T Nation

Box Squats


Yesterday I did 4 sets of Box Squats, instead of regular deep squats. I tried to follow the directions outlined by Dave Tate in the paper Tmag, and I felt like it was hitting my lower body well. What does everyone think of these squats? Seeing that Dave Tate is more into power lifting, than looking good, I wonder if these squats are still good for people just looking to build muscle? If he squats 900 lbs or whatever, I am sure he has a well developed lower body, so can there be some merit? Thanks! BTW I am sorry that I don't have time to be active in all the sex related threads that seem to be so common on this board!


I personally know Dave, And while he isn't bodybuider ripped, he has great muscular size. He looks like a very in shape football lineman. He probably has about 15%-20 % bodyfat at about 285-295. That's at a height of about 5'11'-6'.
You should see some good effects on the glute ham area and lumbar musculature. Just make sure you don't let your knees travel foward, or you might strain a knee.


i've been doing them for some time now. good for powerlifting, but my thighs don't get sore no matter if i use them for max effort and go high,low, different reps, etc. west side does almost no thigh work since it isn't that useful in powerlifting. if you want looks, make sure you hit the quads, and not with just leg extensions.


I think Box Squats are great...As part of a proper strength/power macrocycle. So, You definetly could use them to get stronger, but they won't shape your legs much.
BTW, any decisions on your gear query?


So, are yoou guys saying that box squats should not be the "staple" of my lower body routine? For those who do box squats, how does the weight you use compare to the weight used for deep squats? My impression is that there are a lot of steroids at Westside, so thier quads can't help but grow! Speaking if gear, I have not decided if I will use any, I might try Nandrsol, or a similiar product.


Gear aside, the Westside methods seem to be the most efficient I've tried for a combination of strength and side. I've always been a natural lifter, and nothing I've tried has come close to their methods. They're very well researched and quite comprehensive, if you read all the entire program. Dave will tell you everything starts from absolute strength. You can refer to Dave's articles here to get a start.
Box squats are done to build explosive starting power on speed day for the squats. You would use 50%-60% of your max for 10-12 sets of two. Once you start getting fancy, you can add chains and bands. As a natural lifter, you will have to watch your volume, since most of the guys there are on gear.

You will find the box squats will hit the glute ham region, lumbar erctors, and hip flexors hard. Louie recommends doing hip belt squats for quad strength. I myself started doing regular powerliting style squats, which initially built up my quads to their current size of 27" at 5'7". now I don't even worry about the quad area. I concentrate on the posterior chain and ab strength, which has been working out pretty well.


My take on squats for looking good for small guys and most girls - doing 8-20 reps while eating for growth can result in large and somewhat unasthetic hams, glutes and even increased hip and waist width. I am also told that glute activation is greatest going ass to grass so a squat to parallel (like a box squat) may keep you looking nicer than deep(without "squatters butt" or "bubble butt"). Ditto front squats and elevating the heel on a half plate or something (although I dont trust the latter). I mostly squat in the 5-10 range (more functional strength but with some hypertrophy) but always go ass to grass for full ROM for functonality and grappling. I guess it depends on what your objectives are. Ive gotta say Ive never seen a girl doing box squats or even deads but I thinks its a cool thing. As for the sex threads, they arent meant to offend - just laughs and trash talking for some but not all t-peeps. If you have been offended Im sorry and appreciate that you havent attacked them as others have. And I now recall that you are young which is probably an issue for future posts. But I aint as piggy as the posts suggest, its more of a fun character I use to get a reaction and clear the way for more open posts by others - for real :).


You must train at a pathetic gym if you never see girls doing squats and deadlifts!

Can you explain to me what Louie Simmons reccomends for quad strength? It seems like the squat really isn't about quads, even when I did the Ian King leg thing it hit my hams and glutes more than my quads.

To be honest, I am confused about my objectives, for starters I am looking for a leg exercise to use for 'Maximal Weights' and am thinking of deep squats, or box squats. I am not a fan of squats to paralell, as they hurt my back, and sooner or later they become squats that have a 2" range of motion, as the weight increases.


there is no quad training at westside. the quads are not that useful in squatting and deadlifting heavy weight. they will get some stress doing the box squats and other lower body exercises, but generally there is no direct quad training. i think i remember someone from westside doing some olympic squats once in a great while, but that's about it. also, i think i rermember someone discussing closer stance box squats, but those are not common in the workouts.


Your objectives (bodybuilding, powerlifting, model/fitness model asthetics) should be reflected in your training plan. My recommendations for a maximal weight lift for legs would be weighted away from those that target the glutes so Id say box would be preferable to deep (although I may be wrong on box squats activating the glutes less) and would suggest 1. front parallel/box squats 2. box squats WITH LOW REPS - RARELY MORE THAN 6-8. Nate Doggs 5x5 front squats would be ideal. And Ive trained at maybe 6 gyms regularly and have never seen girls deadlift, or use maximal weights, unless I was training with them. Its not the gyms but more the "bulk phobe/cardio" mentality that you sometimes get. So more power to you and keep up the good work.


When I started doing box squats, they really brought out my adductors, which used to lag behind my outer quads. Maybe this was just 'cause of the wide stance I used to box squat, but I thought they really helped.


Thanks to everyone who is answering me! I guess my objective is fitness, or just to look good. I could use some quad growth.

What is this 5x5 front squat thing? I am just about as strong for reps at front squats, as I am a back squats, when going deep. What does that mean? Also, I don't know if I could hold the bar if I was doing heavy front squats? Would a "Sting Ray" help? (Also, I thought everyone on this board agreed deep squats were best???? Isn't it what the Ian King Limping thing is about?)

As I said, I need my quads to grow. If I were to do maximal weights, I would average 5 sets for either box squats, front squats, or deep squats. Since these may not isolate my quads, how many more sets of other leg exercises would I need to get a good quad workout?

I have done deep squats in the past, and I only feel my butt gets big in my "off season", and I think it is just from being fat, not the squats. Right now being lean my butt is small.


Re what rocket said - Id would conclude that you should keep a narrow (shoulder) stance for squats to minimise adductor/inside leg development. From what you say about front and rear strength I think that means your quads are strong (as front squats focus on the quads more). As I said, I squat deep for functionality but think you need to assess your frame if you are squatting. If you are not tall, and SIDE ON have a butt that is far from flat, dont go too deep dont even box if you feel more DOMS in your hams and butt. If your butt is flat, go rear squats deep but keep an eye on it. I cant comment on the manta ray. I may seem pedantic on this but Im wary of spending hours in the gym to improve appearance and actually harming some aspects (hence my hulk trap, rounded back, and bubble butt phobias.)


Box squats won't help your quads look pretty. The amount of drugs at Westside has zero to do with their quad work. Fact is, the hams, glutes, and low back are the prime movers for the power squat. Box squats are also generally high power (read force), low rep exercise for neural/CNS gains, not for building muscle.

Deep squats will do you just fine. Need more quad stimulation? Front squats. Still more isolated? Sissy squats. And then, there's always the leg extension.


Come on! Even I know leg extensions are bad, and close to useless!


dre, i disagree on the functional superiority of squatting deep. to quote dave: someone who parallel squats 700lbs can easliy ass to grass squat 400lbs. but the 400lbs deep squatter would get squashed under 700lbs. and as far as the explosive development, box squats are by far superior to any other means i've tried for developing max strength, max poundages and max explosiveness.
austin, tx


Box squats really nailed my groin more than anything else. They have there uses, they just aren't for me


Princess, I think some of us need to reread the definition of sarcasm.


How do you include box squats in your workout? Do you start out with them? Sets and reps?

My definition of sarcasm is that it's supposed to be creative and funny, let me know if you see any, OK? :-)~


I thought suggesting leg extensions was pretty funny.
As for how I use box squats, I don't at the moment. I'm rehabbing a shoulder ijury and can't get a decent weight on my back.
Typically, though, we'd go as Lou Simmons recommends. 10-12 sets of 2 with 50-60% and a stack of chain to enable full power without launching myself into orbit. There's also box squats at various heights for max effort.