T Nation

Box Squatters

I just started doing Box Squats and I have a few questions. I’ve noticed it is hard, close to impossible, to spread the floor with my feet in my shoes. Is it worth it to buy some Converse Chuck Taylors? Instead of a box, I’m using a wide bench b/c that’s all the gym has. I’m coming down and touching it for a split second and then exploding up, but not bouncing. Should I be sitting on the bench or just just touching barely like I’m already doing? I’ve also noticed it to be hard to keep my upper back and torso real tight once I unrack the weight b/c of the power rack hooks. I lose my tightness and have to set-up again which is annoying and I feel I lose strength. Do you guys/girls have any tips for remaining tight before the lift? So far I haven’t been using a belt but I think I should. What kind of belt should I buy? I was planning on wearing it loosely in order to learn how to expand my abs. Thanks for the help. By the way, since I started box squatting my squats have gone back up in strength. Now I’m doing 335 lbs. for 3 reps and 3 months ago was only doing 225 lbs. for 6 reps.

I box squat with wrestling shoes. I also beleive that incorporating box squating and many of westside techniques into my routine has been extreamely benificial to my overall strenghth. I always found it helps me keep my body tighter if i take a huge breath before i unrake the weight. As far as the abs go. the more weighted ab work you do, the easier it will be to blow out you abdominal region. Do some form of heavy ab work after every routine. Louies Simmons and Dave Tate also have TONS of info on Dave’s site - www.elitefitnesssystems.com - that is packed with info and there is a cool Q&A section that you can also find an amply amount of info. Keep up the good work.

You should be actually sitting on the box, not just touching it. Dave Tate’s article on box squatting can explain the form better than anything else. If your bench is not below parellel, you can make your own pretty easily. Although I like the chucks, they are not a must for everyone. If you are following the westside program, use the belt on daynamic days and ditch it on max effort days. As far as staying tight, pull your shoulder blades together and squeeze the bar.

How tall are you???

Definitely the proper footwear will make a huge difference in your box squats. You don’t have to necessarily have Chuck Taylor’s but some form of flat soled shoe will suffice. As for your technique you gotta start somewhere and there’s too much information and little technical pointers to learn to do everything perfectly all at once. I recommend you periodically go back and review everything written on box squatting by Louie Simmons, Dave Tate and the like as you’ll probably find each time you go over the information you’ll pick up little technical pointers that will help you. The box you describe will work fine as long as it’s set at the correct height. The important thing is to sit back on the box and learn to feel the stretch in the hams, glute/ham tie in and glutes. Some people sit on the box and then rock back and explode straight up whereas others just go touch and go. To build the hips and get the feel for the correct technique the first method will probably serve you better. With time you should be able to squat back on the box in nearly perfect position to drive back up without having to rock back. To stay tight it helps to take a deep breath and squeeze everything tight while trying to bend the bar across your back. Hope this helps!

chuck taylor’s cost 30 bucks. spend the money. wrestling shoes, or at least my wrestling shoes, don’t have a square bottom so spreading the floor causes my foot to roll to much. you should sit back on the box and pause. unless you are very tall, the bench is too tall. make a box. after i unrack the weight and before i squat, i always reset. deep breath, arch my lower back, and tighten the upper back. get a single prong double thick belt.

thanks for the help everyone. I’m 6’2 by the way. I really try to sit back in the squat (before getting to the box) so if I pause more on the bench I won’t have to sit back any further. why should I only use a belt on dynamic days? I was going to wear it loosely first to teach recruitment so should that only be done when I’m not near max weight? Also, what is the advantage of one prong over two prong in thick belts? I’ve only used a few belts before and the one I liked most was a leather two prong thin belt. I have a 34" waist if that matters. I should mention that the Glute Ham Raises I’ve been doing probably have helped my squat poundages, not to mention my hamstring development. I can almost lower myself under complete control. Cool stuff.

i’ve seen people (including my workout partner) spend too much effort trying to get both prongs of a two prong belt in the holes. when you are ready to lift, especially at a meet when you have a time limit, you don’t want to waste any more time than necessary. its just much easier to have to worry about getting a single prong in. i wear my belt on most me days also. learn to use it.

Scott, Chuck Taylors are definitely the way to go. Wrestling shoes are a decent alternative. You may even try a worn out pair of sneakers (ones that don’t have much shape left to them).
As for sitting on the box, its not suppose to be a touch and go. You should be releasing your hip flexors while on the bench, the contract and explode straight up. Do not relax your abs or upper back on the bench. As for upper back tightness, I use to have the same problem. Its mainly due to your upperback weakness. I have attended Dave Tates seminars in the past. He solution for this problem was this. Bring your hand placement in closer on the bar. If your hand are out as far you can get them, then you will need a strong upper back to stay tight. By moving your hands in, it makes it easier to stay tight. Its uncomfortable at first, but you will get use to it. Definitely helped my squat. You can use the belt on both ME and dynamic day. On ME day, the benefit of not using a belt is that you will be working your abs more. Vice versa, if you use the belt, you will be working the particular muscle harder. DO use on dynamic day. Wear the belt on dynamic day as you would at a meet, that is, tight, but not so tight to the point where you cant expand your abs. Chad