Frank Salvatore
Health and Lifestyle

The Hidden Gem at the Gym: The Low Box

July 1, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

While the thought of the term “aerobics” may seem dated, the low box that you probably pass up at every gym visit may actually be a great part of a well-rounded exercise regimen. Low box exercises are effective because they require precision, cardiovascular strength, and quick moving muscles. Low box workouts can be intense, even if they look like a reminder of the past.

Benefits

Low box drills The drill activate the fast-twitch muscle fibers in the legs, which in turn stimulates fat loss while improving your muscle power. This is a low impact way to get in a great cardio workout, as the box is only a few inches off the ground, so you are not landing harshly on your knees or ankles like you are while running. The small and precise movements are quick and do not require you to put your entire weight on any joint at one time.

How to Use the Low Box

Using the low box can be done as a warm up, a cool down, or sporadically throughout your workout routine. Because it requires coordination and concentration, it is best to get the hang of it before increasing to a maximum speed. A simple way to start working with the low box is practicing an “up up down down” routine to get the feel of the box and your ability to grasp it with your feet. Do small and quick steps for 20 seconds before resting for 10. Continue to repeat this as a five minute warm up.

More Intense Workouts

Once you are able to get the feel of the low box, try more complicated exercises, such as the side step crossover. In this exercise, you will tap the top of the box with your right foot before landing on your left and then crossing your right foot in front of your left for a quick tap before repeating. Do spurts of this for 20 seconds on each side to get an even workout.

You can also introduce a travel with the side step. Do the side step exercise, with or without the crossover, while slowly moving to the front and to the back of the low box. This will work the smaller muscles of the calves and hamstrings.

When you are comfortable with the width of the low box, begin doing exercises that include a hop over from one side to the other. Do quick crossover moves that have you end up on either side of the box, or do a side shuffle, where your body primarily stays in the middle of the low box while your feet move on and off of it on either side.

Burst and Hold

Doing small exercises and holding the pose for about three seconds allows your muscles to engage while you are balancing. Keeping balance during these quick exercises is tough and if you have to stop your autopilot for a few seconds, it surprises your body into strength training those muscles even further. An example of this is to do five scissor steps on to the low box and then hold with one leg up for three seconds before continuing.

Also, don’t shy away from making 180 degree turns. Jumping in a half circle with the low box between your legs and holding the pose for about three seconds before jumping again is great for the inner and outer thighs.

Strength Training

The low box can also be used for slower strength training such as quad lifts and push ups. Incorporate these slower muscle building exercises into the cardio training for a full body workout.

The low box is an underrated tool at the gym that can provide a lot of benefits with such a simple piece of equipment. From strength training to cardio, from arms to legs, this is an effective workout that is easy to get into and master.

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Frank Salvatore