” given the use of the plyometric box.

The exercise is performed by placing the hands on the box, placing them in line with the shoulders, and keeping the elbows close to the torso, without opening them to the outside.


The abdomen and buttocks should be contracted and the feet together as the elbows slowly bend and the chest flexes towards the box. To return to the starting position, it is pushed backward with an extensor movement of the shoulder blades.

4. Box Calf Raises (heel lift)

With this exercise we train the calf muscles, using the plantar flexion movement with foot extension.

Since this is a slow-twitch muscle, it is advisable to perform a high number of repetitions if you want to achieve these results:

  • increase the power of the legs
  • improve running speed
  • streamline your ankles.

How is Box Calf Raises performed? The exercise is performed by keeping the feet closer to each other than the shoulders, with the heels protruding from the edge of the box and the weight pushing onto the forefoot (the front of the foot).

It raises the toe of the foot, keeping the position for 2 seconds; then the heel is brought under the edge of the box for a 2-second stretch.

5. Box Dip (push-ups)

Box Dip (push-ups)

With these multi-joint exercises, we work all the muscles of the upper body: from the arms to the triceps, from the chest to the shoulders up to the abdominal part.

But above all, the flexion and extension movement is effective for toning the triceps and eliminating/reducing the unsightly effect of the flabby inner arms.

How is the exercise performed? The position is the reverse of that of the push-ups. To perform the exercise, place your hands on the edge of the box, with an opening equal to the width of the shoulders and with the legs extended.

Your elbows should stay close to your torso as you lift yourself up by placing your weight on your heels and bending your arms to bring your body down to where your shoulders come up to elbows.

With this fifth and final exercise, we have come to the end of our cube guide to functional gymnastics.

If your goal is to make the best use of the plyometric box, surely with these indications you are already well underway.

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