Box Squat Critique


I just tried box squats today for the first time. I’ve had trouble doing squats, mostly due to tight hip flexors (I think). My knees go out way over my toes if I go rock bottom. I’m not sure if this is totally due to my tight flexors, my height (6’3"), weak posterieur chain or all of the above.

In any event, I figured I’d try box squats, to make me work on sitting back in the squat. I taped my box squats, and posted a couple reps here.

It’d be great if some experienced squatters would critique my form. This is my first time doing box squats, but I want to do them properly, so go ahead and be harsh. Thanks in advance for any help!


lower the box and sit back more

I’m not an experienced squatter, but the knees shouldn’t come forward at all in a box squat. Still, it didn’t look that bad, try to sit back more. Also, if you’re a beginner, keep the box that way, and after a few weeks lower the box a few inches. Don’t grab the lowest box immediately.

Yes, sit back more, but it looks like you are just dropping onto the box at that height, so lowering the box is NOT what you should do. Maybe increase the height of the box, start hitting those hamstrings,hips, and glutes, then start bringing the box down until about 1" below parallel.

Kind of hard to tell, but make sure you arch your lower back, then when you fire off the box, throw your head back into the bar, and fire your chest up. The process is all one motion, but sometimes people will fire with their lower body, but the process is slow because their upperbody is bent forward. I am to blame for this when I squated at my meet, cause the weight I did was easy, but it ended up being harder than it should of been due to this.

Also, when sitting back, make sure you shins are completely perpendicular with the floor, or even more back. You don’t want to get used to not sitting back enough because the benefits will not be as great for obvious reasons. Also, do not shift your hips forward on the box when you come up, you want to fire directly off the box, and no shifting.

Keep at it.

Thanks for the feedback, Landon and others.

I will try to keep the shins vertical, but I’m finding that very difficult, even with just the bar. Not sure if it’s a balance thing, or fear of falling backwards. Perhaps I’ll raise the box a bit more (even though it’s above parallel already) and make sure I don’t drop onto the box. I did notice that I was doing that on some reps.

What assistance exercises do you suggest? I don’t have a rev hyper or GHR machine, but I’ll see if I can’t find some way of doing them without the machines. Any other suggestions would be appreciated.

Thanks again,

The trick is to both arch the back and get enough forward lean to keep the bar directly above the knees. Bar-knee-foot should be vertically aligned all the way down and back up. Re-examine your video and notice that relationship. The bar is way behind your knees and as you sit on the box you have to rock forward (get the bar over your knees again) to start back up.
To get to the bottom correctly, you will need to spread your feet out more and get your knees wider. Then you HAVE TO push your butt back and fold the middle of your body over to lower yourself. For you, you need a combination of pushing the butt back way more AND getting the chest over more (while keeping the arch in the back). Do this on the way down until you reach the box. Use a higher box if you need to at first.

I just started doing box squats a few weeks ago. I read an article that Louie from westside wrote to make sure I got the form down pat. The first suggestion i could make is get out of the squat cage. You won’t be able to get your feet wide enough. Get your feet OUT almost sumo width. Westside barbellers say you cant get you feet wide enough when you squat. Here is an article with some pictures Strength Training, Bodybuilding & Online Supplement Store - T NATION LOOK HOW FAR OUT THEIR LEGS ARE! You can’t get them there in a cage! If you get your legs out you’ll feel what it is to box squat and your form will be greatly improved.

You will need to go wider if you want to keep the shins more vertical and stay balanced

More great tips. Thanks!
I will concentrate on the following tomorrow:
-take a much wider stance
-keep shins vertical
-keep the bar over my knees

I will try this outside of the rack. I lift at home, alone, so I’ll have to be wary of the load.

Question: Will box squatting help with ‘bodybuilding’ style squats (closer stance)? I would basically like to be able to do these types of squats properly as well, but right now I can’t, as I’ve noted above.

Thanks again guys, great advice.


I don’t know about other male lifters, but I can’t possibly get my legs as wide as the guy in the pic, my hips just refuse, am I the only one who has a problem with that stance?

In some people it does, and in others it doesn’t.

I find doing RDL and GM ISO holds for at least a minute help build flexibilty for rock bottom oly style squats