Box Step Variations

  • Creator
  • #13159
    Felipe Q

    For my strength building portion in your time crunched plan, I have been doing my box steps wearing a 45 pound weight vest and holding a 50 pound dumbbell in each hand while being careful not to swing them on the way up. I have reached the limit of my grip strength for holding dumbbells for 4 reps, and know that my 5-6 rep max is far higher than my current 145 pounds I am lifting. TftNA shows the box steps being done with a heavy barbell across the back of the shoulders, I presume to create some instability in the movement to work the core. I’m just wondering if there is a machine that I can substitute for the box step, such as a single leg declined leg press machine that will do the trick. This will allow me to safely increase my weight as I am a bit leery about stepping onto a box with one leg and 200 pounds on my shoulders. Thanks for any tips.

  • Keymaster
    Scott Johnston on #13171

    If you can do a box step with 200lbs on your shoulders you don’t need to do this exercise. You have more than adequate general strength for any sort of mountain type goal I can imagine. At this stage you might consider transferring this general strength into an even more sport specific activity. I’d suggest Hill Sprints as described on our book on pages 230 and 231. Keep in mind that you need a very steep (30-50% gradient works best) hill or a set of stairs for this maximum power effort. With your strength you might need to use your weight vest. Another option if you gym has a sled to push or pull is to use that for 8-10 second max sprints. These exercises will build more specific leg power for climbing steeply up hill.


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