Best Plyometric Boxes for Building Explosive Power

Reach new heights in your training with a plyometric box.

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Plyometrics are an incredibly potent training modality, useful for improving your explosiveness, but also potentially helpful for developing longevity in training. One of the most common tools to use when working on plyometric training is — as the name suggests — a plyometric box, which can be used for jumping onto or over as a way to develop power and agility. Plyometric boxes help users build strength through exercises like box jumps, burpee box jump-overs, elevated plyometric push ups and a lot more. 

The best plyometric boxes come in all shapes, sizes, and materials, and each one has their place and purpose. The key is to know which option works best for you. In this list, you’ll find a comprehensive selection of plyo boxes for different types of training preferences. Read and use this list to guide you toward the perfect box. Then hop off (pun intended) the laptop and dive into your training session. 

Best Plyometric Boxes

Best Plyometric Box Overall

When choosing a plyometric box, versatility is going to be key for most buyers. Sure, we’d all love to have a large set of boxes with options for many different heights, but it just isn’t practical in most scenarios. That’s why we love this soft box from American Barbell. It offers great versatility in one simple package.

American Barbell Soft Plyo Box

With three different heights available (20, 24 and 30 inches), it covers a wide enough spread to be useful for all athletes while also requiring minimal storage space. Lightweight, it is also very easy to move around so you can set up for whatever training you have planned that day. The non-slip surface also means you can be confident when landing.

American Barbell Soft Plyo Box
American Barbell Soft Plyo Box
American Barbell Soft Plyo Box

With three different heights, the American Barbell Soft Plyo Box is great for trainees of all levels, accommodating a wide range of needs. Whether you need stability, grip, or varying heights in one package, this plyo box has it all.

Who Should Buy the American Barbell Soft Plyo Box

  • Lifters who want to start jumping but are worried about the impact of a hard box.
  • Athletes looking for one box that has multiple height options.
  • Consumers who want a box that is easy to move around.

Who Shouldn’t Buy the American Barbell Soft Plyo Box

  • Trainees who need a box that is heavier and more stable.
  • Gymgoers who need a box that can handle very high training volumes.

Accessible, portable and comfortable, we love this box for a swath of jump training. We think the versatility of the American Barbell Soft Plyo Box makes it the ultimate crowd pleaser.

Best Wooden Plyometric Box

A winning compromise between price and reliability, wooden boxes have been used extensively in CrossFit gyms throughout the world for good reason. Wooden boxes come in many shapes and sizes, but this option from Rogue clinches our top pick for best wooden plyo box.

Rogue Wood Plyo Box

Available in multiple sizes from 12 inches, all the way up to 24 inches, these boxes are made from wood cut with CNC machinery for a precise fit. Easy to assemble, they are tough and also have handles cut into the sides for easy moving around the gym.

Rogue Wood Plyo Box
Rogue Wood Plyo Box
Rogue Wood Plyo Box

The Rogue Wood Plyo Box is a staple of gyms everywhere. It's perfect for developing explosive power via box jumps, but can also be used as an implement for step ups, box squats and more. 

Who Should Buy the Rogue Wood Plyo Box

  • Lifters who need a box that is very steady and unlikely to move during jumps and landings.
  • Athletes looking for a box that has proven itself in hard training environments.
  • Consumers who want a great value for money box.

Who Shouldn’t Buy the Rogue Wood Plyo Box

  • Buyers who need boxes that can be stacked for storage.
  • Those who prefer a softer box to remove some fear around jumping.
  • Anyone looking for a box that has multiple height options.

A tough, reliable classic, this box is used in gyms throughout the world on a daily basis, so you can rest assured that it will serve you well in all your training pursuits.

Best Soft Plyometric Box

Jumping can be an intimidating movement for many people. There’s a lot of fear associated with it, and understandably so. Nobody wants to miss the box, slip, or bang a limb on the way up or down. One of the ways to mitigate that fear is to use a soft box. This ensures that landings are cushioned and that any potential mishaps are going to be less problematic.

American Barbell Soft Plyo Box

Aside from being more beginner friendly, this box has a non-slip covering that keeps you secure during movements like box jumps. Their light weight compared to other boxes is also a boon for anyone who regularly has to lug their equipment out for their training sessions and then put it all back at the end.

American Barbell Soft Plyo Box
American Barbell Soft Plyo Box
American Barbell Soft Plyo Box

With three different heights, the American Barbell Soft Plyo Box is great for trainees of all levels, accommodating a wide range of needs. Whether you need stability, grip, or varying heights in one package, this plyo box has it all.

Who Should Buy the American Barbell Soft Plyo Box

  • People who are intimidated by hard boxes but still want to practice jumping.
  • Customers looking for a box that will have a comfortable landing.
  • Trainees in need of a box that is easy to move around.

Who Shouldn’t Buy the American Barbell Soft Plyo Box

  • Gymgoers and lifters who need a very stable box.
  • Buyers who want to find the most durable box possible.
  • Athletes looking for a cheaper option.

A great option for people who want to easily move between different heights of jumps, this box is useful for all levels and helps take some of the fear out of jump training.

Best Resin Plyometric Box

Resin is a relatively new option for plyometric boxes. It has some undeniable benefits, being lightweight and durable while also being easy to mold into convenient shapes. We think these resin boxes from Rogue are the best option on the market currently.

Rogue Resin Plyo Box

Made from 100% recycled post consumer plastic, these boxes are compression molded to create a really durable product. Lightweight and with convenient handles on all four sides, we love how easy they are to use. Convenience helps us maintain motivation to train, even on days when we’re not feeling our best.

Rogue Resin Plyo Box
Rogue Resin Plyo Box
Rogue Resin Plyo Box

The Rogue Resin Plyo Box is smartly designed, hardy, and made from recycled plastic. It’s a great choice for jump training and for athletes who like the added sustainability element of this product.

Who Should Buy the Rogue Resin Plyo Box

  • Lifters looking for a lightweight, easily movable box.
  • Customers who want to be environmentally conscious with a recycled product.
  • Those looking for boxes that are easily assembled.

Who Shouldn’t Buy the Rogue Resin Plyo Box

  • Trainees who need a box that is less likely to slip.
  • Buyers looking for a box that doesn’t need assembly.
  • Gymgoers who want a single box that has multiple height options.

A recent innovation in plyo boxes, these resin boxes from Rogue made of recycled plastic are lightweight and cleverly designed for excellent portability.

Best Stackable Plyometric Box

For those looking to reach new heights in plyometric training, you’ll want to be able to prove that you’re progressing. Athletes often do this by increasing the height of their boxes, but once you’re beyond a certain level, you’ll need to stack them in order to challenge yourself. 

Rogue Foam Plyo Box

These stackable foam boxes from Rogue are smartly designed to expand the heights you can challenge yourself to. You can buy them individually or in a set depending on your goals. The full foam plyo box set comes with a 24, 20, 12 and 6 inch box altogether, making it stackable up to 62 inches, or just over 5 feet. They also come with hook and loop strips to secure the boxes to each other.

Rogue Foam Plyo Boxes
Rogue Foam Plyo Boxes
Rogue Foam Plyo Boxes

Lightweight and made from foam that won’t bang up your body when mistakes happen (and they will happen) this Rogue Soft Foam Plyo box set is a solid stackable option that will have you reaching new heights in training.

Who Should Buy the Rogue Foam Plyo Box

  • Buyers who need boxes that are easily stacked and secured.
  • Anyone who wants boxes that are light and easy to set up.
  • Trainees looking for a set of boxes that can be easily mixed and matched to equal a variety of heights. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy the Rogue Foam Plyo Box

  • Lifters who need a box that is less likely to slip.
  • People who prefer the feel of a wooden or metal box.

Designed with stacking in mind, the Rogue Foam Plyo Boxes are lightweight, have securing strips, and are made with an ultra-dense foam that can hold up under rigorous training.

Best Metal Plyometric Box

Durability is a key concern for many when purchasing equipment, especially so when the equipment in question is going to be pounced on over and over. Gym equipment isn’t always cheap (though we have something to say about that) and you really want to maximize the lifespan you get out of each item. This is where metal boxes really shine. They are very long lasting and are also able to stand up to forces and jumps that others may not.

American Barbell Steel Plyometric Box Set

A full box set, these boxes come in a set of four with a 12, 18, 24 and 30 inch box to ensure that athletes of all skill levels are covered. Easily stackable, they also pack away to take up minimal space and come with a vinyl covering on top to provide a really secure jumping platform.

American Barbell Steel Plyo Box Set
American Barbell Steel Plyo Box Set
American Barbell Steel Plyo Box Set

Made from high quality steel, this plyo box set from American Barbell might be bombproof. They are certainly a reliable foundation for plyometrics and can support heavy loads. Plus, they're stackable which is great for those short on gym space. 

Who Should Buy the American Barbell Steel Plyometric Box Set

  • Gymgoers who want a very durable set of boxes that will survive even the highest volume training.
  • Athletes who need a wide range of different boxes for different jumps.
  • Those looking for boxes that don’t need to be assembled.

Who Shouldn’t Buy the American Barbell Steel Plyometric Box Set

  • Trainees who prefer a softer box that is less intimidating.
  • Lifters who only want to buy one box, not a full set.
  • Consumers with a tighter budget.

Extremely durable, this style of box has been used for decades for a reason. They aren’t cheap, but their longevity is unparalleled. 

What to Consider Before Buying a Plyometric Box

You’d have thought that a box to jump all over would be one of the most straightforward purchases you can make, but there are still things that we think you should consider before you buy. Get out your notepads.

Your Training Start Point

There’s a very simple calculus behind this. If you haven’t jumped in years (or have never trained jumping), it’s probably not the best idea to go out and buy a 30 inch box. For most people, a box somewhere between 12 to 24 inches will be the most useful option, but exactly what height you should start with really depends on your training history and your comfort level. 

Break out the ruler, grab a friend, and hit the home gym to test your hops to see where you land before buying a box, or set of boxes. 

Your Budget

A single box is usually quite affordable, so budget isn’t as big of an issue as it can be with other home gym equipment. On the other hand, it is still well worth doing a bit of research to ensure that you don’t waste your time and money returning and reordering the correct box.

Soft or Hard

Alongside the height of the box, opting for a hard or soft box is an important decision. Hard boxes are generally more durable and are less likely to topple over when you land or move. They have hard, clear edges which are nice if you’re squeaking over the top on a jump and need them to hold your weight up to the very edge. They do however come with a psychological intimidation factor (and pain) if you miss your mark. 

Soft boxes offer a much more comforting downside if you miss a jump or come down too hard on a landing. Catch yourself, compose yourself, and try again without tearing up your shins. However, softer boxes are a little less stable, so evaluate your skill and training needs, and you should be able to make an informed decision on what will work best for you. 

Metal, Wood, Resin or Foam?

There are 4 main materials that boxes are typically fabricated with. Here’s a brief overview and some of the pros and cons to each of them.

Metal

Incredibly durable, metal is the way to go if you never want to have to buy again or are going to be putting the box through really heavy usage. The downsides are that it is quite heavy and it hurts if you mess up a jump.

Wood

The old school choice, wooden boxes have proven themselves in gyms worldwide. They are durable, but usually relatively heavy and can splinter. They are also very uncomfortable if you smack a shin into them, which is actually a very common injury associated with jumping.

Resin

Lightweight and durable, resin is a relatively new option for boxes. The downside here is that it is much more likely to slip than other boxes, so you’ll want to make sure it is secure before you begin your workout.

Foam

The softest option available, these boxes are invariably the most beginner friendly. They are light and easy to move, which is a double edged sword. Easy to get out and set up, yes, but it equally means that they may shift slightly while you’re trying to land. They also can become deformed more easily than other options, so be careful how you store them.

Stackable or Not

We understand that, technically, all boxes are stackable, but our point here is that some are designed with storage in mind and others aren’t. If space is an issue for you, but you want to have a variety of height options, then make sure you look for stackable boxes. If you only need one box and aren’t too worried about space, then no need to worry.

Weight 

This is usually not a huge concern, but for those of you who might be involved in coaching group classes and thus moving multiple boxes around each day, it is worth thinking about. Lifting unwieldy boxes is surprisingly strenuous if you have to move a bunch of them.

Plyometrics the Research

It may seem obvious on the surface that plyometric training has a lot of benefits, but we also want to highlight the research on plyometrics to show that our enthusiasm for this type of training isn’t misplaced. 

As with many strength and conditioning concepts, plyometric research largely began in the Soviet Union in the 1950s and 60s under Dr. Yuri Verkhoshansky. It has been shown to improve a vast range of training areas, including strength (1), power output, and much more.

Since plyometrics was first formally studied, research has branched out to look at the effects on groups outside of elite athletes. For example a study by Vetrovsky (2) looked at the safety and efficacy of plyometric training for the elderly and concluded that it can be very beneficial when programmed correctly. At the other end of the age spectrum, a research review (3) demonstrated that plyometrics can be equally well applied with young trainees. The caveat is that these programs need to be carefully monitored. Plyometrics are not something that any of the authors recommend casually jumping into (pun interned, again). There should be a careful calculation of volume to avoid higher risk of injury, and technique should also be honed for the same reason.

Research Takeaways

Plyometrics are truly an effective form of training no matter your age or training expertise. They help you develop a wide range of qualities that every athlete should prize. We should note however, that all these studies were conducted by professionals who planned out and then carefully monitored the training. Plyometrics are not as complicated as many would have you believe, but they can be a commonly misapplied training tactic. If you do want to take advantage of this incredible modality, make sure you have a training plan in place to get the most benefit from plyometrics.

Get Started With Plyometric Training

Start jumping and get strong concurrently. You probably don’t need to work up to a double bodyweight squat to get started with jumping. Jumping concentrically onto a box that isn’t intimidating and then lowering yourself down carefully is a great way beginning to work on this potent stimulus.

We’d highly recommend you train jumping, but it’s ideal to do so with the help of a coach who knows how to design programs that give you all the benefits and none of the downsides. If you are determined to go it alone, we’d recommend proceeding cautiously rather than running before you can walk, or rather, jumping before you can land.

Final Word

While one of the most common use cases for plyometric boxes is jumping, don’t feel that you have to be limited to that. Boxes can be used for squatting, to help you learn to do a push up, or to increase difficulty if you’ve already mastered a movement. This wide range of applications means that it could be well worth it for you to buy a plyometric box. Cheap, easy to use, and durable, when you look at all the beneficial effects on the training side, there is really very little reason not to get one.

FAQs

What is the best height for a plyometric box?

That really depends on your goals and your current starting point. For most people a box that is somewhere between 12 to 24 inches should work fine, but even that is quite a large range. If in doubt, start with a lower height. You can always opt for a box that has multiple heights depending on which side acts as the base (picks included in this list). The key thing really is to make sure that you are able to do quality reps as opposed to worrying about the height of the box.

I’m afraid of jumping, should I still get a plyometric box?

Whether you have a box or not, jumping is an excellent exercise for all fitness levels. If a box is preventing you from jumping, then don’t stress getting one. You can do broad jumps, standing jumps or any other number of jumps that should elicit less fear and will still give you the training stimulus that is so valuable.

I’m worried the box will fall apart. Is this an issue?

Unless you’re jumping onto the box with over 400 pounds of weight, you’re going to be fine with any pick on our list. All of these boxes have been extensively tested for safety and are used in gyms throughout the world daily. We would tell you instead to worry about coming down safely from the box, as that is where most injuries occur, especially when people jump down and land badly.

References

  1. Johnson BA, Salzberg CL, Stevenson DA. A systematic review: plyometric training programs for young children. J Strength Cond Res. 2011 Sep;25(9):2623-33. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e318204caa0.
  2. Vetrovsky, T., Steffl, M., Stastny, P. et al. The Efficacy and Safety of Lower-Limb Plyometric Training in Older Adults: A Systematic Review. Sports Med 49, 113–131 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-018-1018-x
  3. Ramírez-Campillo R, Andrade DC, Izquierdo M. Effects of plyometric training volume and training surface on explosive strength. J Strength Cond Res. 2013 Oct;27(10):2714-22. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e318280c9e9.