Box Jumps are a quintessential exercise that can help you build incredible power in your leg muscles. It’s one of the usual workouts that you’ll see many fitness enthusiasts, influences, and trainers include in their fitness regimen. However, the box jump is not for everyone, and for some, it’s not even an option! 

Although it’s an entry-level jumping exercise, some people don’t have tough enough knees to execute this workout in proper form. Others might not even have the correct equipment! For some, they might have done box jumps a lot that it’s starting to lose its potency. Fortunately, there are many box jump alternatives that you can do to engage the same muscle groups!

Box Jump Alternatives (Our 10 Recommendations)

When performing box jumps, you’re engaging your quads, glutes, hamstrings, and calves. Therefore, when it comes to the alternatives that you’ll be doing, it needs to target these four main muscle groups. Otherwise, it will not improve your leg power and your box jumping abilities. So, what alternative to box jumps should you do? Here are our 10 suggestions!

1. Squat Push-Press

This box jump alternative will not only enable you to engage all the same muscles as the box jumps but also activate your upper body muscles. Also, you don’t even need to lift your feet off the ground when doing a rep!

The squat push-press, also known as dumbbell thruster, is a full-body exercise that focuses on your legs and shoulders. Also, with this advanced squat workout, you can add more weight, allowing you to train the explosiveness and power output necessary to push off when performing a box jump. 

When doing squat push-press, your goal is to move quickly and explosively. Once you master the movement, you can choose a weight that’s more challenging, so you’re forced to use your whole body to push the weights up overhead.

How to do it

  • Start by grabbing the dumbbells with a standard grip and moving them up to shoulder height. 
  • Keep your feet hip-width apart. Then, bring yourself down into a squat position.
  • Stop momentarily and hold for a second once your tights are in line with the floor.
  • Press through your heels and stand straight while you lift the weight straight up above your head.
  • Lower the weights back to the starting position and repeat.
  • Do as many reps as you prefer.

2. Tuck Jumps

If you’re planning on working your jumping ability but don’t have a box to hop on, or you simply don’t want to try box jumps first, then you can just do tuck jumps! This exercise is a good practice workout to help you improve your jumping skills and explosiveness as it strengthens your legs and glutes as well as increases your stamina.

How to do it

  • To get into position for tuck jumps, do a normal squat with your feet hip-distance apart.
  • Do a half-squat and jump up as high as you can into the air as you pull your knees in towards your chest. 
  • As you return to the ground, land in a half-squat position again to prevent straining your knees and ankle.
  • Do as many tuck jumps as you can.

3. Broad Jumps

This next box jump alternative is one of the most straightforward jumping movements to include in your plyometric exercises collection. The goal when performing broad jumps is to jump as far forward as you can instead of jumping high in the air or up onto a box. 

Broad jumps are a less intimidating workout compared to a box jump, but you will still get lots of benefits, including the improvement of your power output and lower body strength. 

How to do it

  • Begin with a regular squat with your feet hip-distance apart (similar to a tuck jump).
  • Do a half squat, launch your body forward and land with both your feet on the floor at the same time with your knees in a half-squat stance.
  • Use your arms to assist you in pushing yourself as far as possible.
  • Do as many reps as you can.

4. Jump Squats

Another box jump alternative that you can consider is jump squats. This exercise is almost identical to box jumps but similar to tuck jumps; they are not as intimidating. Also, they’re the perfect workout for those who don’t have boxes or steps at their disposal.

Once you’re more comfortable doing squat jumps, you can make it more difficult by adding weight (weighted vest or dumbbells). Also, you can use your arms to add momentum and gain a higher jump. Just swing your arms forward right before executing the jumping part of the exercise.

How to do it

  • Begin this exercise with your feet hip-distance apart and your arms above your head.
  • As you go down into a squat, move your arms down and behind you to help you gain momentum. 
  • Push yourself off the floor and as high as you can while raising your arms overhead. While you’re in the air, keep your leg and body straight.
  • Land with both your feet on the floor at the same time. Keep your knees bent in a half-squat position so you can prepare for your next jump.
  • Perform as many reps as you can.

5. Trap Bar Deadlift

Trap bar or hex bar deadlift is an excellent workout for strengthening the lower body. It targets your glutes, hamstring, and quads which are all necessary muscle groups to successfully do box jumps.

In addition, there are many ways to make this exercise more explosive. If you want to increase your speed, power output, and reactivity, there are many variations that you can do, like the trap bar power shrug, trap bar jump, and trap bar high pull.

When doing the Deadlift, don’t let your back round. When you round your back, it puts extra stress on your spine, which can cause major injuries. It’s okay to round your upper back, but it’s critical to keep your lower back straight all the time. If you cannot keep your back straight, it means that the weight is too heavy.

How to do it

  • Load the Trap Bar with the weight that you prefer (start with the lighter weights).
  • Stand at the center of the bar while keeping your feet shoulder-width apart. 
  • Hold the bar at the handles by bending comfortably with your hips and knees.
  • Keep your back flat and lift your hips slightly to produce tension in your hamstrings and legs.
  • Drive your feet into the floor. Then stand straight upwards.
  • Stop briefly for a second at the top of the movement before slowly lowering the weight down back to the starting position.
  • Perform eight to twelve reps.

6. Squats

If you’re a complete beginner and the other exercises are still not right up your alley, then Basic Squats are the best box jump alternative for you! Before you aim for box jumps, you first need to execute this bodyweight workout in good form. That way, you can build a solid foundation and improve your plyometric movements.

How to do it

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Lower your hips down until your hips pass your knees.
  • Maintain your lumbar curve and keep your heels down and knees in line with your toe throughout the movement.
  • Do a full hip and knee extension.
  • Do as many reps as you can.

7. Lunge

Lunges is another simple and great exercise to target the major muscle groups that you activate when performing box jumps. It’s an effective way to boost your lower body strength, and it comes in many variations! With this, you’ll be able to target different muscle groups and generate explosive power, which you can use for box jumps later on!

When executing lunges, ensure that the back stays upright throughout the movement. You shouldn’t lean forward or let your upper body drop since this will add extra weight to your knee joints and may cause you injuries. Aside from that, do large steps when executing lunges so you can get into a lower position, giving you maximum results.

If you want to make this exercise more challenging, you can add a weighted vest or hold dumbbells. However, make sure that you first master the form before attempting to add weights.

How to do it

  • Stand upright and keep your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • With your left leg, take a large step forward. Make sure that your heel touches the ground first, not your left foot.
  • Then, lower your body until your thigh is parallel and your knee is at a 90-degree angle. 
  • Using your left leg, drive yourself upwards, going to the starting position.
  • Repeat the same movement on your right leg.
  • Do as many reps as necessary and repeat the same number of reps on the other leg.

8. Explosive Step-Up

This box jump alternative is a way to build power on one leg as single-leg and two-leg plyometric exercises tend to activate muscles differently. It focuses on your hips, glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves, and core. 

With explosive step-up, you’ll need a stable platform, similar to a box jump. However, it has the same landing support, making it an excellent alternative if you have the equipment. 

How to do it

  • Get a box that is about knee height.
  • Place one foot on the box while keeping the other one on the floor.
  • Move your hips back and bend your knees to get into the starting position.
  • Drive down through the box and loosen your hips to jump as high as you can.
  • Cushion your landing using both your feet so you will land safely and softly.
  • Repeat as many reps as you prefer.

9. 2-Pause Vertical Jump

This box jump alternative is an excellent way of building power for strength workouts. When performing 2-pause vertical jumps, you should pause at the bottom of the movement and the landing stance. These two positions are the most important areas to gain stability and control. 

Pausing helps you practice quickly producing force from a static, stable position. It’s also a good way to reinforce good movement and protect the knees, spine, and hips during jumping and plyometric exercises.

The 2-pause vertical jumps primarily focus on your core, calves, hamstrings, quads, hips, and glues. Also, although you don’t need any equipment to do this workout, it’s best if you execute it on a soft surface.

How to do it

  • Set-up for a jumping stance, keeping your knees bent, hips back, and feet hip-width apart.
  • Pause in that position for two seconds.
  • Jump as high as you can using your knees and hips.
  • Land as softly as you can.
  • Pause in the landing position for two seconds to complete the rep.
  • Perform as many reps as you can.

10. Ankle Bounce

This last box jump alternative is a simple introduction to jumping that activates your core and lower body to handle force absorption. The ankle bounce is one of the best exercises for beginners as it conditions the joints and prepares them for explosive loading.

This alternative mainly targets your calves, hamstrings, glutes, and core. Also, you won’t be needing any equipment, but it’s best if you use a yoga mat to soften the landing and reduce the stress on your ankle joints.

How to do it

  • Stand up straight and keep your core and hips engaged throughout the movement. 
  • Position your feet in a narrow stance of not more than one foot-width distance.
  • Do a slight bend on your knees and hop. Make sure to focus on having a soft landing.
  • Only stay on the ground for a short time and hop again from your ankles and knees.
  • Execute three sets of fifteen to twenty reps.


No one can deny that the box jump exercise is indeed a great workout that builds explosive power and lower body strength. However, it’s also not a secret that not everyone has good knees and enough strength to jump up above a box. Instead, the best thing to do is perform these 10 box jump alternative exercises! 

All of them will help you strengthen your muscles and develop more explosiveness and power. However, since most are low-impact exercises, they won’t irritate your knees or put you at risk of getting injured. Among the ten, the two box jump alternative exercises that you should not miss are squat push-press and lunges (including all its variations).

Frequently Asked Questions

When doing box jumps, you mainly develop force at a fast pace. This is essential for building strength and sports performance, as well as keeping your body healthy as you grow older.

When performing box jumps, you’re descending on a box. Because of the box, your landing softens, reducing the eccentric loading that often leads to muscular fatigue/damage. Plus, it also lessens the impact on your joints, keeping you in good shape. The landing, power, and control mechanics are all important because that’s what keeps your lower body healthy.

Essentially, to perform box jumps, all you need is a plyo box, a chair, a durable bench, or a sturdy elevated surface. If you’re a beginner at this exercise or you’ve never worked out before, it’s best that you get a lower box or elevation. Get comfortable with that first and master them before proceeding with the higher boxes. That way, you won’t end up injuring yourself.

When performing a box jump, aside from your throbbing legs, another sensation that you’ll feel is your heart beating fast. With that, not only do you burn an incredible amount of calories through the explosive motion, but you also train your coordination, endurance, and strength. So, if you want to shed some weight, then box jumps should be in your routine!

If you want to alter the difficulty of box jumps, then remove the box! Start with progression training using regular jumping exercises until you build up enough jumping ability. 

Otherwise, try doing box jump alternatives that suit your fitness level. If you try the ten box jump substitutes listed above, you’ll be able to get the same results since they target the same muscle groups as box jumps. Also, they can even help you prepare for your next attempt at a box jump exercise!

Box jumps are one of the most efficient workouts that you can do every day. It does a great job at keeping your heart rate up and sculpting your calves. Also, when done daily, it helps increase your strength and muscle tone as well as build your upper and lower body strength like no other! 

However, if you are experiencing any pain in your knees or ankles, it’s best to skip this exercise until you fully recover. No matter how soft your landing is, it can still aggravate your injury the moment that your feet touch the ground in the wrong way.

The ideal starting point is around eighteen to thirty inches high. Although the height will vary depending on a person’s jumping ability. Usually, younger athletes might need to start with twelve to eighteen inches. While an individual with 36 inches and above vertical might prefer to go higher than thirty inches.

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