T Nation

Help with WS4SB and Box Squats


Hey all, I'm new to this site and I am looking for some advice. I am a recreational athlete (softball, basketball, and football)who has just started using Defranco's WS4SB. I have been lifting weights consistently for about 8 months now, but before I was mainly concerned with hypertrophy. Lately I have been focusing on strength for sports. I am confused on how to use the box squat properly in my routine. I thought box squats were supposed to be used for developing explosiveness, and thus saved for DE days. However, Coach Defranco lists them as an ME exercise. Also, Dave Tate said many of the powerlifters don't even use full squats except for in (and prior to) competition and mainly rely on the box squat. What are the loading parameters if I use the box squat on my ME day (3-5RM) versus a DE day (8-10X2)? Is the box squat still performed in the same explosive manner when using the heavier weights on ME day? Or is it done slower with heavier loads? Any advice anyone can give me would be greatly appreciated.
P.S. I am 6ft, 210lbs with 8% BF


Any lift can be explosibe or ME. ME just means fucking heavy.


You can't be as explosive with maximal weights, but the idea is always to lift the weight as fast as possible with good form when doing an ME exercise.

Louie has an article on Westide's site called box squatting benefits. There are articles about form on elite. The most important things are to sit back, and pause on the box. Dave has an article in the archives about squat form; it is excellent.



Well first of all you never want to lift any weight slow. The lift my be slow, but you want to always apply as much force as possible. You use the box squat for both ME and dynamic effort days. On ME day its to a 1-5RM with a closer stance. On DE day its 8-12x2 with about 60-65% of your raw max for explosive. On ME day i would actually rotate between a box squat and a deadlift variation each week.


For the Westside for Skinny Bastards routine, on the ME day, if you're using box squats, you will be working your way up to a 3-5 rep max. For example, it will be something like this.

Warm up set-45lbs (Might want to have a few more of these sets.)

and so on. Work up to a final set of your 3-5 rep max. The idea is not to work to failure (aka 1 rep max)

If you are looking for more hypertrophy, generally the idea is to have more sets (higher volume) but that depends on how you can split up your 'jumps' on the different workloads you'll be using. Also, if you're looking for strength for sports, then by all means perform all your movements in an explosive manner. In sports, you never really execute any movement that is not explosive, well, at least for sports like Basketball, football etc.


Thanks for the advice guys. Yes, I have read the articles by Dave Tate and Louie Simmons. Also, despite working out in a commercial gym, I managed to find a couple of powerlifters who actually taught me how to box squat.

A couple more questions though.

First, as a beginner to the box squat, how low would you recommmend me going? I've noticed for the really heavy box squats on Defrancos website, his athletes are not going parallel or below.

Also, what is the rationale of a closer stance on the ME days as opposed to a wider stance for DE days?


Alot of times when people first begin to box squat they dont have the hamstring strength to sit back, they sit back and then about 3-4 inches from the box they just fall. You can remedy this by starting on a higher box and then working your way down 1-2" at a time. I would recommend doing most of your box squats on a lower box though. If you do a low box squat work with a closer stance, if you do a high box squat work with a wider stance.

This will give you some max effort work that will envolve alot of quads and hamstrings with the low box, and then also the hams and glutes with the high box. I'm a powerlifter and these are the 3 main max effort exercises i do for squat.

2" high box squat- wide stance
2" low box with saftey squat bar- close stance
2" low box with giant cambered bar- medium stance

Then on dynamic effort day i always do box squats to parallel with a wide stance.


Thanks for the advice. When you say 2" high box, you mean 2" above parallel, and 2" low box means 2" below parallel? My Lower body ME day is Wednesday, so I figured I would start with the box slightly above parallel with a closer stance. This will be the first time using the box squat on ME day, before I was just doing free bar full squats.


Yes i mean 2" above and below parallel. I would do box squats on both days but a little wider on dynamic effort day. No need to go super wide if your not a powerlifter.