T Nation

Box Height

What are the advantages of different box heights for the box squat? I think powerlifters usually use a box 1 inch below parallel, but I occasionally hear talk about high box squats and low box squats.

Also, what would be the application of this for someone who squats olympic style? I’ve tried box squats on a 7 inch box, but would I benefit from using a higher box if my sticking point is higher?

First are you lifting Westside style?
If you are use a box at parallel or 1" below on DE day. Go as wide as possible. Remember the box squat, among many other reasons, is used to put a greater stretch and the load of the squat on the squatting muscles (hips, hams, low back). You could use a box up to 1"-3" above parallel for 1. A change in on ME day 2. Need to work on a sticking point. 3. Need to work on more hip flexibility since you will be sitting farther back than in a regular squat. Dont use it too much on ME day only for a couple weeks then switch back. ME day stance is shoulder width or a little more if you didnt already know that. Olympic style box squatting? It is my opinion olympic style is pointless and I probably just started another debate.

hfrogs00, what do you mean by “ME day stance is shoulder width or a little more if you didnt already know that.” We squat very wide on DE day most of the time as we would in a meet. I don’t have a ton of reasons to olympic squat either but when performed truly deep, the glutes and quads are heavily involved and with all the pulling and wide squatting we do, the quads are sometimes neglected.

Derek,
Do what you need to do and what works for you. I dont Olympic squat or even do anything for my quads and they are fine but thats me. Even if I were to free squat and wanted to go deep I wouldnt Olympic squat. I have good hip flexibility and sitting back as far as I can in the free squat hits the hams great and I still get pretty low. Just think about when you are on the platform are your quads going to make or break your squat. No. They will make you look good but do nothing for your squat. I am not trying to start a squat technique debate because everyone has their own opinion and will most likely stick to it. But its always good to make people think. What I meant by the shoulder width ME stance comment was I was not sure if he knew that from Westside methods or not. Let me know if I missed the point of your question because I have been getting sidetracked while writing this.

on my dyanmic squat day i want it to be exactly like a competition squat…some like there box 1 inch below parrellel… I personally like my dyanmic box EXACTLY at parrellel wich is 14 inches for me…i like it at parrellel and i like to use my exact comeptition stance so when i go to competition its so engraved in my brain i know where exact depth and stance are…on mqax effort day i use a close to medium stance usually very close with work boots on and i liek to squat to a low box i use 10 or 12 inch box on max effort low box squat days…bm

actually, the quadriceps are still a prime mover, regardless what method you use. to say that the quads do nothing for your squat is really quite ridiculous. fortunately for you, your quad strength is adequate to match your glute/ham strength and doesn’t impair your squat. others of us, myself included have to do more than just ME box squat once every 3 weeks or our squat numbers suffer.

true for most, quad strength is not an issue since most have inadequate posterior strength…but for those of us who have been training westside for a while with lots of posterior work, it’s important not to completely neglect the quads.

Boondoc has it right. Yeah, hips and hams are essential when squatting especially when it’s with a wide stance but squatting is not just about hip extension. Don’t forget all that knee extension. Remember that one moves from full extension of the knee (standing) to 90 degrees of knee flexion (concentrically) (or better) back to full extension again (standing). All that knee extension CANNONT be performed by the hamstrings. Knee extension is the job of the quads almost exclusively.

Boondoc,
Like I said I am not trying to start a squat technique debate. Hams, low back, hips, abs, and hip flexors make or break a squat. I do far more than just ME day squatting. I train the chain and abs hard and the flexors when needed. We could sit here and debate this until we are blue in the face and not get anywhere. Do what you do and as long as you get stronger I have no problem. Good luck.

I did forget to put the glutes in the mix of the post chain list. But I will try to clarify my position a little more. I am not saying the quads are not involved in the squat. I am specifically saying waht makes or breaks the squat. If my squat stalls I will not look at my quads as the problem. No matter how strong your chain and abs are they can be stronger.

OK, most of this is old news to me. We all realize that the posterior chain is what makes or breaks any squat. The quads are prime movers, but having the quads too strong compared to the glutes and hams can cause the knees to extend faster than the hips and get you into a chaotic event.

As far as my training, no, I am not using Westside (gasp!). I am using conjugated periodization, however. I do squats (or good-mornings, GHRs, etc) on Monday, deadlifts (all sorts) on Thursday. I want to add sort of a DE day on Saturday, using box squats most of the time. I am not training specificly for powerlifting, just to get stronger in the lifts I like to do.

As far as my squatting style, my feet are about shoulder width apart, and I go down until my hamstrings touch my calves. I guess I don’t know if this is what is meant by “Olympic style”, so forgive me if I was wrong, but I just don’t like the term “ATG” and was looking for some other way to describe it.

As far as my question, I’m just wondering about the reasons for different box heights. I want to vary the box height on my DE days and occasionally use box squats as an ME movement. My sticking point is slightly above parallel.

train your sticking point. put the box height at your sticking point and go with it. the reason for varying the box height is to train different points in the ROM…just like varying boards or towels or rugs for the bench.

we weren’t trying to give you old news or belittle your intellect, just trying to clarify something else that came up in the post for other folks.

Thanks Boondoc and Martin.
Anyone else have anything to add?