by Thom Van Vleck
Boxes of different sizes can be a real plus to any gym. They can be used for a variety of things. Let’s look at some of the types.
Most people think of them for box squats which is what mine probably get used for the most. I prefer to NOT do the box squats where you actually sit down on the box, but instead use mine to gauge depth. But that debate is for another article. These boxes aren’t always the strongest because they typically aren’t used to drop weight on. Mine are strong enough to hold someone standing on them plus weight, but not drop the weight. I made mine so that one box could be flipped on a side for a different height (I stole that idea from Al Myers….who probably stole it from someone else). I have used mine for setting weights on to allow for different starting heights, as plyo boxes, and for many other things over the years. They are just handy to have!
Jerk (High) Boxes
These boxes are built with the intent of dropping the weight on them. They need to be super durable. I have some high ones that Al Myers made me that I asked for after injuring my should trying to “catch” a heavy push press. Al made them….then liked them so much he made some for himself. They have a thick sheet of rubber on them as well. The High “Jerk” boxes I have are a steel frame with wooden platform on top. They are usually made of wood. Mine set high enough from me to do push presses and Jerks while standing over them. I can also take squats out of them but from a low position. Usually these have a way to makes some adjustments on them, mine were custom for my height.
Pull (Low) Boxes
These boxes are also built with the intent of dropping weights on them. In this case they are low for doing pulls and are built very strongly for dropping the heaviest of weights. I have 4 boxes. Two are 3″ thick and the other two are 6″ thick. I can stack them and make them 9″ or the same as a People’s Deadlift. Mine are scrap boards sandwiched with plywood and rubber matting. I put handles on them to make them easy to move. They are solid wood glued and screwed together.
There are many things you could use to achieve the same purpose and often it can mean re-purposing other objects. If you are like me, you will find many other uses for these boxes in your training than what they were first built for. This is especially true as I get older but at the same time as my kids train more and more I find them coming up with creative ways to use the boxes (and not all of it involves lifting…but that’s okay, too!).