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Box Squats Replacing Squats

Is there any problem with replacing squats completely with box squats in a program that centers around squats. For instance replacing all squats in a linear 5x5 with box squats.

Or in westside for skinny viking bastards replacing the 2-3 sets of higher rep squats with box squats.

I’m thinking that chances are it’s fine. I’ve read a few places that spine injuries and such can occur, and the only real rebuttal against that was by Louie Simmons his rebuttal made a lot of sense but he was talking about speed squats with a lot less weight in comparison to a max effort or near max effort attempt. Anyone with experience your input is appreciated.

On a side note has anyone noticed how much easier it is to hit parallel on a box squat. I got a friend of mine who has the tightest hamstrings/ hips of anyone I can think of,and when he tries to free squat I think he is going to blow a spinal disc to do a damn near perfect box squat after only a few moments.

everything has its place.

How you going to squat in a comp with no box?

bac injuries etc only happen when a box squat is performed wrong… therefore its not the box squat that injured the athlete, its stupidity. the main one is “falling” on to the box over the last 2-3 inch and then using some forward momentum to get the weight back up, usually resulting in a good morning. this is simply fixed by leaving your ego at the door!

Box squats are great, but I wouldn’t rule out the rest. dont make the box a crutch.

if your using it for a depth indicator, theres other things you can use too.

back to your question, depends what the 5x5 program is… is it 5x5, - add a little more weight each set like bill stars?

The spine injury thing is bullshit… if your form is good. As far as replacing squating with box squats, and this is speaking from experience, don’t do it. Not for everything anyway. Like it has been mentioned, everything has it’s place. I switched all of my squatting to box squats for the last 2 years because I broke my back and free squatting heavy weights scared the shit out of me.

My box squats got awesome (680 for my best), so did my deadlift, but my free squats went to shit(660, which isnt terrible but no improvement=shitty). Personally, I think it is because you teach your body to not rebound out of the hole when you break up the eccentric/concentric action (like when you sit on a box).

Box squats are excellent for teaching form, dynamic efforts, and occasional max effort work. As far as it taking the place of your free squats, that’s not a good idea.

If you do it for a program that uses percents of your max, then make sure you’re using percentages based on your box squat max. If you’re going to compete, then I’d do a 6-12 week phase that incorporated more free squats before the meet.

[quote]thosebananas wrote:
everything has its place.

How you going to squat in a comp with no box?

bac injuries etc only happen when a box squat is performed wrong… therefore its not the box squat that injured the athlete, its stupidity. the main one is “falling” on to the box over the last 2-3 inch and then using some forward momentum to get the weight back up, usually resulting in a good morning. this is simply fixed by leaving your ego at the door!

Box squats are great, but I wouldn’t rule out the rest. dont make the box a crutch.

if your using it for a depth indicator, theres other things you can use too.

back to your question, depends what the 5x5 program is… is it 5x5, - add a little more weight each set like bill stars?

[/quote]

Yeah basically. The template where you add 2.5% over your previous 5 for a triple then the following monday do it for five (The one everyone think was written by madcow)

Right now however I’m doing ws4sb with my brother and cousin as we’re pretty active during the summer months (and it is easier to be competitive with one another)

[quote]StormTheBeach wrote:
The spine injury thing is bullshit… if your form is good. As far as replacing squating with box squats, and this is speaking from experience, don’t do it. Not for everything anyway. Like it has been mentioned, everything has it’s place. I switched all of my squatting to box squats for the last 2 years because I broke my back and free squatting heavy weights scared the shit out of me.

My box squats got awesome (680 for my best), so did my deadlift, but my free squats went to shit(660, which isnt terrible but no improvement=shitty). Personally, I think it is because you teach your body to not rebound out of the hole when you break up the eccentric/concentric action (like when you sit on a box).

Box squats are excellent for teaching form, dynamic efforts, and occasional max effort work. As far as it taking the place of your free squats, that’s not a good idea.[/quote]

Personally I doubt I’ll ever compete. I’m more interested in athleticism (a big squat as well). Today was my first day actually doing box squats, and I have to say I loved them everything felt so much more powerful. I could focus on pushing the weight instead of everything else thats going through my head in a free squat. For our assistance we did some higher rep squats after working up to our 5rms. I ended up getting 16 for 2 sets with what I though I was going to get for 8 or 9, and my partner got 20 with the same weight. As the fatigue set in it seemed like it was easier to focus on the pushing the weight.

I realise for a powerlifter that doing no free squatting would be retarded, but as far as someone who would be content with a big box squat whats your opinion on that STB?

On the side I’ve read about your deadlift on these forums and no that you pull more then most people will ever hope to. Louie mentions in a few places that box squats have a lot of carryover to the deadlift. Do you think a lot of your Deadlift strength carried over from box squatting?

well if you want a big squat youre going to need to squat deep, without a box. box squats are good temporarily but for the most part you should be doing regular ol squats ! a big box squat isnt impressive, because its not a real squat lol, but box squats are useful for developing upper squat strength. but you also need to develop your lower squat strength, which can only be done with deep squats !

I had the same problem as Stormthebeach. I followed what Louie said and performed all of my squats -even ME- on a box. My box squat went up alot, but my free squat only decreased. When I went back to free squats, I felt very unstable out of the hole. I wouldn’t recommend replacing free squats even for general athleticism, because I personally found that my hamstrings had weakened from only box squatting.

PS: after reviewing video of my box squats during that time, I realized I hadn’t been box squatting properly.

I had the same experience doing a 16 week program that used box squats and front squats but no free back squats. My deadlift responded well and I got good at box squatting, but I forgot how to squat without the box and my free squat ended up going down.

I think if you are going to do a ramped 5x5 or volume/light/intensity 5x5 sets across, you should stick to free squats and consider doing box squats on the light day.

i read somewhere that box squats were great if you can free squat more then you box squat. it also said that if you box squat more then you free squat that your either box squatting wrong (not sitting back) or box squats are no longer of need to you since your hams are up to par. dont know if thats entirely true but it makes sense.

[quote]Elite0423 wrote:
i read somewhere that box squats were great if you can free squat more then you box squat. it also said that if you box squat more then you free squat that your either box squatting wrong (not sitting back) or box squats are no longer of need to you since your hams are up to par. dont know if thats entirely true but it makes sense. [/quote]

Well the problem is that most people don’t box squat right. Most people like to rock back back and then forward again, completely defeating the whole purpose of box squats in the first place; which is to break the eccentric/concentric chain.

As a general rule, your box squat when done correctly should be approximately 90% of your free squat.

Exactly. Most people box squat wrong. Their either have too high of box or touch and go the box. You’re supposed to actually sit on the box. Even our raw lifters do the vast majority of their squats to a box. It works. You do it right and you’ll develop the posterior chain faster which makes your squat go up faster. I’ve never seen a new lifter with weak quads and strong hamstrings. It’s always the other way around.

[quote]Wild_Iron_Gym wrote:
Exactly. Most people box squat wrong. Their either have too high of box or touch and go the box. You’re supposed to actually sit on the box. Even our raw lifters do the vast majority of their squats to a box. It works. You do it right and you’ll develop the posterior chain faster which makes your squat go up faster. I’ve never seen a new lifter with weak quads and strong hamstrings. It’s always the other way around.[/quote]

So what I’m gathering is that box squats when performed properly (box a couple of inches below depth and a good 1 second pause) are great for building the free squat, and that it’s ok to box squat a lot just make sure that if you want your free squat to go up that you free squat from time to time to keep in the groove?

[quote]Smith K wrote:

[quote]Wild_Iron_Gym wrote:
Exactly. Most people box squat wrong. Their either have too high of box or touch and go the box. You’re supposed to actually sit on the box. Even our raw lifters do the vast majority of their squats to a box. It works. You do it right and you’ll develop the posterior chain faster which makes your squat go up faster. I’ve never seen a new lifter with weak quads and strong hamstrings. It’s always the other way around.[/quote]

So what I’m gathering is that box squats when performed properly (box a couple of inches below depth and a good 1 second pause) are great for building the free squat, and that it’s ok to box squat a lot just make sure that if you want your free squat to go up that you free squat from time to time to keep in the groove?[/quote]

2 sec pause. A legit, 2 sec pause. And no rocking; on your way back up, you should be starting from a dead, momentumless stop. And I would still free squat from time to time, yes. Probably every third week or so. But that is just me.

[quote]Chap Manly wrote:

[quote]Smith K wrote:

[quote]Wild_Iron_Gym wrote:
Exactly. Most people box squat wrong. Their either have too high of box or touch and go the box. You’re supposed to actually sit on the box. Even our raw lifters do the vast majority of their squats to a box. It works. You do it right and you’ll develop the posterior chain faster which makes your squat go up faster. I’ve never seen a new lifter with weak quads and strong hamstrings. It’s always the other way around.[/quote]

So what I’m gathering is that box squats when performed properly (box a couple of inches below depth and a good 1 second pause) are great for building the free squat, and that it’s ok to box squat a lot just make sure that if you want your free squat to go up that you free squat from time to time to keep in the groove?[/quote]

2 sec pause. A legit, 2 sec pause. And no rocking; on your way back up, you should be starting from a dead, momentumless stop. And I would still free squat from time to time, yes. Probably every third week or so. But that is just me.
[/quote]

i dont think a 2 sec pause is necessary but your ass should be way back on the box. your shins should be past perpendicular to the floor and the only way for you to stand up should be by leg curling your self off the box if that makes any sense. watch some louie videos or read am elitefts article on it. box squats are extremely hard and will do wonders for your deadlift and squat (to a certain degree).

For me box squats are especially great if you lift in gear whether it be wearing briefs or a suit with the straps down or full on with the straps up. Since the gear more or less stops you at a point determined by the suits tightness etc. The box sort of simulates that environment in that you don’t have to worry about going too deep. Since the suit more or less holds one up in the hole they more or less just have to lift the weight at that point.

Doing box squats exclusively absolutely destroyed my stretch reflex. When I did a free squat I had to use about 75# less than my box squat numbers because when reaching parallel I had become used to de-loading on the box so I nearly got drilled into the floor when free squatting.

I fixed my little problem by one free squatting more often. About every other week at first then “as needed” since. I also switched to dynamic free squats. Having to “turn the weight around” with shit loads of band tension has been a great tool for me.

As far as the depth issue goes do what suits you best. Do high box, low box, parallel box,you’ll get benefits from all heights- much like board presses and rack pulls. I do quite well with building my lifts from the top down meaning doing high boxes(2-4") with a heavier weight than I’d normally use. Then the next week lower the box an inch or two but keep the same weight.

On a side note, whatever I can do with a 3" high box is equal to my free squat #. And my raw half squat is the same as my geared free squat. Indicators…if you don’t have any figure some out. They will gage your progress.
Hope this helps.

Elite0423, Idk dave Tate once suggested to me to pause for up to 2 sec. I’ve found that by pausing for that long, there’s no way that you can -without realizing it- be using momentum for assistance.

And in reference to box squats for deadlifts, I have found that my 1RM on a 2" high box is always within 10-20 lbs of my DL.

[quote]Smith K wrote:

[quote]Wild_Iron_Gym wrote:
Exactly. Most people box squat wrong. Their either have too high of box or touch and go the box. You’re supposed to actually sit on the box. Even our raw lifters do the vast majority of their squats to a box. It works. You do it right and you’ll develop the posterior chain faster which makes your squat go up faster. I’ve never seen a new lifter with weak quads and strong hamstrings. It’s always the other way around.[/quote]

So what I’m gathering is that box squats when performed properly (box a couple of inches below depth and a good 1 second pause) are great for building the free squat, and that it’s ok to box squat a lot just make sure that if you want your free squat to go up that you free squat from time to time to keep in the groove?[/quote]

I don’t think you have to be a couple of inches below, but yes. If you’re weak in the hole, then training a off a little lower box will definitely make you stronger in the hole. You’re right that you need to free squat some to keep the groove.

pause squats are awesome

Box squats are a tool to be used appropriately, nothing more.

Replacing free squats entirely with box squats when you want to squat a lot without a box is like trying to drill holes with a hammer.