T Nation

Why Do Box Squats?


I've noticed a lot of routines include box squats. I've youTube'd them ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-p7j0za1Ddk ) and understand the movement - I'm going parallel, resting for a second on the box, then lifting up. If I already do my back squats to parallel (maybe 6-7 inches off the ground, if I had to guess), is there a reason to box squat?


overloads the hips and back, develops more power out of the whole because of the shift from a resting or static postion to a dynamic movement, forces you to keep your shins perpendicular, forces you to the right depth, allows you to squat more frequently, teaches you good form...there may be more reasons


They will build big strength out of the bottom.

Since you are going from a dead stop, there is no stretch shorten reflex as is usual at the bottom end of a movement. The muscle acts like an elastic band that's being stretched during the lowering part of the movement. That energy is stored in the muscle for about 2-4 seconds and can help you get out of the bottom.

The box squat lets the muscle relax and so you have to "muscle" the weight up without the benefit of that extra stored tension.

There are other ways to do it, but box squats let you control the depth better.


So robo, when you're box squatting, you need to actually sit down on the box for a few seconds right?


Because us powerlifters are lazy and like to sit down a lot

haha on a serious note Like everyone else said they build good strength out of the bottom, I really have liked them since I started doing them.

If you should do them or not really depends on your goals.


When i started squatting, i was really afraid of 'sitting' back instead of bending my knees forward while having 200 pounds on my back, fearing that i would simply lose balance and fall down.

Box squats build confidence :smiley:


More or less. One second is enough, the point is to make sure you sit all the way back on the box and relax the hip flexors. Biggest mistake people make is they just sort of tap the box with their butt while leaning forward and then come back up. sort of defeats the purpose of box squatting.

remeber, squat back, not down, keep your back erect in that neutral position at all times, allow the hips to relax for a second on the box, then push up with your traps, contract your hip flexors and explode back up.


I would suggest that unless you are training as a powerlifter under a coach that understands them there is no reason to do box squats. Done wrong they can be dangerous and there are differing opinions on their worth anyway. Why take a risk on something that may not provide any benifit?


May you too be inspired to do box squats, I hear they work.


Really though, I'm really keen on giving Box Squats a try, however the gym where I lift is very commercial and doesn't have any boxes.

Does anybody have any other suggestions on what to use?
* Regular flat bench? Will the soft padding be an issue?
* Step Aerobics platform? Won't it likely break? My ass isn't that big, I'm just concerned about combined weight of 500 to 650 lbs of pressure breaking the platform.

Building my own and bringing it, is not an option, neither are milk crates. I'd rip the toilet seat out and use it but that would likely get me suspended. Stacking 45 lbs plates isn't good either as I�??ll be using most of the ones available or there's only about 12-15 available.

Moving to a hard core gym isn't that feasible either there are none around these parts.

Also what sort of % of regular squat would you recommend?


just use one of the movable benches. if the cushion is too soft, put a 45 pound plate on top.


I hope that's a diet soda she's drinking.

BTW, DON'T post pics like that again!!!
(My eyes are still burning!)


Most benches are 18 inches high. Unless you're doing high box squats or you've got long legs, these benches will be too tall to help develop power out of the whole.

If you can't stack up bumper plates or find a short plyo box, then I guess the bench will do. Hell, maybe it's short enough in your gym. I disagree with using iron 45lb plates to make a suitable box. It's just a pain in the ass unless you have someone else doing box squats with you to help set it up.


Or the step Aerobic platform if the benches are too high. You wouldn't be sitting down on the middle, you would be sitting on the end, over the stack where it is plenty strong enough for 700 lbs.

How huge are you anyway. Most people wouldn't be Box Squatting 500 lbs anyway. If your max is 500 you probably wouldn't use more than 400 for a box.

Come to think of it, the ends of most commercial benches are probably weaker than the end of a aerobic stack.


Why don't people just set the bar on the pins, get under it, and stand up? No box required and lower risk of blowing a disk. Plus, you can't cheat like you can on a box.


range of motion


Because lowering the bar under control is an essential part of the lift.


Where's the Box?

Not huge at all, pls allow me to clarify. When I said 500-650 lbs, I meant my own BW of 200 lbs plus 315-455 lbs of iron.

So I trained legs last night with box squats, a bit awkward at first but it went surprisingly well.

Warmed up with 20x225 Reg Squats.

10 sets of 3 x 315 Box Squats, 70 sec rest in between.
No problems.

Next time I'll put a plate under each foot as the bench is low, but still higher that what I think I'm looking for. If that don't work I'll start using the 'step up' platform.

Thanks to all for the advice, I'll post again once I reach 405 x 3. Lift strong and prosper, TKO


This guy said it better than I could:



Actually you just "relax" (within reason) your abductors/adductors then suddenly tense the whole body. Louie Simmons compares it to an Olympic jerk if that makes any sense.