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Box Squat Technique

I’ve just got my copy of starting strength and have been reading a lot about perfecting my squat technique. For the last few months I have been box squatting and I really enjoy it.

I do it just as Dave Tate suggests, with my feet wide and my shins perpendicular to the ground, but this is different from that of the technique suggested when regular back squatting as defined by Mark Rippetoe in Starting Strength.

My question is would it be wrong to squat using conventional technique on to a box? By this I mean not sitting back so that my shins are perpendicular.

I am not a competitive powerlifter. I’m 18, 175 pounds, with a current squat max of 265 (up 35 pounds in the last month). I’m an athlete looking to get stronger.

Would you still be pausing and rocking at the bottom or would it be touch and go?

Squatting with a shoulder width or slightly wider stance to the box would be better than what you are doing now.

Squatting with a shoulder width or slightly wider stance without a box would be much better.

I hurt my back a few years ago, and it always caused pain to squat, but ever since I have been using the box it has been better.

I know Joe Defranco and many others are huge advocates of the box; but I guess I could try without it again.

I would pause, but I don’t rock.

I’ve found that having crazy strong hams, glutes, and low back gives me more than enough power in almost anything you’d need.

I squat almost exclusively wide.

[quote]Foenix wrote:
I would pause, but I don’t rock.[/quote]

Well I know that’s how Eric Cressey outlines the box squat in Maximum Strength (i.e. stay tight but pause on the box), albeit still with a wider stance. Shins come forward as needed, which is not too far with low bar and wide stance.

Other coaches use the box just as a depth marker, which I find still helps with hip activation, mentally.

Either way I think it’s fine. Free squats are not necessarily better.

I’m 6’0; what depth should I be box squatting to?

look in a mirror or have someone call it parallel for you. for all we know you could have really long legs or really short legs for your size which would change the height…

Shouldn’t I be going lower than parallel though?

When you check your box height in a mirror, be sure that you actually squat down to it instead of sitting down with your shins perpendicular to the ground. I see a lot of people whose box height is parallel when they sit down and keep their shins are perpendicular, but it becomes above parallel when they actually squat down to it and their knees move forwards.

Don’t overly stress the box height at first. If your hamstrings are not strong enoug yet, then a lower box position would be detrimental. Start with a higher box, and lower it over time once your hamstrings have gotten used to the movement and have gotten stronger.

[quote]luigisacs wrote:
Don’t overly stress the box height at first. If your hamstrings are not strong enoug yet, then a lower box position would be detrimental. Start with a higher box, and lower it over time once your hamstrings have gotten used to the movement and have gotten stronger.[/quote]

I suppose that would be one approach.
I would suggest you look at it from the other end. Get your box height set first(depends on your ability to keep a flat back; crease of thigh slightly below top of knee is best IMO-if you can get there with proper form) and reduce the weight to a point that you are able to execute the lift correctly (no matter what that weight may be). Remember that you are no longer ‘box squatting’ and are now using the box to mark depth only. I know many lifters that find this difficult to do after ‘box squatting’ routines; but it can be done.

If you are not a competitive multi-ply Powerlifter- why do you perform the ‘box squat’? Generally that technique is used to benefit the ‘sit back’ style of their competitive squat.

i still like box squatting with pauses especially becuase it helps me transition out of the hole.

in terms of height, i tend to use a slightly lower than parallel box to my speed work. i like to bring my feet in a little as well. i do this raw, but i actually end up wearing powerpants to help my hips out.

take from this what you want, i am competing in multiply gangster gear so my squatting style should be different…