Versatile pieces of fitness equipment, step boxes can be used at the gym, at home or at your favorite outdoor workout spot. Step boxes can be adjustable or they can be fixed at a certain height. Adjustable boxes offer more flexibility and options, but fixed boxes are more stable. Whichever type of step box you use, you can design an effective, exercise plan.
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Becoming More Explosive
Step boxes are most often used for plyometric training, which involves explosive and rapid muscle contractions. Box jumps are a popular plyometric exercise. Stand in front of a step box. Drop down into a squat by bending your knees and pushing your hips back. Powerfully propel yourself onto the box by extending your hips and knees. Land softly on the box, immediately bending your knees to absorb the shock. Using a higher box will make this exercise more difficult.
Side-to-side box jumps stress lateral movement instead of forward movement. Stand to the side of the step box with one foot on the box. Pressing through both feet, jump up and over the box, landing to the opposite side. The foot that was on the box should now be on the floor, and the other foot is now on the box. Alternate back and forth in a controlled but rapid movement.
Many strength exercises can be done with a step box. For example, you can perform incline push-ups with your hands on the box and your feet on the floor. For a more challenging exercise, do decline push-ups with your feet on the box and your hands on the floor.
Lunge step-ups hit your thighs and glutes. Position one foot on the step box and the other foot back behind you. Drop down into a lunge with the back knee just a few inches off the ground. Press through the front foot to bring yourself into a standing position on the box.
Perform dips off a step box to work your chest, triceps, and shoulders. Sit on the edge of the box and place your hands next to you. Slide your butt off the box. Bend your elbows, lowering yourself toward the ground. When your upper arms are parallel to the floor, press back up.
Working on the Core
A fundamental core exercise is the plank, basically the top position of a push-up. Your hands and toes are on the floor, and your body is a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles. With a step box you can position your hands on the box and your legs behind you. You can also reverse the move with your feet on the box and your hands on the floor. In either version, add a twist by pulling your right knee to your left elbow. Alternate your legs in a slow, controlled manner.