DIY Plyo Box - How to Build one for your home gym

If you’re looking to add plyometric exercises to your workout routine, you’ve probably been recommended a Plyo box by a friend or the internet. Many people swear by them, but if you’ve never used one, it might be hard to justify spending your money on it. 

If you’re in this situation, then keep reading. In this article, we’ll explore everything you need to know about DIY Plyo boxes and offer a step-by-step guide on how you can build one for your own home gym to save considerable money. Let’s get started?

My Plyo Box

Table of Contents

Is a Plyo Box Worth it?

Plyo boxes are incredibly expensive, and many people don’t think they’re worth the money. However, a Plyo box is one of the most useful and versatile pieces of equipment for your home gym for a few reasons.

Firstly, Plyo boxes allow you to build serious strength using just your body weight. Incorporating jumps, push-ups, and even calf raises into your workout routine will help to condition your body, allowing you to lift heavier weights and increase your cardiovascular endurance.

Plyo box exercises also have a significant impact on your overall health. Training with a Plyo box will increase your stability, enhance mobility, and even improve your fast-twitch muscle fibers.
So, for the health and fitness benefits, Plyo boxes are undoubtedly worth it, and you should consider adding a Plyo box to your home gym.

What do Plyo Boxes cost to Buy?

Plyo boxes are surprisingly expensive, putting so many people off buying one. A basic Plyo boxes from Walmart starts at around $150 for a plywood 30x24x20 box, while a premium stackable soft foam Plyo box set can cost upwards of $2000. Plyo boxes are expensive because they’re costly to store and ship. Many Plyo boxes also use foam, which is a relatively expensive material. 

The high price tag turns many people away from Plyo box exercises, as you could buy many other pieces of equipment for the same price as one Plyo box.

How Big Should a Plyo Box be?

For beginners, it’s a good idea to start with a Plyo box height at around 20 inches high. This can be achieved with a 30x24x20 box lying on its side. This height may not challenge you but it is better to master the form of several plyometric exercises, which will help you progress in the future and prevent injury. 

Athletes will most likely need to look towards the stackable foam boxes which can be stacked in variable heights up to 5 feet.

If you intend to push your limits with box jumps it’s probably worth the investment in a padded foam Plyo box to avoid any shin scraping injuries from missed attempts on a wooden box.

Do Box Jumps Increase your Vertical?

Box jumps are a fantastic exercise. They’re fun to do, easy to learn, and come with many benefits, such as increasing speed and explosive power. Box jumps will also help to improve your vertical over time and are ideal for any sport that involves jumping such as basketball.

What Exercises can you do with a Plyo Box?

Many assume that box jumps are the only exercise you can do with a Plyo box. However, dozens of enjoyable and effective exercises with a DIY Plyo box exist. Here are some of my favorites:

Box Jumps

Box jumps are one of the most popular Plyo box exercises, and for a good reason. They’re enjoyable yet intense and will work a variety of muscle groups.

To perform a box jump: Stand about one step back from your Plyo box.
With your feet shoulder-width apart, squat down until you feel your hamstrings engage.
Swing your arms back and, keeping your core tight, explode upward onto the Plyo box.
Land in a squat and slowly return to a neutral position to complete one rep.

Box jumps work several muscle groups all at once. These include your:

  • Quads
  • Glutes
  • Hamstrings
  • Calves
  • Core
  • Hip Flexors

Box Calf Raises

Getting a full range of motion when you perform calf raises is essential, but it can be tricky to achieve. This is why box calf raises are so effective, as they grant you a full range of motion, leading to optimal growth of your calf muscles.

To perform a box calf raise: Stand on the edge of your Plyo box, making sure your heels aren’t touching the box. Then, rise to your tiptoes and hold the position for two seconds before sinking below box height to complete one rep.

Box calf raises are much tricker than regular ones, and you’ll feel the burn instantly. But, it’s a perfect addition to any leg day workout. Try holding a dumbbell or weight plate in one hand for added difficulty.

Hint: Turn the Plyo box on its side and support yourself with the frame of a power cage or similar for extra stability and safety.

Box Step Ups

Stepping onto a platform is a simple method to challenge your body as it requires stability and balance. In addition, the single-leg action of the step can help muscle imbalances while strengthening the glutes and quads.
Box step-ups are great for a quick warm-up and are excellent for muscle growth and joint rehabilitation.

To Perform a Box Step-Up: Stand facing your Plyo box with your toes close to the box. Next, lift one leg, place it on the box, and press to a standing position, locking out your knee and hips. Then slowly lower yourself, reversing the motion under control into the starting position. You can either repeat multiple reps on the same leg or alternate legs.

Other Great Plyo Box Exercises

  • Decline Push-Ups
  • Dips
  • Bulgarian Split
  • Squats
  • Lateral Shuffle
  • Single Leg Hops
  • Rocket Jumps

What Materials Are Needed to Build a 30-inch DIY Plyo Box?

If you want the benefits that come with a Plyo box but don’t want to purchase one, it’s a good idea to build one from scratch. It’s actually not as difficult as it might seem. To create a DIY Plyo box, you’ll need the following materials:

    • Table Saw or circular saw
    • Measuring tape
    • Pencil
    • A Drill with a bit to match the screws & countersink drill bit
    • Jig Saw
    • Wood Glue
    • 2-inch timber Screws (use star head instead of Phillips head screws to prevent stripping)
    • Sandpaper
    • One 4′ x 8′ sheet of 3/4 inch plywood

Step-by-Step Guide for Building a DIY Plyo Box

Now that you’ve got your materials, you can start making your own DIY Plyo box. 

There are two main methods for building a Plyo box. The first uses six rectangular pieces of timber screwed together, and the second is with six jigsaw-edged pieces commonly found in professionally built boxes.

Both of these methods will yield a pretty decent Plyo box, but personally I like the jigsaw edges the best, as every side has support on all four edges. However, the jigsaw method is trickier regarding woodworking skills, so if you’re timber cutting skills are not up to scratch, it may be best to use the square edge Plyo Box method. I’ve attached a good YouTube video of the straight-edge method at the bottom of this article.

Follow these steps, and you’ll be box jumping in no time:

Cut the Plywood 

You’ll need to cut your plywood into the correct shapes. You’ll need two 30-inch x 20-inch rectangles, two 30-inch x 24-inch rectangles, and two 24-inch x 20-inch rectangles. Measure out each rectangle with your tape and mark with a pencil. Then, use your table saw, or circular saw to make nice even cuts. Take your time here and remember to use the old rule – ‘Measure Twice, Cut Once.’ Hint: Your local home hardware store may provide a timber cutting service for a small fee

Mark out the jigsaw sections

And use a jigsaw to cut them out. Precision is vital here to ensure all pieces fit together correctly. It is better to err on the side of under cutting the jigsaw sections, you can always shave off a bit more if needed but you can’t add it back if you’ve cut too much.

DIY Plyo box ends
Plyometric Box Sides
DIY Plyo box top and bottom

Cut two handle holes

Cut these in the smallest end pieces. First, drill out two holes around 4 inches apart and then use the jig saw to cut between the two holes.

Check Everything works 

Before you start screwing everything together, it’s a good idea to ensure that your cuts are even and fit together. Line up all of the sides together so that they form a box. If one rectangle isn’t flush, you’ll need to make the necessary adjustments; otherwise, you’ll have a shaky box that could cause injury.

Create a center support piece

There are many options here; just use your imagination. I joined three pieces of 4″ x 2″ timber together, spanning each interior wall.

Screw it all together

Now it’s time to secure everything together. Assemble your DIY Plyo box (the largest rectangles should form the top and bottom of your box, the smallest should fill the short sides between them, and the other rectangles should fill the long sides). Glue everything together using wood glue, and reinforce with screws along every side. One screw on every jigsaw section should suffice.

Let it Dry

Make sure you let the glue dry before using your DIY Plyo box. This can take anywhere from a few hours to overnight.

Sand the box

Use the sandpaper to remove sharp edges.

DIY Plyo Box complete
My completed DIY Plyo Box (built in 2007)

Adding to your DIY Plyo Box

These are all the essential steps for building your own DIY Plyo box. You can stop here, or you could follow these optional steps to make your Plyo box look even more professional:

  • Paint it – Consider painting it with your home gym’s theme colors. If you spray paint, ensure to paint outside and use the appropriate safety gear.
  • Add a Rubber Gym Mat– If you find that jumping onto a wooden Plyo box causes injury to your shins, you could consider adding a rubber gym mat to the top to reduce the impact. Make sure you heavily glue this down before use and be aware that this addition will increase the height of your Plyo box.

How Much Does it Cost to Make a DIY Plyo Box?

You may wonder how much money you’ll save by building your DIY Plyo box. Well, the number may surprise you.
The materials will vary depending on where you live but shouldn’t cost more than $30-50. So, you’ll save about $450 for only a few work hours. 

If you don’t have the required tools, consider borrowing them from a friend or renting them out daily to reduce costs.

Non Jigsaw Piece Box Method

If you feel that you’re not up to building a Plyo box using the more advanced jigsaw piece method or don’t have access to the right equipment, then the following video will give you a good run down of the square cut method.

Final Thoughts

So, that’s everything that you need to know about building a DIY Plyo box. A Plyo box is a great, versatile piece of equipment that can train your full body and dramatically improve your overall conditioning. 

And, by building a DIY Plyo box, you’ll be able to experience these benefits without sacrificing hundreds. Ultimately, there’s no excuse not to try out a Plyo box. So, what are you waiting for? Get building!