T Nation

Correct Box Height for Box Squats?

Read the title^
Also, can’t you do box squats (“explosive squats”) by just doing a normal squat ATG and when you hit the bottom, pause and then just rocket up?
What am i missing?

It really depends on what you need/want. You generally just pick whether you want parallel, or an inch above or below. I generally work with a box that gives me 1 inch or 1/2 an inch under depending on my stance, but I lift IPF so going much higher than that is a no-no.

As for it compared to ATG Olypics with a pause; In my experience it’s different. I’ve found that I can use more quad and knee and keep tension a lot better with olympic squats, and the pause just hammers my back whereas the box is more hip, glute and hamstring. And I suck a lot more at it.
For box height comparison, at 6’ and 230lbs I use a 11.5" box.

‘Correct height’ is misleading. In my Westside template, I alternate box heights according to what I need to work. I’m currently doing 2" above parallel on ME squat days. So the height makes a difference to the effort and effect. Typical boxes built to have different heights according to which face is horizontal will have between 12" and 17" faces.

The point of box squats is to release tension in the flexors. ATG and pop up won’t have the same effect.

So would explosive power come more from a high box setting (you need alot of force to propel yourself in the awkward situation, shorter distance, etc) or lower?

The Correct Height for a “Parallel” Box should put you at legal depth.

The Correct Height for a “High” box should be no more than 2 inches higher than your parallel box.

The Correct Height for a “Low” box is usually 12 inches or as low of a box that you can use without rocking off the box in order to complete the lift.

Generally, you want to find a box height that is completely below where your knee joint begins, but is high enough so you don’t need to rock off the box.

Paused, Deep Squats will not accomplish the same goal as a Parallel, Wide Stance Box Squat because a Powerlifting-Stance, 16’ Box Squat will teach you how to sit back and keep your shins relativly perpendicular to the floor. In addition to that, you must flex yourself off the box. You do not bounce on the box. You can also use more weight with a box squat than you can with an olympic squat, but not as much weight as you can with a legal depth squat.

High Box Squats and High Anderson Squats will allow you to use more weight than a parallel squat. But they should not be used by beginners. If you don’t know if you’re ready to use them, then you’re not ready.

[quote]blazindave wrote:
So would explosive power come more from a high box setting (you need alot of force to propel yourself in the awkward situation, shorter distance, etc) or lower?[/quote]

It’s more complicated than that.

A very low box will inhibit you from using heavy weights. Heavy weights increase your maximal strength. The safest and most efficient way to increase speed-strength is to increase maximal strength.

A very high box will not force your hips to travel a very long distance, and will have you squatting weights that are too heavy for you to handle.

The best box height is parallel. On Dynamic Effort Squat workouts, a parallel box is always used. High and Low boxes are used on Max Effort Squat workouts for variety and for addressing different weaknesses.

Just find a box height that makes the top of your thigh parallel to the floor.

Alright, thanks alot.

[quote]FightingScott wrote:
blazindave wrote:
So would explosive power come more from a high box setting (you need alot of force to propel yourself in the awkward situation, shorter distance, etc) or lower?

It’s more complicated than that.

A very low box will inhibit you from using heavy weights. Heavy weights increase your maximal strength. The safest and most efficient way to increase speed-strength is to increase maximal strength.

A very high box will not force your hips to travel a very long distance, and will have you squatting weights that are too heavy for you to handle.

The best box height is parallel. On Dynamic Effort Squat workouts, a parallel box is always used. High and Low boxes are used on Max Effort Squat workouts for variety and for addressing different weaknesses.

Just find a box height that makes the top of your thigh parallel to the floor. [/quote]

I generally agree with all, especially the part about using different heights (on Max Effort days in Fightin’ Scott’s case) for addressing different weaknesses. Yes, parallel on Dynamic days is a very sensible staple for a powerlifter, and, of course, the higher the box on Max Effort days (or otherwise), the higher the potential load. But, that doesn’t mean one can’t derive a positive training effect, even a power-oriented one, from a somewhat higher load used with a somewhat higher box on Dynamic days, and conversely, from a lower load used with a somewhat lower box on Max Effort days. Variety, particularly for the sake of addressing weak points, is a indispensable to progress in training, be it for aesthetic, athletic or otherwise functional purposes.

So, I don’t think there’s such thing as a truly “proper” height, whether it be for Max Effort days, Dynamic days or a non-conjugated regimen. The key is to be aware of your relative weak points and your relative strong points, and design your near-term training regimen accordingly.