T Nation

Box Squats

I’ve recently realized that my squat for is atrocious and I lean forward way too much, and don’t really sit down. I think the solution would be a box for squats. I tried using a bench in the gym, but it’s too high and I barely’s need to move to sit down. Was wondering if there’s a place online to buy a cheap box or what not for squats, and carry it to the gym on leg days. Thanks

The easiest thing is just to build your own. All you need are some 2x4’s and a piece of plywood.

For easily adjustable boxes, just make a square frame from the 2x4’s (place them on edge and screw them together), with an additional one running diagonal from one corner to the other. Then attach a 1/2" piece of plywood to the top. You now have a 4" high box. Make a few of them, and get some thin rubber sheets to place between them to prevent slipping.

Personally, I cut handles into the side of the boxes for ease of transport

Build one.


First off, you don’t want to sit down when squatting, you want to sit back. It’s a subtle, powerful difference. I learned (at a Westside Barbell seminar) to think of doing a 1/2-range, or 1/4-range good morning first, and then squat back. That should help to kick your hips in the right direction.

As for something you can bring to the gym, good luck. Most places freak out with any equipment at all, let alone a decent-sized box. I’ve heard some people use milk crates, but that seems unsturdy to me. I’m sure there are recipes to build your own, floating around somewhere, I just don’t have any for you. Sorry I’m useless in that respect. :frowning:

A better bet, rather than use the bench, is to commandeer a step bench or two from the aerobics room. They should have adjustable risers, to play with the height.

Thanks. Gonna try the steppers. Any other advice on my squats is appriciated. This whole time I thought I was doing a solid job. Then a russian guy came up to me who’s been squatting since he was tiny lad, and told me I was bending forward too much and weight was unbalanced. I’ve been trying to sit back with a straight back but

a.I can only do it with about 95 pounds.
b. I feel like I am going to fall backwards.
c. I still don’t really sit back, but simply go down (imagine you’re playing hide and go seek, and you hear the seeker walking, and you simply sit down) now imagine me with 135 pound barbell and my back totally leaned forward.

Can’t wait tos tart doing box squats properly.

to sit back think of pushing your butt backwards. your hamstrings should feel real tight and they’ll probably limit how much you can box squat for a while. read every article at elite fitness that was written by the staff and looks like it might pertain to squatting.

What helped my squat form more than anything was getting a copy of a westside squat workout tape. I watched it and learned that you start by breaking at the hips to sit back initially and then you sort of squat straight down by forcing your knees out on both the way down and up. It is sometimes referred to as opening your groin. You can see Chuck V. doing this and there is also an article at elitefts where Jim Wendler describes with good detail how to accomplish this.

This is what it says (parts 5,6,7 anyway):
5. Begin your squat descent by leading your body down with your hips and glutes. Maintain the arch in your lower and upper back. If you are having a problem sitting back into the squat, you may have to lean your forward. This is not dangerous as long as you keep your upper and lower back arched. About 60-70% of the weight should be distributed on your heels.

  1. When you are about half way down, begin pushing your knees out and opening up your groin. This is what has been called ?spreading the floor? but I have found that the term ?open your groin? or ?show your groin? or ?open the knees? to be better terms when teaching people how to squat. Also, by pushing your knees out and opening your groin, you will have an easier time reaching parallel and will reach it quicker. Now the weight will be shifted to your heels and the sides of your feet.

  2. For many people, once they sit back into the squat and open the hips, at this point they can simply squat down. Once your body is in perfect position, opening the hips will allow them to hit parallel without pushing back. This may be difficult to see when you read this, but try it out on a box with someone watching your knees. If you do it correctly then your knees will not move (they will remain over your ankles) when you squat down. The key is learning how and when to open you groin. This will take practice and some more practice; this is something that you will not get correct after a few tries, so be patient.

Here’s the link to the article:


if I built a box squat I’d probably break it faster then it wouldt ake me to build it. For those of you who have built em, how much do they weigh, and do you carry them with you to the gym?

PS. Previous post was great. Appreciate it.

You could also use an adjustable shoulder press chair. Very stable, and allows you to adjust the seat height.

I use milk crate and add 1 or 2 2x10s depending on what height I want. I’ve had me + 520 sittin on one (and trying in vain to get up) so they are pretty strong.

what’s your stance like ?

When squatting think of that first movement as if you are fucking…hips go right back. As for the stance, the wider your feet the shorter the distance you have to travel. Find a stance that is comfortable then move your feet farther apart.

The best thing I have seen to use as a box for squatting is take the step blocks from the aerobic room and then put a piece of mat that you would find on the floor on top of the blocks. It makes for a nice platform. Also, make sure when you sit back on the box you do not bounce off of it. It is NOT a spring. You need to sit all the way back on it and then kind of roll back and then pop off of it. Tricky movement at first. Good luck