The new Soft Plyometric Boxes are a fantastic new addition to the range of performance functional equipment. So, with more and more trainers and clubs using them, what are they actually used for and what are the benefits to the user and trainer?
Speed-Strength and Reactive Strength
Soft Plyometric Boxes are can be used to improve Speed-Strength, which is the maximum force the body can produce in the shortest possible time. A subsection of Speed-Strength is Reactive Strength, which is the ability to change quickly and efficiently from an eccentric (loading phase) to a concentric contraction (muscle shortening phase). The more efficient the athlete can utilise these forces pushing the body in one direction, to change and accelerate the body in another direction, the higher they will be able to jump, bound and run. And, the more agile they will be.
These new boxes are perfect for use with gym users, athletes and even children because it will decrease the stress on the joints when landing, as opposed to harder surfaces. For many athletes and everyday clients, one of the potential downloads with plyometrics and jump training is the volume of stress going through the foot, ankle, knees and hips. Soft Plyometric Boxes decrease that problem. If you want to develop power, reactive strength or (like Crossfitters) you just want to overload the cardiorespiratory system with multiple jumps, then these are perfect for you. Plus if you do ‘miss’ your jump, falling onto a soft plyometric box is much kinder than a harder platform….
Some of the most popular exercises are:
Lateral Box Drives
- Stand to the side of the soft plyometric box and place your near foot on top
- Push down explosively onto the box and drive the body upwards into the air
- Control the landing using the same leg (still on top of the box) and repeat for 20 seconds on each leg
Jumps onto the Box
- Stand on the floor in front of the soft plyometric box about 1-2 feet away depending on the height
- Jump onto the box, using both the legs with help from the arms
- Control the landing , trying to land as softly as possible, step back down and repeat for 20-40 seconds
Lateral Hops onto the Box
- Stand sideways on to the soft plyometric box, and stand on one leg (the near leg is easier to start)
- Hop explosively onto the box and stabilise upon landing
- Step back down and repeat for 20 seconds on each leg