What is a plyo box? Most of us have seen these at the gym and didn’t really know what its primary use is. A “plyometric” box can be used in Crossfit workouts, exercise classes, and by athletes, but anyone can benefit from them when used correctly.
This article explains what a plyo box is for, how to use a ploy box, the different types of plyo box sets, plyo box exercises, and the many benefits of using them.
What Does Plyometric Mean?
One definition states that plyometrics “is any exercise that involves repeated rapid stretching and contracting of muscles such as jumping and rebounding to increase muscle power”. It’s an exercise that basically exerts a large amount of force on a particular muscle group in a short amount of time.
What is Plyometric Exercise?
Plyometrics or “plyo” for short is a type of training that utilizes power movements that are designed to increase speed and strength.
To implement plyometrics properly, the secret is explosiveness. Any exercise that requires this fast and sudden movement can be considered plyometric.
Because of the explosiveness of this force, your body adapts to these movements by getting stronger and faster. Plyometrics are not just for athletes, but anyone can do them.
Plyometric exercises include box jumps, broad jumps, clapping push-ups and pull-ups, sprints/running, and kicking as long as they’re done in an explosive style of movement. A plyometric exercise forces the muscle to have a fast response time.
What Is A Plyo Box?
Plyometric boxes are cube shaped and come in various heights and sizes, and can be made out of almost any kind of material.
Black vinyl squares with a soft foam inside are seen at gyms the most, but these boxes can also be metal, plastic, or wood. Many times they are stackable, they can be adjustable or foldable, and they make many different 3-in-one combos.
When talking about plyometric workouts, box jumps are the first thing that most of us think of. This because the “plyo box” is seen to be used frequently in almost any gym setting.
When doing box jumps, your body is required to use explosive force and power to make it onto the box. Of course, many other exercises besides box jumps can be considered plyometric depending on how the movement is done.
Benefits of Plyometric Training
Many trainers use these boxes to help their clients achieve specific goals in other sports. Plyometric training can make you a faster runner in races, a higher jumper in basketball, and more efficient in tennis or soccer.
Another beneficial use for plyometrics can be to make improvements in weight training. These explosive movements will help you increase your bench press, squats, and many other weightlifting exercises.
How To Use a Plyometric box
First, start out with a low height until you get to know your jumping levels better. Squat down and engage your muscles while tightening your core, getting ready for a big push. As you jump, swing your arms back and bring your knees up at the same time.
Try to land in a deep squat position. Your feet should land as softly as possible using your knees to control this movement. Stand up from this squat to complete the movement.
You can then drop down, letting your bent knees absorb most of the impact. A recommendation for dismounting is to gently drop one foot at a time, to help relieve stress on the knees.
How to Buy a Plyo Box
What type of plyo box is right for you? As I mentioned, plyo boxes come in all shapes, colors, sizes, and materials. Besides this, there are also large differences in price and durability.
You may need several different plyo box heights and sizes depending on your fitness goals. For high jump variations, you will need boxes that are stackable to increase the height as much as possible. These stackable boxes can increase in small increments so they can be adjusted as you become stronger.
For affordability, you may want to look for a 3-in-1 plyo box to minimize you many you have to buy. If you need stability, look for one with the widest base. If safety is important to you, look for a soft foam plyo box. Resin and steel plyo boxes are best for durability. Below is a short description of each one.
Foam Plyo Box
This one is a favorite kind for many athletes and is very popular in gym atmospheres. However, they tend to be more expensive and they take up the most amount of room, so they may not be ideal for a small home gym. However, they do come in 3 in 1 space saving combinations.
The soft or hard foam is usually wrapped in durable black vinyl and has handles for moving around because they are a bit bulky. This classic style foam plyo box is very sturdy and works great when stacking to different height increments. Because of its soft foam, this is the least likely kind of plyo box to prevent injury.
When purchasing a set of 4, you will not only have four different heights, but they also stack to make many height combinations.
Standard Wood Plyo Box
Wood plyo boxes tend to be both sturdy and inexpensive. There are several different types of this style of plyometric boxes. There is a 3 in 1 where they can stack inside each other or the 3 in 1 type that becomes different heights depending on which side of the cube you use.
If you have plenty of room, you can simply buy several different size boxes, one for each height that you need. Then, there is the stackable wood plyo box which consists of several smaller boxes that can be stacked into many height variations. However, in wood, this may not be the most stable.
If you going to build a plyo box and you are not a welder, this is the material that you will be using. Many people make these for their home Crossfit workouts. They can be made into any one of the plyo box styles including stackable.
Stackable Steel Plyo Boxes
These metal plyo boxes fit inside of each other so they don’t take up a lot of room, and they’re fairly inexpensive. These are made of fully welded solid or hollow steel frames. They aren’t stackable one on top of the other but can be purchased in higher sizes.
This is a stable, sturdy, and durable way to go. The platforms are solid and wrapped in a non-slip surface or rubber matting. The way they stack all into one works well to store out of the way or in the corner.
Plastic Plyo Box
Plastic may sound cheap but are made of compressed molded resin plastic. These are heavy duty, durable, stackable, and lightweight. The resin plyo box platform has the texture molded into the top, so it will never wear out.
Adjustable Height Plyo Box
Several companies make an adjustable plyo box which will save a lot of room since on “box” can adjust to several heights. An adjustable plyo box uses a pin and hinge system and easily adjusts to 4 different heights.
They are heavy duty and durable, made with a steel frame. The adjustable plyo platforms are covered with a textured, nonslip grip. These adjustable units fold down flat to make a very compact plyo box. This is by far the lightest and most space saving plyo box type.
3-in-1 Ply Box
Several of the plyometric boxes that we have discussed to this point are also 3 in 1 boxes. This type can come in foam, wood, or metal. 3 in 1 plyo jump boxes are an excellent choice for taking up less space and the cost. This space-saving plyo box may be the best alternative for Crossfit workout at home.
A 3 in 1 foam plyometric box has different heights depending on which end that you set it on. Some boxes may not be stable when turning it oblong. Also, some of these 3 in 1 plyo boxes may not be safe to stack, depending on the brand.
The 3 in 1 wood plyo boxes work the same where it will have different heights depending on which side of the cube you use. Metal and plastic plyo boxes don’t usually come in a 3 in 1 design.
Power Rack Plyo Box
It’s called a weight rack step-up attachment. If you do have a rack, this is a durable and space saving choice. It’s the most adjustable and compact type of step-up exercise box.
How To Build a Plyo Box
What Is a Plyo Box Conclusion
Plyo box workouts are a quick way to build speed, endurance, cardio, and power. Plyometric exercises like this are also used to help athletes better for other sports.
A plyo box is primarily used for “box jumps” as well as other conditioning exercises. These workout boxes come in various sizes, shapes, heights, prices, and materials.
Choosing the correct one depends on your fitness levels and the goals that you want to achieve. Some other considerations when looking for the best plyo box set include price and the amount of room available.
Plyo boxes are easy to use whether its Crossfit workouts for beginners or more experienced gym goers.
If you have any comments or questions on what’s the best type of plyo box for you, please leave a message below and I will respond.