You’ve probably seen them at your gym or CrossFit box. They come in many shapes, sizes and heights; some are solid and others squishier, but all can get the job done. We’re talking about plyo boxes.
So what job is it exactly that they do? A plyo box, short for plyometrics box, is a tool that adds another element of challenge or modification to your workout routine. “It’s one of the best things if you’re utilizing your own bodyweight,” says Bob Harper, DailyBurn trainer. “Propelling yourself up on the box, even if you’re just stepping up, you’re creating a force that you wouldn’t have otherwise.”
As their name indicates, this hollow or sometimes solid structure is used mainly for jump training. However, Harper likes to mix in push-ups, dips and even burpees over the box, one of the more dreaded moves featured in his new DailyBurn Black Fire program.
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“[Box training] hits your body in a different way, whether it’s an incline or a decline, and works different muscles,” says Harper. “By changing things up instead of just doing the same old push-up all the time, you get different benefits.”
And these moves aren’t just for the advanced crowd. While putting your feet on the box to do push-ups may make the exercise more challenging, putting your hands on the box to do the same move can actually act as a modification for those who can’t so the full movement on their own. “One thing I learned working with the clientele on the Biggest Loser is that some people aren’t able to bend forward and put their hands on the ground,” says Harper. “The box helps bring their hands up to them, whether for mountain climbers, burpees or another exercise.”
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Give the plyo box a go yourself. Get started with the moves below from Harper’s Black Fire program. Perform the circuit three times through, resting for two minutes only after finishing a full round.
Plyo Box Total-Body Workout
1. Box Push-Ups
Place your hands on either side of the plyo box, gripping the edges if that feels more secure, arms fully extended, legs extended backward, so you’re in a plank, body in a straight line from head to toe (a). Bending at your elbows, squeeze your shoulder blades together as you lower your chest to the box (b). Press back up until arms are straight again (b). That’s one rep. Continue for 10 reps total.
2. Box Jumps
Stand behind the box, feet shoulder-width apart. With your knees slightly bent, hop onto the box, both feet landing fully on the box, and stand up fully (a). Hop or step back down (b). Complete 20 reps. Note: If you cannot jump onto the box, step up onto it, one foot at a time, and hop or step down.
3. Box Dips
Stand in front of the box, facing away from it, and lower down until you’re able to to place your hands on top of the box behind you and grip it with arms fully extended. Knees should be bent at 90 degrees so your body is in reverse table top, stomach towards the ceiling. Keeping your elbows close to your body, bend your arms so your body lowers towards the ground, hovering about an inch above the floor (a). Extend your arms and raise your body back up (b). Repeat for 30 reps.
4. Burpee Over Box
Standing with your feet shoulder width apart, place your hands on the ground and hop your legs back to plank position, at the same time lowering your whole body onto the floor (a). With your hands still on the ground, using your arms, hop your feet back into your body, and jump up, arms overhead (b). Step up onto the box, then off the other side (c). Repeat for 20 reps. (Beginners, go for 60 seconds.)
5. Inchworm Push-Up
Get into plank position, hands on the ground, shoulders over your hands, legs extended, body in a straight line, with feet placed on top of the box (a). Slowly walk your hands back towards the box, bending your legs as you go, until you can’t bend them anymore (b). Walk your hands back out to plank (c). That’s one rep. Complete 10 reps total.
Want to try the full workout program? Head to DailyBurn.com and take the Black Fire challenge today.
Note to reader: The content in this article relates to the core services and products offered by DailyBurn. In the interest of editorial disclosure and integrity, the reader should know that this site is owned and operated by DailyBurn and that DailyBurn recently released a new program led by Bob Harper.