T Nation

Any Input to Bring My Squat Up?


After 1rm testing this week, I just barely hit 375 on a safety bar box squat after a failed attempt, yet I pulled a very solid 505 deadlift. I'm frankly sick of this discrepancy and thought it's time I come here for some feedback. I have a strong feeling that given my DL numbers I can bring my squats up substantially on sheer technique modifications.

The following are just some speed sets at 50%. What jumps out at me is how little speed I have right off the box. If I set the box up just 2 inches above parallel I could most definitely handle well into the 4s.

So I appreciate any critiques on my technique as well as what I can do to improve my bar speed. Though I am not a powerlifter, I do train at a powerlifting gym so all the typical equipment is available. I am mostly training for mass, but want to take advantage of the weight gain to get as brutally strong and explosive I can.


In your first video the box looks a bit high. If you're having trouble out of the hole, maybe set it 1-2" below parallel. Secondly you lack tightness in your low back and upper back. I've only just started using a SSB and personally find a huge difference in my SSB numbers and my straight bar numbers - close to 100 lb difference (which of course shows me a variety of issues with my squat).

That being said how do your straight bar numbers compare? Also get video of straight bar (no box) for a more thorough critique. Biggest issue as I said is tightness throughout your back but some of that is from the SSB I'd say. Focus on arching back into the bar harder.


Straight bar


You think high? That height was marked for me by a few of the guys there who actually compete. He actually owns the gym and has been competed for over 40 years so I just kinda took his word. It's actually a cushion I'm going down to so there's a good 2 inches of give you probably don't see??

The weird thing is, the safety squat numbers are essentially the same as my straight bar ones.

I typically maintain tightness in my lower back, I was just trying to actually sit back onto the box this time. One of the trainers told me I wasn't doing box squats, but rather just squatting to a box if that makes sense. So it's definitely a work in progress right now to figure out how to maintain a rigid lumbar curve, while literally sitting back on the box and driving back up with the hips.

I could definitely work on upper back tightness. While it may have something to do with the safety bar, one of the coaches actually told me I have a little big of collapsing going on up there even on my deadlifts.


The trainer is quite right. I really think if you want to get the most out of your box squatting you need to sit wayyyyy farther back. Like your shins should be behind perpendicular to the floor. Then, you need to rest on the box for a split second so that your hips relax. This way, to get off the box you need to do almost like a leg curl while simultaneously firing hips and glutes to drive up. This will be much harder. Also, you need to sit gently on the box. You are losing your tightness and falling on the box and almost like bouncing off of it. Remember, sit back, stay in control, and pause on the box.


Squatting to box is different than box squats. You're somewhere in between. When you get to the box, rock back slightly deloading all tension in your hips and then rock back forward slightly and drive up keeping your knees out. Maybe you're depth is good, like I said from the video it seems high but that's not a great angle to judge from.


If you want to get faster out of the hole, do pause squats.

No box. You are not staying tight in the bottom, possibly because you know the box is there to catch you.

Have someone call your depth, go about 1 inch below //, pause for a second or even 2, then blast up.

Try this light for reps first, then gradually start trying it heavier after a few weeks. This really fixed my tightness and speed issues in the hole.