“I can’t think of a more versatile tool to increase foot speed, coordination, deceleration training and varying levels of the stretch shortening cycle training,.." -Lee Taft
Box drills are one of my very favorite cross training activities. They are an excellent addition to any athlete's regimen from any sport—especially for anyone desiring a quick burst of speed. Some gyms are starting to put out boxes in the free weight area, which shows their up-and-coming popularity. For those unfamiliar with box drills, the boxes are actually very, very sturdy elevated platforms. Generally there are a series of boxes—small, medium, and large....
Have box..will train.
So you have a box, now what? If you are working on speed, try standing on top of the box, hopping down (falling—not “jumping” off per se). When you reach the ground, you pounce off as quickly as possible landing back on top of the box. Resting or re-balancing is done on top of the box for this drill. You'll do 3-4 sets of 6-12 reps. You can add light ankle weights or dumb bells. You don't really want to add any heavy weights to a speed drill like this one.
Some more drills
If you are more interested in using the box drills for strength training, you can add a weight bar over your shoulders, a backpack, heavier ankle weights and dumb bells. For strength training, you'll base your movements from the ground and work on jumping up (rather than starting on top of the box hopping down). You can jump two-footed or one foot at a time. If you are trying one-footed jumps, this will not only improve strength but also balance and core strength. For your first one-footed jumps, try the smallest box available first and work your way up to the taller boxes.
You can also work on lateral movements with the small box. Rather than hopping up and down on the box, you'll simply hop from side to side. This can be both a strength and speed drill. The box can also be used during weight training. For example, you can do toe raisers for your calves, squats, and stepping/thrusting exercises for the lower body. The box is also great for stretching. Need a cardio workout on a rainy day? Use box jumps in place of jumping rope.
Boxes can be made from sturdy, weighted wood or metal with traction devices on the bottom or purchased at exercise stores.