The Box Squat

By: Jacob Wellock

Today’s blog is going to be about how to perform the Box Squat correctly and how you can add it to your arsenal of movements to help turn you into a strength machine. Without further adieu let’s dive into the technique.

The first thing to do with the box squat is to make sure you sit BACK on the box and not DOWN. This is very important. If you are on the box and you look down and your knees are tracking over your toes, you are too far forward. One of the great things about the box squat is that it acts as a leg curl when you stand and the only way to take advantage of this is to make sure you are sitting BACK on the box. This also takes pressure off the patella tendons.

The second thing to do is when you are sitting back is to make sure you have a slight arch in the back. This does not mean overextend. Your upper back should be as tight as possible and when you are sitting down, pushing your glutes back, your back arches slightly while remaining as tight as possible.

The third thing to add is when you sit on the box you need to relax the hips, glutes, and legs for a brief second while sitting in an upright position and then FLEX your hips, glutes, and legs as hard as you can and stand as fast as possible! Through the entire repetition, your upper back (waist up) needs to stay as tight as possible the whole time until you re-rack the bar.

The fourth component is to make sure you are “spreading” your feet or pushing them out and not down. By doing this you will engage your glutes more and will distribute the load more evenly through the lower half of your body and will not be so prone to want to use your quads.

The fifth and final component, if you have done everything else correctly is to make sure you are driving your upper back UP against the bar before you stand with your legs. If you attempt to stand before thinking about pressing up against the bar with your back, you will most likely end up in a Goodmorning position. This is definitely not what we are going for. If you continue to do this, make sure your are really concentrating on your technique and think about lowering the weight so this does not happen until you get it down. Instill good motor patterns.

Here is a list of some of the benefits of the Box Squat:

  1. Build explosiveness
  2. Takes pressure off the patella tendon unlike the Olympic squat (If you have knee issues, we highly recommend doing these more often)
  3. One of the few movements where you will go through a “relaxed and overcome by dynamic movement” when you are on the box, (Going from a state of tension, relaxing on the box, and then contracting again.) This builds that explosiveness mentioned in benefit number 1.
  4. You can add many different variations to a box squat by changing the heights of the box and you can change your foot position, or stance, to different heights as well. If you want to get real crazy, you can change what you sit on such as a hard object, soft pad, big cushion, all kinds of things.
  5. Helps build strength for the Olympic lifts. In Weightlifting, when we pull from the floor we are going from that relaxed position to a demand of a lot of dynamic motion. See benefit number 3.

That is the technique and some of the benefits of the Box Squat. With all that said, we recommend throwing this into your training maybe a little more frequently than you think. We do tons of squatting in Welded and most people do a ton of Back Squats and Front Squats, but not a ton of Box Squats. They will only help your training, so don’t be scared to add something new. Now we are not saying use this to replace any of those, but use it as an addition to what you are doing. Also, because the Box Squat is meant to help build explosiveness, we don’t recommend doing more than 4 reps at a time if you are working with heavier weights because it will slow you down. Remember, technique and speed are very important here with this movement, so if you are slowing down because you are doing more reps, you will become slow in the movement and not explosive. Nobody wants that right?

Another thing to mention is the Box Squat at parallel or below parallel, if you were to max would roughly be somewhere between 15-20% less than your 1 RM Back Squat, so if you are going to work with percentages make sure to keep this in mind. If you want to find some more information on this, you can always check out Westside Barbell. A lot of the strength work that we have attained over the years has been from those guys. They know a thing or two about being strong.

I hope this article helps you guys out with some of your training and if you have any questions, please feel free to shoot us an email or message us on Instagram! Train hard team!