Most of the time, when we want to up our lifting game, we simply pick up heavier and heavier weights. But, sometimes, a more effective route can be to integrate more bodyweight workouts into our training routine.
That’s because bodyweight training is critical for shoring up muscle imbalances, improving mobility, and correcting our compensations when lifting, says Spartan SGX coach and athletic trainer Megan Beck, C.S.C.S. It’s also one of the most effective ways to teach your body to generate the power needed to transform your lifts. When you’re trying to get out of the hole during squats and bench presses or explode in cleans and snatches, it’s all about power.
More Workouts: 4 Essential Bodyweight Exercises You've Probably Never Tried
This bodyweight workout, courtesy of Beck, develops total-body power by working through fundamental and explosive compound movements. And by performing each with a full range of motion, tight core (you should feel it burn), and focus on control, you’ll improve your mobility, strengthen oft-underworked muscles, and get more out of your heavy-lifting days.
All you need is 15 minutes and a padded plyo box. (We recommend the Spartan Foam Plyo Box; choose a height that will allow you to perform all reps with solid form while still pushing you outside of your comfort zone.) Perform each exercise for 30 seconds, rest for 15, and repeat for a total of 3 rounds before moving on to the next exercise.
Best Plyo Box Bodyweight Exercises to Build Strength
Standing in front of a plyo box, sink into a squat and cock your arms behind you. Drive through your legs to spring up out of the squat, simultaneously swinging your arms forward for momentum. As you land on the box, sink into another squat, holding your hands in front of you for balance. Step down onto the floor and repeat.
Place a plyo box underneath a pullup bar, stand on top of the box, and grab the bar with an overhand grip that’s more than shoulder-width apart. Sink into a quarter squat, then drive through your legs to jump straight up. Simultaneously pull your elbows down to your sides until your collarbones meet the bar. Let gravity pull you straight back down into a quarter-squat position and repeat.
Stand in front of a plyo box and place one foot on top of the box. Drive through your lead foot to shoot your body—and both legs—up into the air, swinging your arms in opposition. At the top, switch your feet, land with your opposite foot on top of the box, and repeat.
Get into an incline plank with your hands on top of a plyo box. Lower your chest toward the box, then quickly drive through your arms to raise out of the pushup and briefly float your hands above the box. As your hands return to the box, bend your shoulders and elbows, and repeat.
Stand in front of a plyo box and touch the toes of one foot on the edge of the box. Jump and scissor your legs back and forth to alternate which foot’s toes are touching the box. With each jump, pump your arms in opposition.