If you love bodyweight training and want to take your fitness regime to the next level, you should consider using a plyo box. Yes, this is ‘just’ a wooden box, but don’t let first impressions fool you. Plyo boxes are extremely versatile and you can have a lot of fun with them – we promise! The box owes its name to ‘plyometric training’. This training method focuses on dynamic exercises intended to increase explosive strength. This is the force that enables you to react in seconds, such as when you begin a sprint or smash a volleyball.
The plyo box can do more than this, though. You can use it for elevation and increase the difficulty of a wide variety of exercises. For our leg workout, we’ll use the box to make classic exercises like lunges more difficult by increasing the range of motion in which the muscle works. You can also set out or stack a plyo box in many different ways and work with different box heights. As a rule, a box offers three heights: 50, 60 and 75 cm, however there are also sets of boxes that come with three heights, from 15 to 45 cm. Choose the height according to your fitness level.
Get your cardiovascular system working and start with 5 minutes of easy cycling. Alternatively, do some jumping jacks, high knees and run on the spot. Move on to some bodyweight squats and lunges or try our lower body mobility exercises.
The workout consists of 4 exercises. Complete 3 sets of each exercise and focus on good technique. Rest for 60 to 90 seconds between sets. If the workout feels too easy, add two dumbbells to exercises such as step ups and the Bulgarian split squat.
|Step Ups||10-12 per leg||60-90 sec||3|
|Box Jumps||8||60-90 sec||3|
|Single Leg Box Squat||10-12 per leg||60-90 sec||3|
|Reverse Hyper||15||60-90 sec||3|
#1 Step Ups
Stand in front of the box with your feet close together. Place your right foot fully on the box. Make sure your right knee lines up with the front of your foot. Keeping your back straight, lean your upper body forward slightly and shift your center of gravity over the front of your foot. Step up, pushing off with your right heel or midfoot and extending the hips and upper body in a flowing motion. Stretch your arms forward for balance. When you reach the final position, your hip will be fully extended. When stepping off the block, take a small step backwards with your back leg and come down in a controlled manner. Complete the repetitions on your right leg before switching to your left.
Muscles: thighs, glutes, core.
Tip: your back foot is for stabilization. Don’t push off with your back leg with too much force.
#2 Box Jumps
Stand roughly two foot lengths away from the front of the box. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart and your back straight. Come into a half squat and lean your upper body slightly forward. Push up explosively with the legs, increasing your momentum with your arms and then jumping onto the box. Land softly and firmly with both feet on the box. Straighten up and step or jump backwards off the box.
Muscles: Thighs, leg biceps, glutes, calves.
Tip: Point your knees slightly outwards when you land.
#3 Single Leg Box Squat
Stand with your back near to the box. Place your feet roughly hip-width apart. Raise your left leg and lower into a squat, bending the hips and leaning your upper body forward. Squat down until your buttocks touch the box, then reverse the movement by extending the right leg and hip once more to straighten up completely. Complete the repetitions on your right leg before switching to your left.
Muscles: thighs, glutes, core.
Tip: Stretch your arms forward for more balance.
#4 Reverse Hyper
Lie on the plyo box so that your hip bones are at the edge and your upper body lies flat. Grasp the edges of the box and bend your legs to about 90 degrees. Point your knees outwards and keep your feet together. Tighten your core muscles and lift your legs until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Pause briefly at the top and consciously tense your glutes once more. Slowly lower your bent legs without changing the angle of your knees. Repeat.
Muscles: Glutes, hamstrings, lower back.
Tip: If you find the edge of the box is too hard, fold a mat and place it under your hips.
Done? Good job! Time for a cool down. Learn how to cool down properly here.
More workouts from foodspring: