T Nation

Critique Box Squat (Finally)

Alright, I loaded my videos in my profile, but thought they were too small to critique form, so I uploaded them on Google, but it took over 2 days for them to review and accept the videos so I can see them

Well, here they are finally.

I’ll post the first one which was 285lbs for 3 reps to show my form with lighter weight, then another with 435lbs for 3.

I already saw that I wasn’t sitting long enough, especially on my 3rd rep with 435.

What I thought was weird when I saw the videos was that it doesn’t look like I’m standing all the way up on any of the reps, but when I was doing them I thought for sure I was.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6231253702678606016

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=1934014681636156594

Thought that was pretty smooth. As far as you not standing straight up- I thought it looked fine, maybe the camera angle making you look pitched forward.

Shadow

on the second video it appears that you rock forward on your toes to get out of the bottom instead of exploding out with no momentum. try to keep your feet flat at all times so you have to fire your glutes up more.

Nice one!!

If I could . . .

I think that you should drive somewhat more with your shoulders/head pressing against the bar.
at the moment there’s a bit too much of hip action up (instead of shoulders as mentioned above) at the begining of the movement from your bench.

I think you could stand some 2 inches wider altogether.

it seems to me that shoulder blades could be TIGHTER - that should sort out (together with more agressive shoulders start - again) you forward bent!

Pause longer, NOT touch&go

  • a bit deeper

  • Still, MORE arched back goodmornings, in my opinion these transfer nicely to good box squat/power squat.

it may seem like a lot of comments . . . but you’re on good way to your perfect Box Squat! :slight_smile:
One way or the other, poundage still impressive!

Very appropriet T-shirt!! :slight_smile:

if you’re looking to compete, there’s more than a good chance you’d be red lighted with that depth (depth looks high from that camera angle)…

you need to lower your box height…

make yourself a lower than parallel box, then use mats, towels, or whatever you like to adjust your squat to slightly below parallel…

doing this could potentially change your form quite a bit…not to mention having to lower the weight you use…

then make new vids and ask for critique…

Good looking weights!

One of the first things I notice is that you don’t get your glutes moving backwards a lot at the start of the lift.

To make up for not pushing you hips back at the start, right before you get to the box you end up pushing your hips back some and leaning over. This is why off the box your squat looks so much like a good morning.

Consequently, you don’t get much out of your glutes off the box.

Push your glutes back first; force your knees out and sit on the box. Pause briefly. Focus on forcing your knees out, while driving your head back into the bar to pop yourself off the box.

You’ve already got very strong hamstrings. Getting your glutes to help out of the bottom will help you a lot.

Thanks for the info!

I thought that seat was lower than parallel before I ever taped my squat, now I realize it’s barely AT parallel (if that).

I plan on either making my own box, or just buying an adjustable one so I can do high box squats some time down the road if need be.

I’ll work on firing the glutes, sitting back at the start, tightening and pushing up with my upper back/shoulders, maybe widening my stance, and trying to keep my shins more parallel to the floor throughout the movement.

I say maybe on the wider stance only because I tried it before, and also with sumo deads and got a bad pain in the front of my hip, and wasn’t able to lift as much.

Maybe if I ease into it with less weight though, I might be able to ultimately get more weight.

Going up in weight is addicting, and I keep finding myself sacrificing form for weight. Not good.

Thanks again.

[quote]SWR-1240 wrote:
, and trying to keep my shins more parallel to the floor throughout the movement…[/quote]

Perpendicular rather - but … I’d say you’re good here!

[quote]
I say maybe on the wider stance only because I tried it before, and also with sumo deads and got a bad pain in the front of my hip, [/quote]

Do use briefs for sumo squats - your hips will be gratful! :slight_smile:

Well . . . We all suffer from the same!
you CAN lift good weights… just get someone to shout tips at you a bit when you do box squats.

Good Luck,

[quote]FairDo wrote:
SWR-1240 wrote:
, and trying to keep my shins more parallel to the floor throughout the movement…

Perpendicular rather - but … I’d say you’re good here!

[/quote]

hahaha yea, I guess it would be difficult to squat with shins parallel.

I agree with the above on box height etc and would stress the Sit back then DOWN on the box you are essetialy doing a touch and go. Unlock the hips you’ll lose that stretch reflex and get the benefit of the bow squat, working the starting strength. You’ll more than likely have to lower the load quite a bit.

Now with a new box that brings you to/below parallel the touch and go can be great for someone with no training partner. It can ingrain in your head the depth you MUST hit before firing/exploding but be sure to squat without it from time to time use vidoe or someone to tell you are hitting depth. There wont be a box to tell you to go at any meet.

Nice work and more to go as for us all,

Phill

You’re sitting down, not back.

[quote]Phill wrote:
I agree with the above on box height etc and would stress the Sit back then DOWN on the box you are essetialy doing a touch and go. Unlock the hips you’ll lose that stretch reflex and get the benefit of the bow squat, working the starting strength. You’ll more than likely have to lower the load quite a bit.

Now with a new box that brings you to/below parallel the touch and go can be great for someone with no training partner. It can ingrain in your head the depth you MUST hit before firing/exploding but be sure to squat without it from time to time use vidoe or someone to tell you are hitting depth. There wont be a box to tell you to go at any meet.

Nice work and more to go as for us all,

Phill[/quote]

Thanks Phill. Good point about practicing without a box. I’ve actually been scared to try it since I haven’t squatted without a box in a loooooong time.

I keep wondering if I’m going to get so used to having a box to tell me when to go up that I’ll either go up too soon, or fall on my ass.

The cheapest box I found online is $89 plus $20 shipping (ebay) and that’s pretty cheap compared to what I saw.

Does anyone have any wood making instructions on how to make one?

I know it sounds stupid to ask for, but I’m not much of a handyman when it comes to woodwork.

I’m thinking maybe even having an extra piece of wood on hinges to flip on top of the box and make it higher.

[quote]Does anyone have any wood making instructions on how to make one?

I know it sounds stupid to ask for, but I’m not much of a handyman when it comes to woodwork.
[/quote]
Hey SWR,
As far as making boxes, you can go a number of ways. What I did is make a 10" and then I made cradles for the 10" box to set in. The cradles can be used to make a 12", 14, or 16" box. I also made a stand alone 18" box. They are constructed out of scrap wood I had accumulated (2x4, 2x6, 2x8 and 2x12’s and 3/4" plywood for the tops). I also use them for step-ups and they are probably way overbuilt. If you are interested I can send you a pic of my contraptions.

If memory serves me, I think Dave Tate recommended using 2x4’s to make 2 ft by 2 ft squares and topping them with a 2’x2’ piece of plywood. You would also want to put a center brace in side the you center of each 2x2 square. I have attached a half-assed sketch of what I am talking about. With the plywood that makes it about 4" in height. Then you cut some 2x2 rubber mats and lay the mat in between two boxes. This will help to keep the boxes from sliding on each other. You can use multiple boxes and mats to adjust your height. One draw back to this is if you buy one sheet of that 3/4" black rubber mat you are probably into 60 or 70 bucks plus your wood.

If you are using a gym as opposed to working out at home, buying an adjustable box might be the best for you. That way you only have one thing to drag to the gym with you. I know how you feel, I had spending money on stuff that can be built. Good luck

Nosebone

thanks nosebone.

I’ll probably end up making one instead of buying since I don’t have the extra money right now, and want to get my box-squats lower.

That seat in the video is the lowest thing to sit on at my gym.

You’re right about having to lug it into the gym, but it will only be twice a week (speed and max days). I just hope the guys working at the gym don’t think I’m stealing something when I leave with it. haha

[quote]SWR-1240 wrote:
You’re right about having to lug it into the gym, but it will only be twice a week (speed and max days). I just hope the guys working at the gym don’t think I’m stealing something when I leave with it. haha
[/quote]

why don’t you ask if you can leave it (the box you make) there?

[quote]DPH wrote:
SWR-1240 wrote:
You’re right about having to lug it into the gym, but it will only be twice a week (speed and max days). I just hope the guys working at the gym don’t think I’m stealing something when I leave with it. haha

why don’t you ask if you can leave it (the box you make) there?[/quote]

good idea.

I plan to move to Albany in a couple months and will be going to Albany Strength, so they might have their own box.

It should be cheap enough to just donate to my current gym and make another if I have to.

There are a few other guys who I see box-squat with that seat that I was using and it’s a pain because of the metal foot bar that’s on the seat, right where you need to step to re-rack the weight.

Pretty nice, but I always found I can never get the width I want on my box squats within a power rack.

Widening your stance without a spotter might not be an option.

I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but as a last resort, pileing plates works pretty well for an adjustable box.

good poundage.

but you’re not going low enough (which a few have already said)

back and down, pause for a few seconds, “rest” on the box, then explode up!

doing box squats in this manner, and effectively killing the ssc brought my box squat up about 90 lbs in 4 weeks.

I went from struggling with 225 to easily doing triples of 315 slightly below parallel (this is all before hurting my leg) in the same month, with the same technique and form.

Sit back, pause (count to 3, say a limerick. whatever), then explode up like there’s no tomorrow.

Form should be top priority, if it goes to shit, use less weight to keep it intact.

I’ll play devil’s advocate to the folks calling the squat high. OK- yeah they are high for comp purposes and you got to know how to get to depth and not lose it in the hole. However, if depth is generally not a problem for you, a parallel or slightly higher box might be a good training height. Here’s why- unless you have a problem staying tight in the hole (jeez- the double entendres are flying this morning)- you will probably not miss until you get most of the way up on a free squat. Part of this is due to stretch reflex and general tightness in the hole, and part of this is due to supportive gear (even belt and wraps). A box that puts you a little higher and puts you at the bottom of that mid-range stall-out zone might be a more effective training tool than a box that puts you way down. Try them both and see what you think.