8 Low-Impact Box Jump Alternatives
Explore best box jump alternatives for beginners and those with a knee injury. Add these lower-impact exercises to your workout to get all the benefits of box jumps.
Table of Contents
- Box Jump Benefits We Want to Achieve With Alternatives
- 8 Low-impact Box Jump Alternatives
- Wrapping Up
Box jumps are a well-rounded exercise that can improve leg strength and power, as well as endurance. However, if you are new to fitness or suffer from weak or painful knees, it may not be the best option. In this article, we offer many low-impact alternative exercises that provide similar benefits without overloading your knees.
Box Jump Benefits We Want to Achieve With Alternatives
The box jump is a plyometric exercise that works the legs by jumping from the floor to an elevated surface, like a box.
Plyometric exercises are characterized by the stretching of a muscle followed by a rapid contraction of the latter, and for this reason, they involve jumping or skipping motions. Thanks to its metabolic and biomechanics requirements, plyometric training help facilitate the development of muscular strength, speed, endurance, and power.  
Box jumps are a great way to develop more powerful legs, as they work all the muscles of the lower body. However, they can also improve core strength as trunk muscles must be engaged to perform this exercise correctly and maintain good posture. In addition, the arms are also engaged to some level to maintain balance during the jumping and landing phases.
Despite being a great exercise, some people may need to refrain from box jumps due to weak or injured knees or if they are new to training and require more beginner-friendly options. 
The good news is that there are plenty of other lower-impact alternatives that produce similar results.
With box jump alternatives, we aim to target, first, lower-body muscles, second, core, and then arms for balance.
8 Low-impact Box Jump Alternatives
Below, you can find a list of box jump substitute exercises that are easier on the joints of the lower body.
You can use the following exercises to create your own low-impact leg and glute workout, or alternatively, you can use a workout-builder app to design your own.
This no-equipment alternative can be performed with faster or slower movements, depending on one’s ability and fitness level. Squat thrusts, like box jumps, work the legs, arms, and core, and depending on the speed, they can be a great way to also work on speed and power.
Place yourself in an extended plank position, then jump with your legs towards your chest. Then push through your legs to get into a standing position.
This is the non-plyometric version of box jumps, making them one of the main alternatives for those with bad knees. The stepper used can be of different heights, depending on one’s needs and capabilities.
Stand in front of a stepper, then step on it with your left foot. Push through the left leg to move your body up and achieve a standing position on top of the stepper, then move the right leg back to step down on the floor. Repeat on both legs.
Similar to box jumps, this exercise works all the muscles of the legs and core. However, the lack of jumping exerts less force on the knees making them suitable for those with injuries, but this also means that it does not have the same effect on the development of power and speed.
From a standing position, move one leg forward and bend the knee to lunge down, keeping your core engaged. Push through that leg to move back onto a standing position, then repeat on the other leg.
This CrossFit-style exercise is a great substitute for box jumps to gain strength in your legs, core, and arms. If you perform it quickly, you can also develop speed and power.
Using a barbell or two dumbbells, hold the weights at chest height. Squat down, then push through the legs to stand up whilst also pushing through your arms to extend them and raise the weights above your head.
Squats & Squats Variations
This box jump alternative requires no jumping, making it easier on the knees. There are plenty of different squat variations which can be performed either with or without equipment, making it one of the more versatile substitutions. Here, we offer the Goblet squat variation with press.
Hold the weights at your chest. From a standing position with your feet hip-width apart, hinge back at the hips and bend your knees to squat down. Then, push through your legs to stand up and press the weights overhead. Then, lower the weights and repeat the sequence.
If you feel more confident in your knees, you can try jump squats as a closer alternative to box jumps.
This is a valuable alternative for box jumps as it works the muscles in the legs and the core while also developing power and endurance.
Stand upright whilst holding a kettlebell down between your legs using both hands. Hinge backward at the hips to swing the kettlebell back between the legs. Then push through your glutes to swing the kettlebell up to chest height, making sure to engage your core throughout.
Reverse-lunge Knee Up
This box jump alternative can be performed at home as it doesn’t require any equipment. This exercise works the leg muscles as well as the core but is gentler on the knees as it doesn’t involve jumping.
From a standing position, step back with your left leg and bend the right knee to lunge down. Then push through the right leg to get back onto a standing position. In the meantime, move the left leg to the front and lift it up to the chest by bending the knee. Lower the leg down, and repeat on the other side.
Climbing stairs, when done quickly, can be a suitable alternative to box jumps as it works the muscles of the legs, glutes, core, and upper body but is a lower-impact exercise than jumping on a box. You can run stairs wherever you have steps available, either at home or outdoors.
Standing at the bottom of the steps, place one foot on the first step to begin. With your core engaged, arms bent by your sides, and a slight forward lean in your body, make your way up the stairs at a fast pace to get the heart rate up.
You can also try different variations, such as stepping on every second step or climbing the stairs facing sideways. The key is to keep your body upright and core engaged to help you keep good posture.
There are plenty of low-impact box jump alternatives that greatly benefit one’s strength and health. Below we summarize the main key points about box jump alternative exercises:
- Box jumps are a plyometric exercise that mainly works the leg and core muscles.
- Plyometric training uses rapid muscular stretching and contraction motions, such as jumping and skipping, to complete a movement.
- Plyometric exercises can help develop strength, speed, power, and endurance.
- People suffering from weak or painful knees should refrain from performing box jumps. Those new to training may also find this exercise hard to execute correctly; therefore, other low-impact alternatives may be better suited to achieve similar results.
- Some box jump alternatives can be done at home as they can be performed using one’s body weight, whilst others may require access to some equipment.