Plyo boxes can be helpful pieces of fitness equipment but only if they are in the right size range. Find out what height you should get for different movements.
To get precise personal estimations for the best box jump height, you can visit a local gym or film yourself jumping as high as possible 10 times in a row next to something where you can easily determine your jump height.
More general recommendations include a 20″ – 24″ – 30″ (50.8 cm – 61 cm – 76.2 cm) 3-in-1 plyo box for fitter individuals, especially males.
Individuals who are only somewhat in shape and some fitter individuals, especially females, can start with a 16″ – 20″ – 24″ (40.6 cm – 50.8 cm – 61 cm) 3-in-1 plyo box.
Shorter individuals, heavier individuals, and plyometric training beginners may initially need smaller plyo boxes.
To do plyo box step-ups you want a height where your upper leg starts at least horizontal, preferably higher than that, as long as you can do the movement in a safe way. This height comes down to about how long your upper leg is.
For other plyo box exercises, the recommendations vary a lot.
When in doubt, it is typically recommended to get either an adjustable plyo box or a 3-in-1 plyo box. This way you can choose different heights and build up as you get fitter.
Plyo box height recommendations for box jumps
Box jumps are one of the most popular uses for a plyo box. In this exercise, you simply jump on top of the box.
The height of the box definitely matters a lot because failing the jump can be painful and because not pushing yourself enough will lead to slower plyometric gains.
That being said, most people definitely want to start a bit lower when in doubt about the right height. Plyo boxes can increase vertical but only if you can actually use them without scraping your shins with every jump.
If you want to get a precise height recommendation for you personally you have two main options. First of all, you can go to a local gym with a plyo box to try out at what height you can do 10 box jumps in a row without an issue.
Secondly, you can film yourself jumping as high as you can 10 times in a row right next to something like a brick wall where you can easily re-watch the video and measure out how high you jumped.
There are also more general recommendations for gym owners, people who want to gift a plyo box, etc.
For fitter individuals, especially men, a 20″ – 24″ – 30″ (50.8 cm – 61 cm – 76.2 cm) 3-in-1 plyo box is typically recommended.
For individuals who are only somewhat in shape and some fitter individuals, especially women, a 16″ – 20″ – 24″ (40.6 cm – 50.8 cm – 61 cm) 3-in-1 plyo box is typically recommended.
Shorter individuals, heavier individuals, and plyometric training beginners may also be better off with lower heights.
If you have no idea about the vertical jump capacity of yourself or whoever will use the plyo box, you generally want to start with 3-in-1 plyo boxes or adjustable plyo boxes which have built-in height adjustability.
Plyo box height recommendations for step-ups
Resistance training plyo box step-ups are not at the same popularity level as box jumps but are still done relatively often. How high your plyo box should be for this goal is more straightforward.
More specifically, the dimensions of the plyo box should make it so your upper leg is at least horizontal when your foot is on the plyo box. This height comes down to about how long your upper leg is or higher.
You could initially need a plyo box that is slightly lower to get used to step-ups in terms of balance but most people should be able to work up to the guideline above.
The reason for this guideline is that a bigger range of motion for your muscles is generally more effective for muscle growth and strength progress.
At least as long as you can stay balanced and can do the step-ups in a safe way.
Plyo box heights for 7 other exercises
Besides the options above, there are a variety of other plyo box exercises to choose from.
Even if box jumps and step-ups will be your main choices, these other height guidelines could influence your decision between one size or the other for your plyo box workouts.
1. Bulgarian split squats
Bulgarian split squats are an exercise where you lean with one foot on a plyo box behind you and squat down with the front leg.
For this exercise, you want your plyo box to be at about knee height or higher. You want to put a lot of weight on the front leg but still be able to go through the full range of motion.
2. Box squats
Box squats are simply weighted squats where you pause at the bottom of the movement by resting on or touching a box with your butt. This can help with things like squat technique and squat depth awareness.
When it comes to the best plyo box height for this you can go a lot of directions. There are both high box squats and low box squats. These will be around knee height but can vary.
3. Hip thrusts
In hip thrusts, you lean with your upper body against an elevated object, here a plyo box, and raise your hips. This exercise is typically done with a barbell or other weight resting on the hips.
You generally want your plyo box to be at about knee height for hip thrusts.
This makes it so your body is in a horizontal line from your shoulders to your knees at the top of the movement. That way the weight stays in place easily.
4. Decline pushups
Decline pushups are a pushup variation where you elevate your feet with something like a plyo box.
By doing this, the movement allows you to challenge your muscles more and you focus slightly more on your upper chest and shoulder muscles.
For decline pushups, you don’t want your plyo box to be too high to avoid the movement becoming a pike pushup instead. You can use a plyo box up to slightly higher than your arms are long.
5. Cardio step-ups and shuffles
You can also do more cardiovascular-focused plyo box HIIT workouts like low step-ups and side shuffles. These do work your muscles to some extent but a lot less than some of the other exercises.
In cardio step-ups and shuffles, the main goal is moving fast with an extra twist. To do this you will need a relatively low plyo box, around half the length of your lower leg.
6. Feet-elevated pike pushups
Another pushup variation involves raising your hips enough so that the movement becomes more of an upside-down shoulder press.
Elevating your feet on something like a plyo box allows you to make the exercise more challenging on your shoulder and tricep muscles.
The height of the plyo box for feet-elevated pike pushups mostly depends on your strength and skill levels. You can do pike pushups starting with your feet on the ground all the way up to a handstand pushup.
7. Elevated plank variations
There are a variety of plank variations, for example a Copenhagen side plank, where you elevate your legs to make the exercise harder on the main target muscles.
In most elevated plank variations, a plyo box that is about as high as your arms are long will be the most challenging.