How To: DIY Plyo Box

Keeping with the trend of building my own exercise equipment to keep costs down, and after reviewing some material on plyometric training for building power while skating, I decided I needed to build a Plyo Box.  A plyo box is just a wooden box with various heights onto which you can jump.  This helps with short twitch muscles, which should translate to benefits in sprinting and general push power.  I built mine out of plywood from the hardware store, some wood glue and some drywall screws.  I found directions for building a plyo box over at End of Three Fitness.  There are two different tutorials on that page, and you can use either of them.  I used the first tutorial for my build as my dimensions were different than both of the builds on their website.  However, the second tutorial is good for direction on how to layout the cuts in the wood.

My planned design was for a 36″ x 24″ x 24″ box because I wanted to have a really tall box to jump.  I wasn’t prepared for exactly how tall 3 feet would be, but after using it, I think it was good choice.  Upon further reflection after returning from the store, I opted to go with a 36″ x 24″ x 20″ box to provide a little more variety for different types of jumps.  I sketched out my plans on a sheet of paper and decided how to deal with cutting the wood.

After reviewing these blog posts, I had an idea of what I wanted to accomplish and what I needed, so I headed to the hardware store looking for a sheet of 3/4″ plywood.  I walked around confused for about 10 minutes, and then talked to an associate.  I learned that someone (probably who works at IBM, they are local) complained that the plywood they sell wasn’t 3/4″, but 23/32″ thick.  Seriously…

After picking out my appropriate 4 foot by 8 foot by 23/32″ thick sheet of plywood, I was able to have the first set of cuts taken care of at the store.  If you go to a big box hardware store like I do, consider having them make the cuts, as they will be easier to complete and more accurate since they have bigger saws made for cutting whole sheets of plywood.  They did three cuts for me, yielding the 6 pieces of wood I needed for my box, two 24″ x 24″ pieces, two 34.5″ x 24″ pieces, and two 34.5″ x 22.5″ pieces.  When I got the pieces home, I decided to change the dimensions on the box and cut 4 inches off one side of the 24″ x 24″ pieces and the 34.5″ x 22.5″ pieces reducing them to two 24″ x 20″ and two 34.5″ x 18.5″ pieces, respectively.  Laying out the cuts would look like the following (forgive my terrible image editing skills):20140313 Plyo Box cut diagramThe resulting cut pieces looked like this:photo 1 - Copy (2)
I used the materials listed in the first tutorial, but opted for 2″ drywall screws:

photo 3 - Copy (2)photo 2 - Copy (2)

Assembly was tricky because of the size of the box.  I put a bead of glue on the edge, and set the top piece using a desk.  I then screwed it all together with the screws.  The two medium sized pieces fit inside the top, bottom, and two other sides.  This inset piece can be hard to attach, so after assembling one side, I added the inset pieces.  It looks like this:

photo 1 - Copy

I used a lot of wood screws to make sure things didn’t come loose or in case the box was damaged later.  Setting the sides of the box in and screwing everything together looked like this:

photo 2 - Copy photo 4

After adding all of the sides, I got the following box:

photo 3 - Copy

So far, I have used the box once, using the 24″ side to do step-down jumps, the 20″ side for single leg jump-ups, and the 36″ side for jump-ups from the floor.  The 36″ side is high, but I can make it, so I have some room to grow here.  It also makes a nice table for when I am riding the bike so I can put my computer on it to watch video while cranking out the hours of intervals or recovery rides.

Sum total, this was a $30 build and took a little over two hours to finish.  It is much cheaper that buying something similar.  I will probably cut hand holes at some point, though, to make it easier to move.

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