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10 Plyo Box Exercises That Aren't Box Jumps

Box jumps are a brutal but awesome exercise to build power, explosiveness, and coordination. However, they're far from the only thing you can do with a box. (If you want to do box jumps but are terrified, these box jump tips can help.) This simple piece of equipment can up the ante on just about every bodyweight exercise out there. Not to mention, they can freshen up a stale gym routine and—literally—flip it on its head. 

For proof, check out these 10 creative box exercises from Jessica Glazer, a trainer at Performix House in New York City. (Also check out her cable abs workout and guide to strengthening and stretching your lats.) She serves up five upper-body and five lower-body moves that you can perform as a circuit for a total-body burnout, or steal individually to incorporate into your current rotation.

No box in your gym? Luckily, you can sub a bench for most exercises (just make sure it's stable and there's enough room for your feet/hands).

How it works:  Do 8 to 12 reps of each exercise. If performing as a circuit, repeat the entire routine three to four times. If performing each move on its own, try three to four sets.
You'll need: A plyo box that's about 20 inches tall or knee-high.

Upper-Body Box Exercises

Triceps Dip

A. Sit on the edge of a box with hands on the edge next to hips, fingers facing feet. Walk feet out until legs are straight, balance on heels, and straighten arms to lift hips off the box to start.
B. Bend elbows straight backward to lower body until shoulders are in line with elbows.
C. Press into palms to straighten arms and return to starting position.

Decline Slow Mountain Climber

A. Start in a plank position on palms with toes on top of the box, about 6 inches away from the edge.
B. Lift the right foot and draw knee in toward chest, engaging core and holding for 2 counts. Don't allow hips or shoulders to move. 
C. Slowly return right foot next to left and repeat on the opposite side. That's 1 rep. 

Decline Plank Around the World

A. Start in a plank position on palms with toes on top of the box, about 6 inches away from the edge.
B. Walk hands to the right, travelling around the box with the upper body and allowing feet to pivot while staying planted on the box. 
C. Go halfway around the box (or as far as possible), then reverse directions to return to starting position. Maintain a straight line from heels to head throughout the movement.

Incline Plyo Push-Up

A. Start in a plank position with palms shoulder-width apart on the edge of the box and feet wide, forming a straight line from heels to head.
B. Bend at the elbows to lower into a push-up position.
C. Press through the palms to explode, pushing chest off the box and fully extending arms.
D. Land softly with palms back on the edge of the box, immediately bending elbows to lower chest with control into the next push-up.

Face Melter

A. From a plank position on palms with toes on the edge of the box, walk hands toward the box until hips are almost overhead and knees are bent to start. 
B. Without moving upper body, tap the right foot to the floor, then the left. 
C. Quickly hop the right foot back up onto the box, then the left. That's 1 rep. (Do each set alternating which foot starts.)

Lower-Body Box Exercises

Step-Up Reverse Lunge

A. Stand facing a box with feet together, toes about 6 inches away. 
B. Step the right foot back into a reverse lunge, lowering until both knees form 90-degree angles. Draw the right arm forward and the left arm back in a running motion.
C. Press off the right foot to stand on the left foot and immediately step the right foot up onto the box (leaving a few inches between heel and edge), switching arms so left is forward and right is back.
D. Press into the right foot to stand on top of the box, driving left knee up toward chest. Carefully step left foot back onto the floor and immediately step right foot back into a reverse lunge to begin the next rep. Complete all reps on one side, then switch sides and repeat. 

Bulgarian Split Squat

A. Stand about 2 feet away from the box, facing away. Lift the left foot and rest toes on top of the box, keeping hips square and left knee pointing down.
B. Bend right knee to lower into a lunge, keeping weight centered between feet and without letting the right knee move too far forward past right toes.
C. Press into the middle of the right foot to stand, squeezing the right glute. Complete all reps on one side, then switch sides and repeat.

Lateral Step-Up

A. Stand directly to the left of the box. 
B. Step the right foot sideways onto the box, keeping foot parallel to the edge and pumping left arm forward in a running motion.
C. Press into the right foot to stand on the box, drawing left knee up toward chest and switching arms to drive the right arm forward.
D. Slowly bend the right leg to carefully step the left foot back down onto the floor. Pause without removing the right foot from the box, then begin the next rep. Complete all reps on one side, then switch sides and repeat.

Feet-Elevated Glute Bridge

A. Lie faceup on the floor with arms by sides and heels on the top edge of the box. Hips should be positioned so knees form a 90-degree angle.
B. Press into heels and squeeze glutes to lift hips off the floor, forming a straight line from shoulders to knees.
C. Slowly lower hips to return to starting position.

Pistol Squat Progression

A. Stand directly in front of the box with heels just a few inches away. Lift the left leg to hover off the floor to start.
B. Slowly sit back into hips to lower into a single-leg squat until glutes tap the top of the box.
C. Press into the right foot to stand and return to starting position. Complete all reps on one side, then switch sides and repeat.

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