T Nation

Critique Box Squat (Finally)

I am far from the expert, but I’ll chime in…

I think you are wasting time and energy with your setup. I try for “1 step, 2 step, go”

LA

We need to make a policy that any performance videos posted must include the phrase “LIGHT WEIGHT!”

[quote]LA wrote:
I am far from the expert, but I’ll chime in…

I think you are wasting time and energy with your setup. I try for “1 step, 2 step, go”

LA [/quote]

I agree.

I think a lot of it is a mental battle for me. I feel like I need to “feel” the weight and I even kinda bounce the weight a little before I go.

I know I need work on unracking and stepping back with the weight, but I’ve never really been taught.

I also have read that that is the part where most injuries occur.

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[quote]pushharder wrote:
SWR, have you measured the height of that bench. If so, what is it?

I have been b.s.'ing with a 10" and a 15" height. Be curious to hear what others are using too. BTW, I’m 5’8", 190.[/quote]

No I didn’t, but the chair I’m sitting in now is about 16" and the seat I used to squat with was definitely lower than this.

If I had to guess, I’d say it’s around 13"(ish?).

Does 10" put you at parallel, or a little below?

The top of my bent knee is 20" without shoes if that means anything.

Hey SWR,
If that is a 16" seat I would try maybe something about 14" or so for you. I think you might be a tad high, but it is tough to tell from that angle. Just keep up the good work and keep looking for a good crew to work with.

I am about 5’8" and I do all of my dynamic day squats on a 12" box, this is about a inch or so below parallel for me. I like to train them a little lower than parallel on these days. I do max efforts on 10, 14, 16 and 18" boxes.

I have also been riding my bicycles a lot more since it is summer time and my hip flexors are so tight all the time now, my squat is really in the shitter.

Nosebone

[quote]nosebone wrote:
Hey SWR,
If that is a 16" seat I would try maybe something about 14" or so for you. I think you might be a tad high, but it is tough to tell from that angle. Just keep up the good work and keep looking for a good crew to work with.

I am about 5’8" and I do all of my dynamic day squats on a 12" box, this is about a inch or so below parallel for me. I like to train them a little lower than parallel on these days. I do max efforts on 10, 14, 16 and 18" boxes.

I have also been riding my bicycles a lot more since it is summer time and my hip flexors are so tight all the time now, my squat is really in the shitter.

Nosebone

[/quote]
I meant the chair I’m sitting in now at my computer is 16".

I never measured at the gym, so I don’t know what it really is, but just for reference, I know the seat at the gym is lower than what I’m sitting in now, at home. I was just guessing it’s around 13".

So all I know for sure is that the seat I used at the gym is less than 16".

When I make a box, I’ll make it 10" and see how that looks.

Just measured the bench at the gym and it was 14.5" high.

I also recorded my DE squat/dead day today and will have the videos up in my “my-T-Nation” as soon as they all load.

I’m posting them on Google like the other ones too, but they took 2 days to get on there last time.

[quote]SWR-1240 wrote:
Just measured the bench at the gym and it was 14.5" high.

I also recorded my DE squat/dead day today and will have the videos up in my “my-T-Nation” as soon as they all load.

I’m posting them on Google like the other ones too, but they took 2 days to get on there last time.[/quote]

I’m pretty tall with short legs and I box squat on to a 13 inch box. If you don’t have tall legs for your height, I’d think a box that height or shorter would be the way to go.

Okay, I got new videos to finally upload on Google again.

I tried resting on the bench longer this time, and squeezed my ass more.

These were done on my DE day, and I definitely felt that it was heavier (feeling) when I stop at the bottom.’

I still seem to lean forward first, instead of straight up though…

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5100052535211856863

Here are other lifts from that day too, just because I had the camera with me:

Stiff-leg deadlifts, 275X8:
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3732230270609103744

Same lift, next set, different angle: (I misnamed this one when I uploaded it)
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3772255950954515942

Speed deadlift, 255X2:
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6070207140268675820

Hey SWR,
Your form is looking pretty good. The pause looks a lot better. The slight lean forward is something you can keep working on. It is still a tough habit to break for me as well. You also might try “spreading the floor” with your feet some more and concentrate on keeping your heels on the ground when you get to the top. I almost ate a wall mirror one night when I came up off the box real fast and lost my balance forward from that. But then again I never was the most cordinated guy around. You are doing a good job keep it up.

I had the sound up and can see why you wear your headphones. Jesus, “Carribean Queen” in the gym? Of all the crazy shit in the world… Damn I am glad I lift at home

Nosebone

Couple things on the squat.

  1. You never lock your hips and knees before initiating the descent. This is contributing to the lean. Lock up at the top of every rep. Don’t be lazy.

  2. You are running the weight out of the rack. Get tight on the bar, stand up with it and let it settle for a one count. Lock your hips and knees before the walkout and try to walkout with minimal knee bend.

  3. Your elbows need to come forward more. Get them as close to your sides as possible on the unrack, and push your chest out, and think about rolling your elbows under the bar as you descend.

  4. What’s up with ending the squat on your toes? This tells me you are not tight at all in your set up from the waist down. Shift your weight to the middle of your foot and spread the floor before initiating the descent.

  5. When you come up from the box, you are letting your hips come up first. Sit back, spread the floor, and drive your heels. Fixing #4 will go a long way towards correcting this. Lead with your chest and think about pushing your belly forward as you begin the ascent.

You need to get a lot tighter, bro. This takes time and practice though so don’t think I am singling you out as we all work on it every day.

[quote]apwsearch wrote:
Couple things on the squat.

  1. You never lock your hips and knees before initiating the descent. This is contributing to the lean. Lock up at the top of every rep. Don’t be lazy.
    [/quote]
    I feel like I’ll fall backwards if I stand any straighter with the weight (even light weight). I even put the bar a little higher on my shoulders than I used to to try and correct my leaning every time I unrack the weight.

Would that be bar placement, or just not being able to balance more on my heels some how?

[quote]
2. You are running the weight out of the rack. Get tight on the bar, stand up with it and let it settle for a one count. Lock your hips and knees before the walkout and try to walkout with minimal knee bend. [/quote]

I’ll try to slow it down. I notice I get lazy whenever I do dynamic squats because the weight is so much lighter than on my ME day. I should treat every squat, form wise, as if it’s a competition squat though. (laziness again)

[quote]
3. Your elbows need to come forward more. Get them as close to your sides as possible on the unrack, and push your chest out, and think about rolling your elbows under the bar as you descend.[/quote]

I remember telling myself that before I started squatting, then forgot about it when I got under the bar.

I’m going to write down all of the things I need to concentrate on next time and see if that helps.

[quote]
4. What’s up with ending the squat on your toes? This tells me you are not tight at all in your set up from the waist down. Shift your weight to the middle of your foot and spread the floor before initiating the descent.[/quote]

I don’t feel like I’m able to come off of the bench fast enough (on DE days) so I think I try to compensate for it by exaggerating the speed of the top of the squat.

I get frustrated that I can’t get the weight moving quickly, especially when it’s such a light weight.

[quote]
5. When you come up from the box, you are letting your hips come up first. Sit back, spread the floor, and drive your heels. Fixing #4 will go a long way towards correcting this. Lead with your chest and think about pushing your belly forward as you begin the ascent.[/quote]

Thanks, I’ll write that one down too.

Thanks for the constructive criticism. I knew there’d be a lot of things to try and remember all at once.

I’m glad I posted these videos now instead of continuing to go on without changing my form.

I was thinking about trying to perfect my form with lighter weight, but I notice that with the more weight I add, the more I feel like I need to lean forward to get my center of gravity right so I don’t fall backwards.

Leaning forward is not necessarily a problem as long as you are initiating the squat with leg and hip drive as opposed to letting the hips come up first then having to do a brief good morning to put the legs and hips back in a position of power.

It’s more an issue of starting out tight and achieving optimal position coming out of the hole.

Regardless of body type, letting the hips come up first is never optimal.

In squatting, staying tight and learning to keep your body in the right position is what makes the lift so challenging.

Remember, the lift starts at the top. You have got to be tight everywhere before you start.

It’s not easy, dude. In particular if you train by yourself and have nobody to que you.

BTW, your speed is fine.

I would state that you need to shut off the part of your brain that is telling you that you are moving slowly off the box, and focus on holding position instead. Rushing it is what is probably making your hips come up.

In regards to the balance issue, I think you are just not tight enough from the waist down. At the start of the lift, you should be neither on your toes or entirely on your heels. You should be firmly planted on the middle of the foot. Get really tight before you unrack, stand up with the weight and squeeze your ass hard and let the weight settle. Find your center of balance before you walk out.

Good luck. It will come with time.

Okay, just now I was practicing my squat form with no weight, sitting on my chair at my computer.

I noticed that when I have my feet where I normally squat, I have to lean forward to get over my heels, to be able to stand up. Otherwise, I fall backwards into the chair.

THEN, I tried widening my stance, and pointing my toes out a little further, I was able to stand up directly from where I was sitting without leaning forward at all.

I’ll try that next time I squat.

I have started doing box squats myself. I’ve only done them for about 4 months now and have wondered about my technique. You seem to sit back a lot more than I do. Is this normal technique? Its almost as if you’re sitting down and back. What does it mean to sit back anyhow as I’ve heard Tate mention it before. Any helpful videos?

I dont really have anyone to show me any techniques when it comes to lifting.

Thanks

[quote]Tank53 wrote:
I have started doing box squats myself. I’ve only done them for about 4 months now and have wondered about my technique. You seem to sit back a lot more than I do. Is this normal technique? Its almost as if you’re sitting down and back. What does it mean to sit back anyhow as I’ve heard Tate mention it before. Any helpful videos?

I dont really have anyone to show me any techniques when it comes to lifting.

Thanks[/quote]

I remember reading that too, and I try to stick my ass out as far as possible and sit back and down.

I also try keeping my shins as close to perpendicular to the floor as possible.

Like I said earlier, I’m going to try and widen my stance too, as I remember Dave Tate showing us how wide he squats (at the Test Fest) and he showed how his hips actually move a lot less distance when he does that. His hips moved almost straight down and back up, but his legs still get to parallel.