Jerk Boxes / Pulling Blocks / Jerk Blocks

Jerk Boxes / Pulling Blocks

Motivation

A few months back I attended the USAW Level 1 Certification at Waxman’s Gym.  Besides really enjoying the cert, I also came to appreciate the benefit of weightlifting technique work from pulling blocks.  Though I pissed a couple of months away day dreaming about building these, I finally got around to it this past weekend.  My plan is to build a couple different types, put some mileage on them and then report my findings regarding pros and cons of the different construction methods here.

jerk blocks construction

12″ pulling boxes under construction

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Requirements

Going into this project, my requirements for the blocks were as follows:

  • Must be stackable to accomodate various pulling heights.
  • Must be able to stack high enough to use as jerk boxes.
  • Must be able to take a serious beating.
  • Each box should be able to be used independently, e.g., you shouldn’t need a special topper piece to use a given box.
Jerk Blocks / Jerk Boxes / Pulling Blocks

Both sets of 12″ and 4″ pulling boxes

 

Design

Scouring around online I found pictures of the new Rogue boxes, some instructions posted by Greg Everett and a few other options.  I decided my first set would be based on Everett’s design, though modified as follows to meet my requirements:

  • The feature (tongue) used to interlock stacked boxes would be relocated to the top side of the box / block.  This allows any box to serve as the bottom box, whereas with Everett’s design, you have to use the one special box that doesn’t have a tongue on the bottom.
  • I added plywood to the top face of each box so that they can independently be used without requiring a special topper piece.
  • I modified the dimensions to make them a bit smaller – the footprint for my boxes are identical to the Rogue ones: 20″ x 36″
Jerk Boxes / Pulling Blocks

Boxes stacked up

 

Blocks in Action

You’ll notice the box closest to the camera bounces when the weight comes down on it at the end of the video.  This is primarily due to the unevenness of my garage and shoddy platform that the pulling blocks are sitting on.  If you take a look at the boxes furthest from the camera you’ll see very little movement.  That’s the flatter side of my garage 🙂

Where we go from Here

I haven’t used the boxes enough to report their durability, but I can say that they are most likely bomb-proof.  Not only will you improve weightlifting technique with these but you’ll get a serious strength workout moving them around.  As of today, I’ve built two sets of 12″ high boxes and two sets of 4″ high boxes.  Head over here for a write up on how much it cost to build these boxes and how that compares to commercially available options.

After playing with these boxes for a couple of weeks, I’ll likely build up a few more pairs of them to meet my requirement of being able to use the boxes for jerks.  Assuming these hold up as well as I think they will, I plan on building another set of much lighter and easier to maneuver plywood based boxes to see how well they stand up to abuse.  Stay tuned for updates on this project and let me know if you have any questions.


 

6 Comments

  • albertastrength

    July 4, 2014

    I’m assuming you didn’t just top the box with plywood, did you create crossbeams that you inserted into the middle of the boxes as extra support?

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