By Derek Grant, CSCS
Want to incinerate fat? Look no further than the box pushes, which offer tremendous bang for your exercise buck. They simultaneously develop power and burn body fat while improving muscle balance, posture and strength. In other words, they are a great exercise to crank up the intensity in your training as they work calves, quads, hamstrings, glutes, chest, triceps, low back and core.
Not many exercises will leave you short of breath, sweaty and spent after only a short period of time. An added benefit? Box pushes help torch visceral belly fat - the fat that surrounds the organs inside the abdominal cavity - which is the most dangerous kind of body fat as it puts you at risk for diabetes, heart failure and in some cases cancer.
Box pushes, while challenging, are appropriate for a wide variety of exercisers - including those with joint issues who avoid sprinting for concerns about knee or back pain. The slower speeds of box pushes (even box push sprints) make it a safer choice than traditional sprinting. And box pushes do not lead to muscle soreness because the exercise lacks most of the eccentric contraction primarily responsible for delayed-onset muscle soreness - the dreaded DOMS. (DOMS is the reason your legs are sore for days after a heavy squat session. The reason your legs feel like Jell-O after pushing the box is a result of lactic acid build up, which dissipates soon after completion.)
Here are a few tips for performing box pushes with correct form:
- Keep your back flat and arms out straight with hands resting on box.
- Maintain proper posture as you push off the ball of your front foot and drive through with your opposite knee in a sprinting motion.
- Keep head level and gaze straight ahead to avoid getting dizzy.
- Push/sprint as fast as you can.