If you’ve recently bought a plyometric box, or your gym just added one you might be a bit curious as to what it is that you’re supposed to do with it. You might have seen some people jumping on it, or off it, or as is the case in most gyms – sitting on it while talking to their friends!
In this article we are going to pick out five exercises that you can perform using a plyometric box, and then help you to organise them into a short workout that you can follow next time you get a chance to use one.
Exercise #1. Dumbbell Box Squats
Stand with your feet wider than shoulder width apart and your calves resting against the plyometric box, turn your toes out slightly. Push your chest out and hold the dumbbell to your chest with your hands holding the top (as if you were praying – called a goblet grip). Take a deep breath and then squat down, sitting back until you find yourself resting on the box, don’t drop onto it but maintain control throughout. Pause for a second and then stand back up, pushing your hips forward until you are standing fully upright.
You can make this exercise more difficult by using two dumbbells or by using a barbell. Alternatively you can make this exercise easier by performing it with no weights at all.
Exercise #2. Box Jumps
Stand facing the box with feet about shoulder width apart, you should be about 1-2 feet away from the box. Bend your knees and bring your arms back behind you. Jump onto the box swinging your arms forward as you do so. Land on the box quietly with complete control throughout, when you land you should pause and then carefully climb off. Don’t jump off and then jump back on like you see some people doing.
You can adjust the difficulty of this exercise by changing the height of the box, a taller box will be more challenging while a lower box will be easier. Don’t try to jump too high too fast as this is the easiest way you will ever find to injure yourself in a gym (other than turning the treadmills up to max speed and jumping on).
Exercise #3. Depth Jumps
This exercise is an amazing way to build your explosive jumping power, particularly useful for basketball players or volleyball players who need to repeatedly jump for rebounds or blocks. Stand on top of a plyometric box and drop off it, land on both feet and immediately jump straight up into the air. Don’t jump too far away from the box in the first movement, you’re just dropping to the floor in front of you.
Exercise #4. Depth Jumps into Broad Jumps
This exercise is structurally very similar to the last one, and it’s great to progression from the last one into this one during a workout. You stand on a box same as last time, and drop down (again, exactly the same). But this time when you reach the floor you jump forward as far as you can rather than jumping up. This is a broad jump and again it will help to build power in your legs.
There are actually multiple variations of this exercise, instead of jumping you can go into a sprint, or you can jump over a hurdle, or jump over a hurdle and then go into a sprint. You can customise the exercise to fit your needs or recreate a part of your sport. For example a hurdler would really benefit from a depth jump into hurdle into sprint as it recreates a race situation.
Exercise #5. Dumbbell Step Ups
This exercise is definitely a change of pace from the last couple, it’s not a plyometric exercise but a strength building exercise. Hold a dumbbell in the goblet grip that we learned in exercise 1. Place one foot on the box and the other foot on the floor. The box should be at a height that allows both feet to be flat on their respective surfaces.
Place your weight on the front foot and lift your body up so that your other foot can end up on the box as well. Stand straight up on the box, and then climb down keeping the same foot in place on the box. Perform 10 reps (or whatever rep range you are aiming for) with your front foot on the box, then swap feet. Your front foot should never leave the box until you’ve finished. You can make this exercise easier or harder by adjusting the weight or not using the weights at all.