@Lift and Eat: Good question. Yes, I’m glad you’re paying attention! Haha, but seriously, I mix my squatting between your standard ass-to-the-grass squats and box squats. When I go for a ton of volume at low-medium weight, I go as low as possible without a box. When I’m going heavy I’ll usually squat down to a box that’s an inch or two below parallel. I’ve never had someone stronger than me question me for it, only people that seem to think they know what they are talking about (the ones that do the barely-bent-my-knees-at-225 type of squat). So, what’s the reason? I feel infinitely more comfortable squatting heavy onto a box. That’s just how it is for me.
So the cool thing about having a chair setup against the wall like that is it lets me practice squatting onto a box (albeit a bit higher than the box I’d use at the gym). I can pretend I’ve just unracked the bar and stepped back to the box, so my hamstrings are flush against the chair and my face is basically against the wall… and then I sit down. My face and chest don’t change distance from the wall, so I can practice keeping my posture the way I expect it when I squat. From there, I just repeat standing and snapping my hips forward. Unique way for me to warmup before box squatting at the gym.
@Ass Banana: That’s wicked. I have yet to shit myself doing anything at the gym, and I’d like to keep it that way. On two occasions I’ve finished warming up for squats, gone to do one ramping set, and then split my briefs. I find squatting commando in your shorts is just far too much freedom, so I’ve had to leave a few minutes into a workout as a result.
Legs (Box Squat Spec) and Biceps
Tonight I decided I’d take some advice from my local gym hero Sam and really work on my form for squatting. It was a nice spin on leg day, and I think it’s going to lead to breaking through some plateaus and added comfort when it comes to squatting heavy. My legs were in for a treat tonight.
I started my workout off with box squats, kind of like normal. I stretched my hips and my legs out before and during my initial warm up sets at 135. Once I was ready to go for 225, I added about 3 inches onto the box. Why? Well, tonight (and hopefully more workouts after this) was going to be all about form and practice. When I volume squat, I squat free and as low as my body allows. When I box squat, I’m usually on a box that’s below parallel. I know that when I go to measure my max box squat, I want it on that low box. So the trick here is that I’m acknowledging that by adding inches to the box, it’s already a different exercise. If you’ve followed along, last session with a box I was doing sets up to 265. Tonight, I started my working sets at 265 and got up to 315.
There was a very interesting takeaway from tonight. When I had talked to Sam last, I was saying that my legs and I guess the rest of my body starts to get a crushing sensation at around 300 lbs. Tonight, at 315, it didn’t. I was able to sit down onto this higher box with 315 lbs on my back and stand back up without any problem. Three inches apparently makes an enormous difference (c’mon, you’d kill for an extra 3 inches, don’t lie). I’m hoping that after mixing in this kind of training and making my form better that I’ll be able to slowly start pulling the added plates out and reduce the box elevation once again. When I do that, I’m hoping that my squat will remain above where it last was.
After box squatting tonight, my legs were fired up. I went onto do stiff leg deadlifts but my lower back started to nag me. Not a good feeling, so I’ll probably sleep on some ice. It didn’t seem to bother me when I was front squatting though. I just stuck to a few triples and a couple doubles tonight. The stair master at the end actually had my legs burning up after that whole workout. It’s a love hate relationship.
4 x 3 @ 135 There’s hamstring, quad, and hip stretching throughout these sets. Every single rep is done explosively (enough to hear the bar/plats clack).
2 x 3 @ 225 This and the following sets have 3" added to the box (to make it about 1/2" above parallel)
2 x 3 @ 265
1 x 3 @ 285
1 x 3 @ 295
1 x 3 @ 315
1 x 2 @ 315 Every set from here on is 5 seconds held at top, 5 seconds on box.
1 x 3 @ 225
1 x 3 @ 225 Elevated 1.5" off of box
1 x 3 @ 225 No box elevation
Stiff Leg Deadlifts
1 x 6 @ 135 Dumbbell curls between these sets.
1 x 6 @ 155
1 x 6 @ 155 **Lower back started to nag for some reason. Not pushing that.
4 x 5 @ 40
2 x 3 @ 135 Hammer curls between these sets.
2 x 3 @ 155
2 x 2 @ 175
4 x 6 @ 40
Seated Hamstring Curl
3 x 8 @ 100
3 x 8 @ 50 Superset with spider curls
Close Grip Spider Curls
3 x 6 @ 50
10 Minutes Medium Pace