Plyo Box Buyers Guide
Plyo Boxes are a super versatile piece of gym equipment, not to mention you’ll feel pretty badass using one. You can use plyo boxes for a wide variety of exercises and to be honest they make a good seat when you’ve trained your heart out! Jokes aside, the main reason you want to have one of these slick bits of kit in your garage gym is to train your muscles explosively, which helps increase their strength and endurance ability. This response to Plyo Box training allows you to run faster, jump higher, and change direction quickly. These attributes improve performance in any sport that involves running, jumping, or kicking. However, they also have great carry over to the everyday athlete, from running to catch the bus, going down stairs or stepping off of the kerb onto the street. From the humble step up to the insane burpee to box jumps there’s plenty of exercises to help you burn a tonne of calories and stay lean.
Types and Styles
Different plyo boxes have different features and certain boxes will be more user friendly to beginners (and their shins) than the seasoned expert. It’s for this reason that plyo boxes come in different shapes and sizes and are made of different materials.
You might be thinking a box is a box is a box but there are some different types of boxes that you’ll find on the market!
3 in 1 Plyo Box
This is a practical box because due to it’s rectangular design it can be rotated for jumping at different heights. This is great if you’re going to be having multiple users of different athletic ability using the box. Made of a wood frame covered in a foam outer layer with a vinyl non slip covering. In all honesty, these are not only great for beginners but do the job for the seasoned pro as well.
Wooden Plyo Box
This style of box is durable but it’s actually our least favourite. Take one misstep on these and the ‘shinjury’ you’ll get will give your shins PTSD for years to come.
Plyo Box Set
Often included with this type of plyo box are 3 separate boxes with heights of 30, 45 and 65cm. Consisting of a wooden interior, foam outer layer and vinyl covering they’re a durable and popular type of plyo box. These are great for group training environments because they can be separated thanks to velcro fastening straps and used by multiple people at the same time. You can also guarantee that at least once in your lifetime you will witness some hero or gym bro stack them together and try to jump on top of mount boxmore.
Typically these sets come in sets of four to six. They feature an open frame design which means they can be stacked on top of each other for convenient storage. We would consider these the dinosaur of the plyo box world, however they do the job, they’re heavy duty and they’re stable. Mainly used for pro athletes.
This soft style of plyo box is perfect for the beginner. It’s a combination of a closed foam cell with an outer foam layer which is encased in heavy duty vinyl. You guessed it, it’s safe and for many this takes away the fear of shinjury.
Size And Weight
Size is important because it will factor into the overall weight of a box, the rectangular boxes tend to be heavier than the humble cube. If you will be constantly moving your plyo box around, consider the weight of the box you are looking to purchase.
Typically plyo boxes are made of a combo of steel components, wood, foam and vinyl. You’ll want to make sure if you’re purchasing a foam plyo box that the foam is high density as this will help avoid sagging. Steel frames that feature on the stackable sets are more sturdy but come with a higher risk of injury.
In our humble opinion a wood and foam covered plyo box with a tough wearing non slip vinyl covering is one of the best combinations. They help reduce the risk of ‘shinjury’ but still possess tough wearing characteristics. In the wooden plyo boxes make sure that there’s an internal framework for increasing the stability of the product.
If a plyo box is heavy you will have to expend a bit of energy to move it. In this instance you have to think of the end users, if you’re clients are going to struggle to move a cumbersome and heavy plyo box they may not enjoy that process. It’s for this reason that some gyms tend to use the wooden plyo boxes with hand holds.
Anti slip material is important so be sure to double check the surface you’re going to be jumping onto is durable, tough wearing and non-slip. For obvious reasons this helps avoid injury from slipping off of the surface but also helps with gaining balance immediately after jumping onto the box.
This is the why behind the what part? Who is going to be using at and what for? Wanting exercise, agility and power training? The 3 in 1 box is always a winner, they also tend to be the combination of inner wood box with foam outer layer and non-slip vinyl cover. If in the gym environment consider the box that will withstand repeated use at a high volume.
Our first recommendation is to invest in an electric drill if you're building a flat pack plyo box, it will save you a lot of time and tears! As far as recommending a box, we tend to advise people towards the plyo box with a wooden core, outer foam layer with the hard wearing no-slip vinyl cover. When it comes down to it we always put safety first and this one ticks all of the boxes. Couldn't help that pun, it literally wrote itself.
As with any new type of equipment you need to trust the process. Take the time to learn how to use the product properly so that you’re executing the exercises properly to get the most out of your workouts. As always ensure that you’re using your plyo box in a safe manner, in a safe environment. Things to consider are the roof height of the space you’re working out in, as well as the flooring the box is stacked on. Be sure to check the floor is a stable and non-slip surface. As we’ve previously mentioned plyo boxes are a fantastic training tool, they’re fun versatile and tough wearing. If you’re looking for some inspiration we put together this ‘4 Move Plyo Box Workout’ to get you started!
Simon has a Bachelor of Human Movement, is a certified FMS trainer and has worked in the fitness industry since 2003. Simon started his fitness journey as a trainer with iNform Health and Fitness before moving into commercial radio and then back into fitness with Bodyism in the United Kingdom and Australia. A career highlight was being one of Daisy Ridley's personal trainers on Star Wars IX - The Rise Of Skywalker.