Plyometric Boxes – Build a Pair for $40

CrossFit, Training — By on September 12, 2012 11:46 am

If you spend any time in a CrossFit gym, you will workout using plyometric boxes.   Since I am incorporating more plyo work into my sprint training, I decided to add a pair to my home garage.

I found a pair of boxes at Rogue Fitness – however each 20 inch box costs $85.  No THANKS!  I can build them myself.

After a quick search, I found a solid set of well written plans from the CrossFit Journal.

However you can build two boxes with a SINGLE sheet of plywood (not the suggested 1.5 sheets) using exactly the dimensions specified simply by laying out the pieces more intelligently.

Here’s what I mean.  The picture below show the 8 side pieces (for 2 plyometric boxes) laid out on a 4×8 foot piece of plywood.  What you don’t see is the 10”x8’ section of the plywood that is wasted material.  In their layout, you have to cut a second piece of plywood for the 17.5”x17.5” tops.

Plyometric Boxes

A better layout is shown below.  This lets you build both boxes using a single sheet of hardwood plywood.

Build your own Plyo Boxes

So for $40 and about an hour of work, I now have two solid plyometric boxes.

Homemade Plyometric Boxes

A few points to emphasize:

  • Definitely use hardwood ¾ inch plywood – don’t buy the cheap stuff
  • Pre-drill holes, use screws and not nails
  • Glue for greater strength.
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Tim Huntley , the former CEO of Ganymede Software, spends his time advising high tech start-ups, serving on the board for the Track and Field Athletes Association, and writing on his blog, An Entrepreneurial Life. Circle me on Google+.

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  • AshPTraining

    Thanks for sharing these dimensions, I have been looking into making my own boxes for a while now and have all the tool and the wood to do it. Look forward to making them up and getting my plyo training going again.

    • Tim Huntley

      One thing I forgot to mention in the article (and can’t remember if it was spelled out in CF Journal), is to make the 2 angle cuts (top and bottom of each side piece), on OPPOSITE sides of the plywood.

      • Ryan

        Yeah…thanks for sharing Tim. We will definitely try this out. I didn’t see you mention what actual angles to cut them at but have seen a couple of video’s that mention 10 degree cuts? Is this what you cut them at? Thanks.

        • Tim Huntley

          Yep, 10 degrees should be perfect.

          Good luck!

  • Patrick Timpone

    I always love it when people do things like this themselves. Why spend that much money when you can pay half as much and learn something new in the process right?

    I for one, applaud ya!

    • Tim Huntley

      Absolutely correct Patrick – my only problem is that after building the first set, I usually figure out a better way to build the next 10.

  • Dw2025

    Good work. Thanks for your idea saving the half sheet of plywood.

    • Tim Huntley

      You bet!

  • Tom Casey

    My son has a Cross Fit box and was in need of plyoboxes and I must have made 30 of them. I used 3/4″ cabinet grade plywood from Home Depot.
    The boxes get a lot of hard use in a very busy Cross Fit box and since they will nest together, and, if the are dropped hard onto each other they will jam together and ultimately the screws in the corners will strip. A block can be screwed to the inside of the top to help prevent this, but, under hard use wood screws stlll strip.
    The best way I found to make the boxes was to use 1 1/4 x 1 1/4 x 1/8 steel angle fastened to the inside of the box. You can cut the angle into 1″ or 16″ lengths and drill 5/16 holes, 3 in each leg then use 1/4 x 1 1/5 carrage bolts to joint the corners.

    • Tim Huntley

      That is outstanding advice Tom! Thank you for sharing it.

      • Tom Casey

        Thanks. You cutting template is by far the best. Wish I thought of it.
        I have other suggestions for making plyoboxes.
        If you go to Cross Fit Scranton’s site you can see some of the other things I made for the box.

        • Tim Huntley

          re: My template – thanks! I am very cheap and HATE to waste plywood :)

  • Roy H

    I’m thinking about giving this a try, In the 2nd layout what are the dimensions?

  • Andrew Dunbar

    Hi, thanks for the drawings! I have loads of 9mm (1/4” ply) so would like to use that rather than buy additional. Any tips on how to make it stronger?? Could i just brace it along the middle??

    Thanks guys!

    • Tim Huntley

      Hi Andrew,

      Just my 2 cents, but I would not encourage you to use 1/4 inch plywood. You might be able to brace it, but I wouldn’t bet my shins on it :)