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Your choice of plyo box material influences your training in a few important ways. Find out whether a wooden or soft foam plyo box is the best choice for your situation.
In general, soft foam plyo boxes are the better choice for plyo box training beginners and individuals who find exercises like box jumps with a wooden model too scary.
If you plan to use your plyo box for exercises like hip thrusts and certain stretches, a soft model may also be the better choice.
On the other hand, wooden plyo boxes like the Rogue Games Box tend to be more stable, both in terms of box and surface stability, and longer-lasting.
This makes them generally better for individuals more experienced with plyo box workouts and individuals who plan to do weighted exercises like step-ups and box squats.
That being said, there are also models that do not follow the general trends in some of these details. For example, the Rogue Foam Games Box is a soft model that has relatively good box stability too.
When choosing between wooden en soft foam plyo boxes there is no one perfect answer for everyone. Both types have their advantages and disadvantages.
You can find how they compare in some of the most important details in the table below.
|Box Stability||Good||Generally Decent|
With Good Exceptions
|Skill Level||Intermediate To|
|Weight Capacity||Varies A Lot|
|Varies A Lot|
|Price||Varies A Lot|
|Varies A Lot|
|Check Current Prices||Check Current Prices|
There are a variety of exercises you can do with plyo boxes. Your choice between a wood or soft foam model influences how comfortable doing these movements is.
Comfort is not the main goal of working out but there are definitely types of discomfort you want to avoid.
For example, if you fail a box jumps at the end of a heavy set, you could scrape your shins on the edge of a wooden plyo box. The same situation with a foam plyo box will still not be comfortable but a lot less painful.
Besides for doing box jumps, you may also want to use your plyo box to do an exercise like hip thrusts or for stretching. Again, the soft plyo boxes are the good kind of more comfortable for these things.
In short, for the things above, a soft plyo box will definitely be more comfortable. Something to note is that not everyone will encounter these situations.
Bumping against the edge of the box is not the only way plyo box exercises can go wrong. Something less likely but with more negative potential effects is that the plyo box tips over during an exercise.
Whether or not this happens depends on things like the weight of your plyo box, the plyo box weight distribution, your body weight, the weights you use, your foot placement, the exercise you do, the sideways force you generate, etc.
The most important details when it comes to choosing between a wooden or soft plyo box are the weight and weight distribution.
There are not really specific guidelines about how heavy your plyo box should be and how the weight is distributed but depending on your situation in the factors above you can lean towards one end of the spectrum or the other.
While there are exceptions, wooden plyo boxes tend to be heavier and tend to have a lower center of gravity. This makes them the more stable choice.
Something important to note is that some foam plyo boxes get their weight from some type of heavy material concentrated in the center of the box.
This is generally better than nothing at all but the higher placement of the weight is not ideal for stability.
If the plyo box tipping over is a concern but you still want a soft plyo box you want to get one with a high weight from a reputable brand. For example, the Rogue Foam Games Box.
Additionally, keep in mind that what size plyo box you get and what side you use influence stability too. For example, a 3 in 1 soft plyo box placed in its highest “setting” can get somewhat unstable.
For some exercises like weighted step-ups, box squats, and box jumps to some extent, you will put a lot of pressure on the plyo box in a relatively concentrated area.
Soft plyo boxes are typically made of a type of high-density foam with a vinyl soft cover.
This makes them more comfortable for bumping against but also gives away just a bit more than wooden plyo boxes when you put a lot of pressure on them.
You can definitely still use soft plyo boxes for exercises like weighted step-ups but wooden plyo boxes will be just a bit more stable.
As briefly mentioned before, not everyone will get in a situation where the softness of foam plyo boxes is useful.
Individuals who are more experienced with exercises like box jumps may be very aware of exactly how high they can jump. Even after an intense workout session.
On the other hand, this may not be the same for plyometric training beginners.
These individuals will likely still have a lot of moments where they overestimate how much force they can still generate or have suboptimal control of their bodies.
Additionally, just the possibility of scraping your shins against a wooden plyo box can be scary for plyometric training beginners. A soft foam plyo box can help build up confidence.
Plyo boxes can be worth it but they do require a decent initial investment. The longer you can use your piece of fitness equipment, the more they become worth their price.
The first thing to note is that individual plyo box brands can vary a lot in this area.
That being said, it is fair to say that wooden plyo boxes tend to last longer than soft foam plyo boxes.
Especially the vinyl covers with zippers tend to be a weak point in soft plyo boxes. Additionally, there are exceptional cases where the glue that holds the layers of thick foam together degrades over time.
Another concern people have is the differences in capacities between wooden and foam plyo boxes. However, it is not really possible to say that one type is generally better than the other in this area.
The differences in weight capacities of plyo boxes are something that varies a lot from model to model. Even within the wood and foam categories, there are big differences.
Most people also have some type of budget limitations or at least other pieces of fitness equipment and other things they would like to invest in.
That being said, similar to weight capacities, it is hard to say that one of these types of plyo boxes is generally pricier than the other. The individual wooden or soft plyo boxes vary a lot in terms of price.