Consider these tips for plyo box protocols |

Consider these tips for plyo box protocols

We utilize plyo boxes for a plethora of purposes including the intended use, which is to jump up onto the boxes promoting plyometric and power training, or stepping onto the box concentrating on muscular strength training.

If the use is for plyometric jumps, we should consider several criteria before choosing a box height, including the height of the client, lower body lever length, vertical jump capability, physical limitations and what that client needs to achieve. There are many different box heights. The key to determining what box height is right for you will be highlighted this week. As always, prior to beginning any exercise program, consult your physician.

Tip No. 1 — When performing plyometric jumps onto and off of a plyo box, rehearse the movement pattern from the floor first and master it. Even performing plyometrics training from the floor requires significant attention to detail. So, before adding the tool, be a pro at the movement pattern from the floor. Once mastered, you may attempt the jumps from a low box height. Regardless of your height, lower body lever length or vertical jump capability, you should still master the skill at this height before attempting a greater box height. Gradually increase the height of the boxes. If you progress to a greater height and begin to experience spinal, hip, knee, or ankle discomfort, consider regressing to the previous box height.

Tip No. 2 — Use the same protocols as box jumping in terms of choosing box height when stepping. Master the movement pattern from the floor, then attempt a low box height. See how that feels to your entire body before attempting a greater box height. In general, there is little benefit to performing step up drills on a 36 inch box if you are 60 inches tall. It is unlikely that you will be able to maintain proper spinal, hip, knee, and ankle alignment during the step up or be capable of landing with control. If you need more of a challenge, consider adding a sand bag around your shoulders, or holding onto a dumbbell, while stepping up and down on the lower box height.

Tip No. 3 — From a biomechanics perspective, when performing step-ups on the box to train the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes and core, step up on the box and drive through the top heel allowing the opposite leg to trail behind. As you either perform a squat from this position onto the floor with the trailing leg and top leg on the box or actually step off the box with both feet, land with control, avoiding rigid legs.

Jackie Wright is the owner/manager of Mountain Life Fitness in Granby. She may be reached at her website at, her email at

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