step box exercises
Fitness

9 Calorie Burning Step Box Exercises

A step up box is a simple piece of exercise equipment that allows you to get in a tremendous workout with jump box exercises. With it, you will be able to perform a range of plyometric exercises and aerobic exercises to work your entire body. In this article, I’ll lay out 10 of the best-advanced step box exercises that you can combine into a mega-calorie burning super circuit.

1. Box Step Ups

Muscles Worked:

Glute muscles, Hamstrings, Quadriceps, Calves

Step-by-Step How To:

  1. Stand in front of the step up box with a couple of weights in your hands at your sides.
  2. Step your right foot on the top of the step up box.
  3. Follow through with your left leg, driving your knee up high as you step on the box.
  4. Reverse the action to return to the start position. 

Training Tip

Perform this aerobic step exercise in a fluid, fast action to increase your calorie burn, work your leg muscles and get your heart pumping. This is a good exercise for beginners. You can make it more intense by doing lateral step exercises or holding heavier weights.

2. V-Sits

Muscles Worked:

abdominal muscles, arm muscles, oblique muscles

Step-by-Step How To:

  1. Sit on the step up box with your hands behind for support and your knees pulled up to your chest.
  2. Kick your legs out on an angle to full extension, keeping your feet off the floor at all times.
  3. Draw your knees back and repeat.

Training Tip

Maintain a neutral back position and avoid using momentum to help with the movement; the focus must be on the flexion and extension of the rectus abdominis muscle. This is a good exercise to develop core strength. 

3. Box Jumps

Muscles Worked:

Quads, glutes, calves, stomach muscles

Step-by-Step How To:

  1. Stand in front of the step up box, facing it. 
  2. Hinge your hips to load your body in preparation for the jump.
  3. Swing your arms to jump with both feet together to land on top of the box.
  4. Step down and repeat.
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Training Tip

Perform this jump exercise in a fast manner, exploding up, and then quickly stepping back down. A variation of the basic box jump cardio movement is the lateral box jump where you stand side onto the box and jump to the side to get onto the box. This is an effective high-intensity exercise to develop leg power and cardiovascular stamina. However, it is quite a high-impact exercise. 

4. Box Bulgarian Split Squats

Muscles Worked:

Quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteus muscles, calf muscles, hip flexors

Step-by-Step How To:

  1. Stand about two feet in front of the plyo box and place your left foot back and up on the box behind you. Keep your torso upright and place your hands at chest level.
  2. Lower down into a lunge position to bring your rear knee toward the floor until your front thigh is in a parallel position.
  3. Push back to the start position. Be sure to keep the rear foot stable.
  4. Do the same number of reps on each leg.

Training Tip

You can make this step toning exercise more challenging by holding a pair of dumbbells in your hands. Do not round your back as you are doing the movement; maintain an upright torso position. This is one of the most demanding plyo box exercises that will help in building muscle in the lower body. 

5. Decline Push ups

Muscles Worked:

Pectorals, Deltoids, Triceps

Step-by-Step How To:

  1. Get down in push up position with your feet on the step up box. Maintain a straight body position and place your hands shoulder-width apart.
  2. Lower down to bring the chest about an inch short of the floor.
  3. Push through the chest and triceps to return to the start position.

Training Tip

You can make the decline push up harder by wearing a weighted vest or a backpack with books or some other weight in it or finding some other way to add to your upper body weight. Keep your core tight throughout the exercise.

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6. Feet Elevated Pike Push Ups

Muscles Worked:

Chest, triceps, shoulders

Step-by-Step How To:

  1. Put your feet on the step up box, close together and your hands on the floor about a foot in front of the box. Your legs should be straight so that your body forms a V shape. 
  2. Perform a push up movement by lowering your head toward the floor. 
  3. Push back to the start position.

Training Tip

The Pike Push Up is one of the most advanced exercises that are a variation of the push up. If it is too challenging for you, move your hands further out from the step up box to get closer to the standard push up position. 

7. Side Plank

Muscles Worked:

Transverse abdominals, obliques, intercostals

Step-by-Step How To:

  1. Position yourself side onto the box with your bottom forearm on the box and your body out in a straight line so that the side of your lower foot is making contact with the floor. The forearm and foot should be the only points of contact.
  2. Rise up and straighten your body, keeping your torso tight. 
  3. Now lift your top leg up as high as possible, without bending the knee.
  4. Hold for 30 seconds.
  5. Lower and repeat.

Training Tip

Do the exercise on both sides of the body to work the left and rights obliques and intercostals. This is a good exercise for core stability.

8. Box Squats

Muscles Worked:

Quadriceps, glutes

Step-by-Step How To:

  1. Stand in front of the step up box with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands on your head.
  2. Maintaining a neutral back position, hinge at the hips to lower down until your butt touches the step up box. 
  3. Push your heels into the ground as you return to the start position.
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Training Tip

The Box Squat allows you to perform the squat with the security of a base. This lets you know how far to go do (until you touch the box) as well as provides a means of security if you cannot complete a rep. This compound movement promotes weight loss and muscle tone.

9. Reverse Dips

Muscles Worked:

Triceps

Step-by-Step How To:

  1. Stand in front of the step up box with your hands on the box behind you and your knees bent. Your feet should be about two feet in front of the box and your body should form an angle of about 30 degrees. Your hands should be about 10 inches apart.
  2. From a starting position with your arms straight lower down to bring your butt toward the floor. 
  3. Push through the triceps to return to the start position. 

Training Tip

To make the exercise more challenging move your feet further away from the box. 

Conclusion

Combine these 9 exercises into a circuit where you perform them one after the other without any rest between the exercises. Do each move for 30 seconds. Once you have completed the circuit, rest for 2 minutes and then go through it again, Work up to completing four circuits of this step up workout routine. This workout will boost your level of fitness while promoting weight loss and lean muscle development throughout the entire body.

Frequently Asked Questions

How high should my step up box be?

The height of your step up box will depend on your fitness and experience level. Beginners usually start with a 16-inch box. After 6 months or so, they can advance to a 20-inch box. At the advanced level, a 24-inch box should be used.

Steve Theunissen

Steve Theunissen is a former gym owner and personal trainer based in Tauranga, New Zealand. He is the author of six hardcopy books and more than a hundred ebooks on the topics of bodybuilding, fitness, and fat loss.

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