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Low Box Squat question, How low and how wide?

I’m doing a modified version of Dave Tate’s 9 week Westside intro program. Today is Max Effort Squat day: Low Box Squats.

How much lower than parallel should I go, and how wide of a stance should I take for this max effort exercise?

In Dave’s 8 keys article, he mentions close stance low box squats (3" below parallel). How close is close stance? In Matt Hawkins westside routine template, he mentions Box Squats (wide stance) as a max-effort exercise, done anywhere from 6" above to 6" below parallel.

I’m concerned because I want to do wide stance (since I figure I can do more weight this way), but I don’t want to risk injuring my hip/groin by going too low. I’m pretty new to box squatting, since I’ve always been a medium-stance back squatter to parallel or rock bottom. Would appreciate any help.

By the way, I lift raw, with no squat briefs, suit, or belt. I did 315 on the wide-stance Good Mornings last week. In the past, I have full squatted 315+ (never maxed), and maxed on parallel back squats at 365. I have no idea how much I will be able to box squat, but I figure with no support gear, and 300-400+ pounds, it might be a little dangerous on the hip/groin with a wide stance.

qtip- for most everyone a 14 inch box will put them at parrellel, for a low box squat use a 10 or 12 inch box alternate between them there is really no need to go lower than a 10inch box…this is how you perform low box squat ***get in your traditional deadlift stance (not sumo) feet a little closer than shoulder width and squat, the low box squat brings up your deadlift. also make sure you have your toes slightly open and out pushing out with your kness and opening up your hips on low box squats…these are also usually done with some contrast a safety squat bar, camberd bar, manta ray, or if you dont have any of these take a thick towel and tape it to the bar for contrast…also you will never want to use a wide stance on low box squats or really any max effort movemnts save it for dynamic day, also a low box squat with a wide stance will cause way to much hip stress…big martin


Thanks for the tips. I didn’t get them in time for my workout, but I am doing these again next week (I do same max effort exercise for 2 weeks, since I’m just starting out on Westside). I will definitely do them right next time, now that I know.

I used the Reebok step risers (same thing Goldie uses). I used 5 risers, which I think was just below parallel (I am 6’). Just did it with the bar, with a moderate stance (not as wide as when I normally box squat, but much wider than shoulder width). Got up 355, missed with 375.

By the way, one quick question, if I deadlift sumo, would it still help my deadlift as much? Either way, I plan to do them right next time (towel on bar, 12" off ground, narrow stance).

hold up. why not box squat with a wide stance for a max?? from the pictures i’ve seen and the articles i’ve read by the west siders, they say nothing about that.

if you want specificity of movement, which you will be wide when you actually squat without the box if you follow westside, then you box squat wide.

Boonedoc dont mean to be a ass but you are a little off. I have been to westside, been to 2 elite fitness seminamrs, and actually train in indinapolis with ron palmer.on MAx effort day a low box squat is performes with a traiditional deadlift stance. they never use a regular bar it is usually performed with the safety squat bar on either a 10 inch or 12 inch box, on dyanamic day you take a squat stance even wider then your competition stance to overload the hips and at competetion you bring your stance in about 2 inches, i am 100% correct trust me, if you dont beleive me go do a search over at elite fitness type in low box squat or ask steve coppola on this site he trains with paul childress he will tell you the exact same thing i am telling you…big martin

qtip- the low box squat with a safety squat bar is the best exerscice to bring up either deadlifts because it strengthens the lower back so well. if you do thes right by pushing your kness out you will also get some hip activation. now since you dont have a ss-bar you wont get as much low back work because the ssbar pushes you forward but you will still get the effects. it will help your sumo deadlift a lot…big martin

Big Martin- Will a closer stance on the low box squat make the shins come forward. Even though I am only bending at the hip my shins still seem to go forward just slightly even with a wide stance. Did the seminars address different body types in relation to the squat. I have longer limbs and find it extremely hard to keep my shins at 90 degrees to the floor.

cool, i’m glad that we have folks on here that have been to the seminars and such, because the articles all emphasize the wide stance so much as opposed to shoulder width. they usually make no distinction in form change as to max effort or dynamic effort for the box.

still, i believe that the wide stance box squat for a max should be utilized from time to timefor specificity of movement. in fact several variations of the wide stance max box squat are listed in the list of 300 some odd exercises for squat/dead training.

i wish a seminar would come to within a couple hundred miles of me…