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Plyo boxes can offer many benefits but you may want other options. What are some alternatives to plyo boxes with similar benefits?
A plyo box is a big sturdy box or platform, generally made of wood or steel. You can use this piece of exercise equipment to do jump exercises like box jumps or resistance training exercises like step-ups, Bulgarian split squats, or box squats.
Whether you want a more at-home-friendly equipment option, you want a cheaper alternative, or you want an alternative for any other reason, these plyo box alternatives can help you train similar areas of your health.
If you have the skill required you can also make your own plyo box, make sure your homemade plyo box is sturdy enough for the exercises you plan to do.
Keep in mind that implementing these alternatives can offer benefits but like while using any exercise equipment, there is always some risk of injury. Make sure you use these equipment options in a safe way and if needed, get guidance from an expert.
1. Box squat box
The box squat is the typically weighted squat exercise but you take a break at the bottom of the movement by touching or sitting on a box. This can help with things like perfecting the squat technique.
One reason why people are interested in an alternative is that they find the plyo box weight limits somewhat lacking for heavy lifts like the box squat.
There are these pieces of equipment called box squat boxes that are made for this particular exercise. Some of these boxes have a weight limit of up to 1100 pounds (498 kg).
Additionally, most of these can be used for other exercises like step-ups and sometimes even plyo box jumps.
One thing you do want to keep in mind is that some box squat boxes can be relatively pricey. If you need the extra weight capacity, this can be worth it. If not, some of the other plyo box substitutes are budget-friendlier options.
2. Local park equipment
Having a separate piece of fitness equipment at home or in the gym that you can move around is definitely a great thing to have. Unfortunately, this type of luxury is not an option in some situations.
If there is a local park near you, you may be able to use its park benches and playgrounds as an alternative for plyo box exercises.
The upside of these options is that they are made to withstand weather and people trying to move the objects. This means they are generally sturdy enough, even for jump exercises.
There are also a few downsides. First of all, getting to one of these suited objects could take a lot of time and effort. Additionally, if you want to do exercises weighted you would have to carry these weights with you to the park.
Lastly, these local park equipment options may not have the typical height of a plyo box. This can make exercise more or less intense than desired.
Local park equipment is likely far from the ideal equipment type for plyo box exercises. However, in some situations being picky is not an option.
3. Step aerobics stepper
Step aerobics is a type of workout where you do sequences of steps with extra movement on and off a raised platform named a step platform. You can also use this piece of step aerobics equipment for other exercises.
There are a few differences with plyo boxes that could make a stepper platform a better or worse choice depending on your training goals.
First of all, a step platform is clearly different from most of the average plyo box dimensions. Step aerobics steppers are more elongated on one side and more narrow on the other. If you struggle with balance the wider surface of a plyo box may be a better choice.
Secondly, a step platform is often made from lighter material like plastic. This makes a step platform cheaper but at the same time also less sturdy and less durable.
If you plan to do step-ups with heavy weights or use the platform for something like box jumps, a good plyo box is definitely a better equipment choice.
Lastly, a plyo box is often higher but less adjustable. For step-ups you generally want the platform to be at about knee height. Depending on your height a step platform may be ideal or too low.
A benefit of step platforms is that they generally require less room to store. In this sense, they could be a decent plyo box alternative at home.
All in all, step aerobics steppers are definitely not a complete substitute for a plyo box. However, for some uses, up to some level of intensity and weights, you could use this piece of equipment as a cheap plyo box replacement.
4. Shock-absorbing workout mat
A typical plyo box exercise is the box jump. One of the reasons why the plyo box is used for this exercise is that the shock of landing in the air is softer than on the ground with the momentum of the fall.
There are also other ways to make the impact of landing softer. One of these is a shock-absorbing workout mat. As the name implies this is a mat of thick and soft material.
A benefit of this option is that you can also use it for other types of workouts like lying core exercises or as home gym floor protection. On top of that, they are often easier to store than a plyo box.
A downside is that these shock-absorbing workout mats sometimes are the same price or even pricier than certain models of plyo boxes. If you are looking for a cheap plyo box alternative this option may not be the best choice.
5. Weight bench
A weight bench is a type of padded bench without back support that is a very standard piece of equipment at most gyms.
You can use this piece of equipment to do box squats, Bulgarian split squats, and if you pick a weight bench without too much padding step-ups. Plyo boxes are also something used to do dips. Weight benches can be used in a similar way.
In theory, you could use a weight bench for box jumps but in practice, this is generally not a very safe thing to do.
Besides not being an ideal replacement for plyo boxes, weight benches can also be relatively pricey. A weight bench is more of a plyo box alternative if you are putting together a home gym with a limited budget.
The main benefit of weight benches is that they play an important role in a wide variety of powerful resistance training exercises.
If you decide to invest in a weight bench that you want to use for certain plyo box exercises you want to choose one with a harder surface. Soft padding is less stable to stand on.
6. Dip bar station
As mentioned before, plyo boxes are sometimes used to do a variation of the dip exercise. There is a more effective option if you plan to do a lot of dips.
A separate dip bar station, also simply called dip bars, are two horizontal bars with enough room below them to do the dip exercise.
These will be more beneficial for this exercise than a plyo box in the sense that your shoulders are in a more comfortable position and that more of your weight rests on your arms.
Another benefit of a separate dip bar station is that there are also other dip bar exercises for other body parts. This piece of workout equipment can also last a very long time.
The main downside in the context of this article is that a dip bar station is a replacement for a relatively specific and not very popular use of the plyo box. These dip bars don’t have a lot to do with box jumps, step-ups, Bulgarian split squats, and box squats.
7. Bosu Ball
The next piece of step-up equipment is a Bosu Ball. You can describe the Bosu Ball as the top of a stability ball attached to a flat surface.
One of the benefits of step-ups is that they train your balance and coordination while building a good amount of muscle. The Bosu Ball can be a step-up platform to put the focus of the step-up exercise more towards balance and coordination.
Additionally, you can use it to soften your landing with jumping but this may not be the best idea when it comes to balance and ankle health.
The Bosu Ball is definitely not a plyo box alternative that offers the same type of training benefits. However, it does offer a few benefits for some similar training goals.
If you want to train balance and coordination, the Bosu Ball can be a nice addition to your fitness equipment collection anyway. Besides that, you can use the Bosu Ball for a wide variety of other exercises.
A potential downside of Bosu Balls is that they can be pricier. If this is an issue, the Bosu Ball is a brand name. Off-brand alternatives may suit your needs too.