Box squats

IkeWagner's picture

Some of most knowledgeable minds on this sight have said that box squats are essentially useless. Why? Or, if useful, why?

Box squats

I think they are more useful if you squat in 2-ply gear, especially canvas. The stopping power of canvas is huge. It will literally stop you in the hole. The same for some of the other 2-ply stuff. I think that makes squatting in the gear more like a box squat. That's just my guess though. I've noticed that very few IPF lifters use them.

jwbruce's picture

Box squats

ohh nice topic ike ... i've always wondered this too. its one of those topics where you see really good points on both sides.

i've only fooled around with them a tiny bit so i cant comment on their effectiveness at all

i've also wondered what the difference is between doing a pause squat with the bar resting on the pins compared to a box squat

IkeWagner's picture

Box squats

I've never totally bought that it's for "geared lifters only." I've gone back and forth on the issue, but I currently feel that they are beneficial in general.

They allow you to sit back further than you normally could, so to complete the concentric portion you have to rely heavily on posterior chain strength. I fail to see how this is useless.

I hear people talking about ways to increase PC strength to improve the squat: deadlift variations, glute-ham, back extensions, good mornings, etc. All are good. But, you can't get more SPECIFIC than a properly performed box squat! It's a squat!

I think some like to discredit it because they are annoyed by the Westside disciples touting it as God's gift to powerlifting. AFter all, it's just "sitting on a damn box." But, when you think about it (or even get REALLY crazy and try it), you might start to sing a different tune. Not all, but many.

I tend to think that Doc (for example) did not derive benefit from them because his strength was already so finely tuned and specific that they didn't really offer anything more for him. But for most, that is far from the case.

mike tanis's picture

Box squats

I have used them in the past and i personally feel they work. they are great for someone beginning to learn the squat.
anyway here is something that i copied from this forum awhile back concerning the box squat.

A box squat is a great variable to work with on the squat. They are the best thing to do for a slight break from your heavy squat without leaving the squat all together. The pause on the box will force you use lower weights and the result over the weeks is great squat work along with a chance for the nervous system to recover. You will soon be addicted to the box squat.
I have read and found through the latest research that breaking the eccentric / concentric chain is the best way to build explosiveness out of the bottom of a squat. Using the box as a depth indicator has two distinct disadvantages. First, the touch and go method of box squatting is dangerous because of potential spinal compression. A less advanced lifter should never use this method. Secondly, failing to pause on the box defeats the entire purpose of doing box squats. Many lifters do them but few actually know why they work. They work because they are an effective way to break the chain I mentioned earlier without the risk of injury. The reduced risk is because the lifters weight is supported in the box giving the lifter the opportunity to pause and then fire all muscle fiber at one time. Otherwise the lifter must keep the system turned on and can never break the chain. If you want a depth indicator find a judge...or someone that thinks they could be a judge.
A stretch reflex is completely lost with a box squat weather or not you choose to pause on the box. As soon as the lifters rear touches the box the kinetic energy that was stored by the lifter is transfered into the box and lost to some extent.
A lifter may be have the false impression they are producing a stretch reflex off the box but in fact they are simply using the box as a type of spring board.
The overwhelming benefit from a box squat is realized when the pause is implemented. I have made ridiculous gains from both box squatting and floor pressing and I attribute this progress to the break in the eccentric / concentric chain which allows the body to change from a semi-relaxed state to an abruptly forceful state improving the explosiveness of a particular muscle group.
Here is some text about the box squat:
" Box Squatting
By Bob Strauss
Box squatting isn't any thing new, and has been around for a long while. George Frenn , a hammer thrower, powerlifted on occasions and squatted 853 in the 242 lb division in gym shorts and only ace bandages on his knees in 1972. George and the members of the original Westside Barbell Club in Culver City did a lot of box squats. Louie Simmons and the current Westside barbell club have popularized them now. this day and age, it is hard to find top lifters who do not box squat . Box squats can be a good tool for teaching the squat, working the blast off the bottom. By adding bands, they can be one of the best strengthening exercises for the squat.
................................................. .How to box squat
.............. For average box squatting, a box should have the lifter go just barely below parallel. The height of the box can be between 10 and 14 inches depending on the height of the person. You may build one or more boxes. Many build a 10 inch box and add boards to correct the height. The average 5ƌ'' to 5Ə " lifter will need a 12" box to achieve parallel. Six feet and over may use up to a 14"box. Sometimes lifters will use a "sub box" to go well below parallel. To do a box squat you simply squat down to the box as if sitting on a chair, relax the hip flexors, rock back slightly, then forward. you then fire off with the hips and with the legs contributing. Done like this, it will really help a lifter fire out of the bottom of a squat.
.................................................Box squatting to handle weight
.............The great Paul Anderson used to dig a hole and stand in it with a very heavy weight. With the plates outside the hole it amounted to a quarter squat. Each week Paul would add a bit more dirt, until he was now doing a real squat with the weight. With box squatting you can do this easily. Simply start on a high box squat and lower the height of the box each week or two, keeping the weight the same, until the proper depth is reached.
................................................Box squatting for power
............Louie Simmons and the Westside Barbell Club do the box squat with jump stretch bands. This is the best exercise for overall power. The bands are arranged so that they will pull somewhat at the bottom and increasingly more as the lifter rises. Since a squat gets easier as one rises, the bands pull more and the lift is worked evenly throughout the full range of motion, When the lifter sits on the box and gets ready to rise, they know that they will have to explode to push through the bands. Thus the blastoff is really worked hard. Since chains add a uniform amount of additional resistance, box squats with chains will be good for a slightly lower sticking point
*Box squat with bands work bottom and higher regions of the lift.
*Box squat with chains work bottom and lower sticking point
* Box squat with bungees work the bottom and top of lift
* Box squats without added resistance just work the bottom of lift.
...............................................Box squatting applications
.............A lifter has been squatting narrow for many years and wishes to change to narrow.
...................The lifter will begin to practice the wide stance on a high box and gradually lower the level of the box. once down, the lifter will then add bands or chains.
............Lifters with knee problems
...................Lifters who have problems getting low enough because of knee problems can high box , and then lower it right before meet.
..............Lifters with lower back problems
......................Lifters with lower back problems will find out that this exercise will strengthen the lower back. If you do have back problems, start with a low weight and reasonable band resistance, and slowly add weight.
...............For those who have problems our of the bottom of lift raw.
.......................Box squats with chains work well because of the dead weight. Bungees work well
as they will "catch" you after you blast out of the bottom, and you know you will have to blast to get through the bungees.
...............Maximum gains in minimum time.
.........................Box squats with bands not only work the bottom, but the whole lift harder than regular squats.
...............Getting over on the squat
..........................Lifters who bend or lean too far over when they squat can really benefit from box squats with bands."

Box squats

Certainly not useless...good for some...not good for others. It also depends on whether or not you have strong enough hams and know how to do them right. I've seen some naysayers do them quite badly

I've never owned 2-ply or canvas and I spent 4 years at TPS doing thousands of box squats with myself and clients. As a powerlifting coach I used them extensively. (not exclusively). They are a great teaching tool, which Mike said. We used them a lot in strongman training as well.

My first choice is the safety squat...but with years of anecdotal support I can comfortably say that box squats aren't useless.

Bob

Box squats

Quote:
I have read and found through the latest research that breaking the eccentric / concentric chain is the best way to build explosiveness out of the bottom of a squat.

Mike,

While pausing on the box and exploding upward will build power, it is NOT the best method of building explosiveness.

To fully develop explosiveness out of the hole, the stretch reflex need to be trained. Even a short pause will negate the stretch reflex. Additional research indicates that "delays as short as .02 seconds are sufficient to dissipate the benefits of prior stretch", with up to 50% of the stretch reflex being lost in one second. www.strengthcats.com/KCsquattingarticle.htm

Thus, for one to full develop the stretch reflex, some type of bouncing momement need to be employed in one workout.

That doesn't mean that box squats with a pause are not beneficial.

Mike, this is incorrect.

Quote:
A lifter may be have the false impression they are producing a stretch reflex off the box

Just as when you bounce off the ground in jumps, the same effect occurs with a bounce off the box. The stretch reflex IS evoked.

Quote:
but in fact they are simply using the box as a type of spring board.

EXACTLY! The same thing occurs in a jump off the ground. You are using the ground as a spring board.

Some box squatting exercise with a bounce that elicit the stretch refles are:

1) Barbell Non-Impact Plyometric (Siff and Verkhoshansky, 1998)

2) Barbell Sub-Maximum Impact Plyometric (Siff and Verkhoshansky, 1998)

3) Load Release Jumps (Siff and Verkhoshansky, 1998)

What these bouncing box squat movement are and how to do them can be found in, "Squatting: To Be Explosive, Train Explosive." http://www.strengthcats.com/KCsquattingarticle.htm

Box squats with a pause have a place in one training. They are a great movment.

However, to fully maximize power out of the hole of a squat some type of plyometric movement need to be employed. Box squats with a bounce are one movement that fall into this catagory.

For those with concerns regarding boncing off the box, other plyometric movemeng can be implemented.

Kenny Croxdale

Box squats

BobJodoin wrote:
My first choice is the safety squat...but with years of anecdotal support I can comfortably say that box squats aren't useless.

Bob

Nice.

Box squats

I do believe the box is a very good tool to teach athletes or lifters to use their hips when squattting. As far as a training tool, it certainly does seem to work well for many lifters. I personally put them in on my leg assistance day for an entire cycle. I did find they really do work the post. chain well, and do allow you to really sit back further than you could w/o the box. For me personally, however, I found they screwed up my normal squat form at the bottom. I like to get an extra "bounce" at the bottom of my squats to help get me out of the hole. Box squats seemed to hurt my form in doing that. My wife had expressed having the same type of problem with her form when she has tried them a few years back. I certainly believe they work the muscles well, but for some, I believe they can hurt your regular squat form.

IkeWagner's picture

Box squats

Very good posts guys!

Box squats

The Stone wrote:
I like to get an extra "bounce" at the bottom of my squats to help get me out of the hole.

This is a "Non-Impact Plyomtric" squat. This type of exercises recommended in "Squatting: To Be Explosive, Training Explosive" [www.strengthcats.com/KCsquattingarticle.htm] to develop the stretch reflex.

Research show that up to 18% more power can be generated with a stretch reflex vs a movement which is paused is used prior to the movement.

Kenny Croxdale

Box squats

I have tried box squats previously. What I found is that they were great for practicing with heavy weights and learning the powerlifting stance, thus learning how to lift unbelievable numbers in the squat. I'd say I really liked them a lot. But what I also found is that when I went back to other forms such as olympic squat and front squat, my numbers were not even close to what they should have been, not what they were in the past for the same lifts. My conclusions were as follows:
1) Box squats are great for powerlifting. I would highly recomend these to anyone who wants to learn how to squat big and compete in powerlifting.
2) Box squats don't work the quads well at all. There are much better ways to develop great quad strength. Therefore, all athletes other than powerlifters should stay away from them for the most part.
3) Practicing lifting heavy weights with box squats helps you develop great core strength, especially in the abdominal regeon. This in turn helps you learn how to create intra abdominal pressure. That skill and strength can be applied to any other form of squat, thus improving form and allowing greater weight to be lifted and safer as well. That is the only other reason why I might recomend a non-powerlifter to try these for a while.

Box squats

Charles, I have found some difficulty stepping back under the weight to do the real deal, but I think I may just need more frequent "regular squat" practice while in a cycle heavy with box squat.

Box squats

Matt, do you compete? If so, I see where you are coming from. It would only make sense to surely get at least a few to several weeks of competition stance squats right before contest. You know, that's what Doc. said he used to do, just switch from olympic style to competition style weeks before the contest.

I can honestly say from experience that olympic squats work great for developing great strength. And after several weeks box squatting you can learn to lift heavy weight quick.

Box squats

I'm a strongman guy actually. I just went for a few cycles with basically only box squats with the bar on my back anyway (OHSQ, F.Squat etc in there) but once I went into a cycle with "regular squats" it through me off. I think my path changes on the box squats and the mind-set just isnt the same either.

Live and Learn. I heard Louie say they "never" squat comp style going into a meet, I think, and I went overboard.

Everyone is different.

Box squats

I think the main thing here is that the athlete needs to know why they are squatting. If the goal is to lift a lot of weight, then box squat. If the goal is to develop leg strength, then olympic squat or front squat.

I don't mean to bash the box squat, but if you have been box squatting for quite some time and then go and try to see what your numbers are on the other forms of squat, it will be a hard reality check! It was for me. That's why I won't mess with them any more unless I one day decide to compete in powerlifting. In that case, you bet I will. That's the only way I ever learned how to do a opwerlifting style squat right.

Box squats

Charles Izzo wrote:
I think the main thing here is that the athlete needs to know why they are squatting. If the goal is to lift a lot of weight, then box squat. If the goal is to develop leg strength, then olympic squat or front squat.

I don't mean to bash the box squat, but if you have been box squatting for quite some time and then go and try to see what your numbers are on the other forms of squat, it will be a hard reality check! It was for me. That's why I won't mess with them any more unless I one day decide to compete in powerlifting. In that case, you bet I will. That's the only way I ever learned how to do a opwerlifting style squat right.

So what you are basically saying is that athletes should focus predominantly on quad strength rather than hamstring/glute/hip strength? If the athlete is lifting a lot of weight on the box squat surely he will have a damn strong posterior chain, which is surely the most important aspect for the general athlete to concentrate on, as most will already have weak hamstring strength relative to quad strength.

Why not have an athlete perform box squats,olympic squats and front squats in rotation to develop strength in all areas? Surely this method would be the most effective?

Todd Wilson's picture

Box squats

So what you are basically saying is that athletes should focus predominantly on quad strength rather than hamstring/glute/hip strength?

### Not speaking for Charles, but I don't think that was his assertion at all. Also, whenever someone starts discussing box squats vs. whatever type of squats, they always bring up that they recruit the posterior chain better than say full squats. SO what? You don't perform squats for optimal posterior chain developement. There are only about 60 movements infinitely better for posterior chain developement than box squats. Ever heard of deadlifts?Frankly, I don't like them, but box squats can offer some specific benefits to powerlifters depending on how they squat, specifically with respect to gear. But for athletes there is virtually always a better exercise selection. But even if there isn't box squats are not that great for posterior chain recruitment when compared to the many deadlift variations, goodmornings, reverse hypers, back extensions, Romanian deadlifts, et. al.

If the athlete is lifting a lot of weight on the box squat surely he will have a damn strong posterior chain, which is surely the most important aspect for the general athlete to concentrate on, as most will already have weak hamstring strength relative to quad strength.

### So why not prioritize it with a movement that recruits the posterio chain more extensively than the box squat?

Why not have an athlete perform box squats,olympic squats and front squats in rotation to develop strength in all areas? Surely this method would be the most effective?

### It depends. For general strength, you might could argue that, but depending on the sport, certain movements have more functional carry over or transfer to the sport. Any type of squat may or may not fit that, and hence as the competitive period gets closer would warrant less use.

Box squats

Todd, I didn't say that the box squat was the best exercise to build posterior chain strength however I do feel that it is a good choice. My point was why completely disregard the box squat when training athletes? Surely in some circumstances the box squat will be more beneficial to an athlete than a front or olympic squat. Are you also saying that you would choose back extensions over a box squat when wanting to improve an athletes posterior chain strength? I don't want this to sound like I would use solely box squats to train an athlete I just feel they have their place in an athletes training program.

Box squats

If you ask me that question i would say hell yes back ext over boxsquats. Goodmornings over box squats. Deadlifts clean/snatch grip off a box over box squats. Anything over boxsquats esp when trying to improve the posterior chain.

Saad Ahmed's picture

Box squats

This is from Defranco,

Q: I am familiar with the BFS form of box squats. They use a box that is
2" above parallel and have the athlete use more weight than they would use for their parallel squat. They also have the athlete explode up onto their toes at the end. Can you please explain the benefits of using the box squats you use versus the ones that are part of their program?
Thank You.

Jason

A: Jason,

As they say, “there are many ways to skin the cat.” I use a wide variety of box heights with my athletes. The boxes I use vary from 6” from the floor to 2” above parallel. I cycle the different box heights with my athletes. Remember that doing the same thing all of the time gets you the same results!

For example, in the initial stages of the off-season for my basketball and volleyball players, I usually have them perform box squats and regular squats below parallel. This is because their sport dictates that they are usually going through a partial range of motion with their squat depth during competition. During the initial stages of the off-season, I try to overcome the imbalances that they have created by performing full-range squats. This helps to create a healthier knee joint.

As the season approaches, I may make the squats more “specific” by performing squat variations that mimic the jumping motion (50-rep rhythm squats, lightening box squats 2” above parallel, box squats with bands 1-2” above parallel, etc.).

As far as exploding up onto your toes when box squatting; that is just another variation. I would reserve this variation for more advanced athletes. Thinking about exploding onto the toes may be too much for a young kid to think about when first learning to box squat. Any exercise that promotes triple extension (plantar flexion, knee extension, hip extension) is always a good idea for an athlete, though.

My advice would be to give all variations a try. Just make sure you know “why”, “how” & “when” to implement them properly.

Remember that everything works, but nothing works forever!
Joe D.

I think that is what Dig is trying to say, variation is very important!!.

Box squats

Yes Saad, I am trying to say variation is important, and that completely disregarding a movement such as box squats seems like a short sighted approach to me.

Weightlifter- Why would you use 'anything' over box squats when trying to strengthen the posterior chain? I'm now sounding like I think box squats are the greatest movement on earth which is not what I believe, however statements such as this sound ridiculous to me. Box squats have really improved my posterior chain strength, and many top powerlifters use them specifically to build posterior chain strength! For the record back extension, good mornings and deadlifts are all staples in my training as well so I agree these movements work the posterior chain tremendously!

Box squats

Well iam not a powerlifter so thats one reason. I never seen a top coach telling someone to go to boxsquats when the posterior chain is holding one back. If you are a powerlifter it can help but i still take goodmornings, RDL, Deadlifts off a box(2-4inches) going back and fourth with clean and snatch grip. I think those are just an better choices when it comes to the posterior chain. They hit everything a lot BETTER. If one said boxsquats are the king when it comes to the posterior chain they must be smoking crack. Box squats have there place for some powerlifters thats it.

Box squats

There are top coaches training athletes who do use box squats (take a look at the article above) so quite obviously they do have some use, at some times in athletes training. Have you ever performed a proper box squat? They hit my posterior chain as hard as GM's and I can also recover from the faster. Now, I brought powerlifters into my argument as the strongest part of a powerlifter must be their posterior chain, therefore they will use whichever exercises achieves this. Many use box squats which proves the point they are useful to build the posterior chain. RDL's DO NOT hit the posterior chain A LOT BETTER than box squats in my limited experience.

I am also not saying that box squats are the king when it comes to the posterior chain (if that is what you think I meant then reread my post). My whole point is that box squats can be a useful tool in the training of athletes when used at the appropriate time. I stand by this statement!

Todd Wilson's picture

Box squats

Todd, I didn't say that the box squat was the best exercise to build posterior chain strength however I do feel that it is a good choice.

### No, you didn't, but again, it's not a good choice. Deadlift variations are infinitely better.

My point was why completely disregard the box squat when training athletes?

### Because it's not specific to anything athletically. No athlete uses that movement pattern in any sport. The full squat more closely simulates everyting from sprinting to a catcher getting into position, to a a DB giving a WR some cushion, to a basketball player getting into a defensive stance. At best it could be used in the general preperatory period, but the problem with that is, that period is usually devoted to correcting imbalances, as well as getting into shape for the season. Box squats, especially when used over time create a gross muscular imbalance between the vastus lateralis and the vastus medialis. I'm not having an athlete do something that creates imbalance. I'm balanceing that athlete and then using movements that, at minumum maintain proper balance. As sprint coach Charlie Francis says, "Looks right, flys right." meaning, the machine must be in proper working order to operate properly.

Surely in some circumstances the box squat will be more beneficial to an athlete than a front or olympic squat.

### Only in powerlifting, and that's debateble based on the powerlifting champions who didn't box squat. Westside has popularized it, and they use it extensively in their system, and it was very popular in the 60's for a time, but it's easy to get big and strong without it. I.E., it's not the cat's pajamas.

Are you also saying that you would choose back extensions over a box squat when wanting to improve an athletes posterior chain strength?

### Every single time! Ask Doc if back extensions improve posterior chain strength. To my knowledge he never did much box squatting, but he mentions back extensions about every third post he makes. Might be something to that.

I don't want this to sound like I would use solely box squats to train an athlete I just feel they have their place in an athletes training program.

There are top coaches training athletes who do use box squats

### And their are top coaches who don't use box squats.

(take a look at the article above) so quite obviously they do have some use, at some times in athletes training.

### I wouldn't say they have a use, I would say some have gotten some benefit, but I'm not looking for some benefit. I want to train, and want my athletes trained as efficiently as possible.

Have you ever performed a proper box squat?

### Yeah, I tried them out once upon a time hoping they were the golden calf. They aren't even a bronze goat, unless you are a powerlifter.

They hit my posterior chain as hard as GM's and I can also recover from the faster.

### If you recover faster, then they aren't hitting your posterior chain as hard. And/or you may not be performing GM correctly.

Now, I brought powerlifters into my argument as the strongest part of a powerlifter must be their posterior chain, therefore they will use whichever exercises achieves this. Many use box squats which proves the point they are useful to build the posterior chain.

### No it doesn't. It proves my point that they are specific to powerlifting. You will notice those same powerlifters performing GMs and deadlifts as well. The box squat is specific to the PL style of squat. There's too many that have achieved strong posterior chains without them for them to be deemed a superior movement for posterior chain development.

RDL's DO NOT hit the posterior chain A LOT BETTER than box squats in my limited experience.

### Well, in my extensive expierience, they defintely do.

I am also not saying that box squats are the king when it comes to the posterior chain (if that is what you think I meant then reread my post).

### I didn't, but suggesting they are better than GMs and RDLs, that is what it seems, but I would discuss this with you if you suggested they are the best posterior chain movement. That's like discussing NASA with someone who thinks we've never actually been to the moon. My point is, it's silly to rationalize using them because they are supposedly a good posterior chain developer, when while they work the posterior chain more extensively than full squats, they can't compete with posterior chains movements mentioned above. I mean, it's like touting the bench press, over the DB fly because of the lat recruitment.....Furthermore, the rationalization for using them for that purpose over the full squat is quite a logical fallacy anyway, because you don't squat in order to build posterior chain strength, regardless of the type of squat. Squats build the knee extensors and glutes more so than the low back and hamstrings.

My whole point is that box squats can be a useful tool in the training of athletes when used at the appropriate time. I stand by this statement!

### I wouldn't complete disagree with it, but I'l stand by this one: For what ever purpose you are training for, I can find a movement that will get the job done better and faster than box squats.

IkeWagner's picture

Box squats

Todd Wilson wrote:
### Only in powerlifting, and that's debateble based on the powerlifting champions who didn't box squat.

I don't think it's debateable; it's conditional. Some use the tool, and some don't. You can't "prove" that it's negligable for everyone, and you can't "prove" that it's beneficial for everyone. We all have different weaknesses/motor patterns/needs. Let individuality be the guide here.

Box squats

I like what Todd said. Boxsquats can be OK sometimes for SOME powerlifters but for others like athletes i wouldnt waste my time. If one has to do them for what ever reason that athlete has lets say he/she has wet dreams about boxsquats i would have them do it in some type of training block for 3 weeks or so and then toss it out for 2-3 years. If they had a problem with that i would drop kick them.

Todd Wilson's picture

Box squats

IkeWagner wrote:
I don't think it's debateable; it's conditional. Some use the tool, and some don't. You can't "prove" that it's negligable for everyone, and you can't "prove" that it's beneficial for everyone. We all have different weaknesses/motor patterns/needs. Let individuality be the guide here.

I disagree that it's conditional. I don't know of nor can I imagine a situation when it is the only tool that can get the job done. I'm not claiming that there is some proof that suggests it's unneeded. I'm claiming, that while some can use it with success, that they also could have used other movements for equal or greater success.

IkeWagner's picture

Box squats

Just to clarify, what I said was directed towards powerlifting specifically (I assume you knew this). I understand your points for athletes. I didn't mean to suggest that it was the "only" anything. I should have been more clear. As for the other stuff, I'll agree to disagree, but not holding any unshakeable convictions. I'm still learning, and will stay open to all viewpoints until I get my info straight. This has been an interesting thread.

Box squats

No, you didn't, but again, it's not a good choice. Deadlift variations are infinitely better.

### Yes I agree I never said any differently.

Because it's not specific to anything athletically. No athlete uses that movement pattern in any sport. The full squat more closely simulates everyting from sprinting to a catcher getting into position, to a a DB giving a WR some cushion, to a basketball player getting into a defensive stance. At best it could be used in the general preperatory period, but the problem with that is, that period is usually devoted to correcting imbalances, as well as getting into shape for the season. Box squats, especially when used over time create a gross muscular imbalance between the vastus lateralis and the vastus medialis. I'm not having an athlete do something that creates imbalance. I'm balanceing that athlete and then using movements that, at minumum maintain proper balance. As sprint coach Charlie Francis says, "Looks right, flys right." meaning, the machine must be in proper working order to operate properly.

### Surely if the athlete performed box squats in rotation with full squats in his training these inbalances would not occur?

Only in powerlifting, and that's debateble based on the powerlifting champions who didn't box squat. Westside has popularized it, and they use it extensively in their system, and it was very popular in the 60's for a time, but it's easy to get big and strong without it. I.E., it's not the cat's pajamas.

### It isnt really debatable. The box squat is used by a great deal of powerlifters not just the guys using westside routines. Yes I agree you sure as hell can get a huge squat without them, but the fact is if used correctly a powerlifter will increase his squatting weight (im not saying will increase his squat BETTER than if he didnt use them, just that it will indeed build his squat, IF performed correctly).

Every single time! Ask Doc if back extensions improve posterior chain strength. To my knowledge he never did much box squatting, but he mentions back extensions about every third post he makes. Might be something to that.

### Yes I know that Doc doesnt like box squats and was an unbelievable powerlifter (which is why many guys on this site wouldnt even think about using them). I use back extensions extensively in my training so I arent going to disagree that they work.

And their are top coaches who don't use box squats.

### (these following posts were directed at weightlifters post) I was merely pointing out that they can be useful in training athletes.

I wouldn't say they have a use, I would say some have gotten some benefit, but I'm not looking for some benefit. I want to train, and want my athletes trained as efficiently as possible.

### Good point. Thats why I'm not saying 'box squats should be a staple in an athletes training program.'

Yeah, I tried them out once upon a time hoping they were the golden calf. They aren't even a bronze goat, unless you are a powerlifter.

### Ok cant argue with that.

If you recover faster, then they aren't hitting your posterior chain as hard. And/or you may not be performing GM correctly.

### A simple point that it seems i have overlooked! Yes I perform GM's correctly.

No it doesn't. It proves my point that they are specific to powerlifting. You will notice those same powerlifters performing GMs and deadlifts as well. The box squat is specific to the PL style of squat. There's too many that have achieved strong posterior chains without them for them to be deemed a superior movement for posterior chain development.

### Yes i agree GM's and deadlifts are also performed. I did claim that they are a superior movement for posterior chain development over RDL's and back extensions. I admit, this thread is starting to change my opinion.

Well, in my extensive expierience, they defintely do.

### I cant argue with that.

### I didn't, but suggesting they are better than GMs and RDLs, that is what it seems, but I would discuss this with you if you suggested they are the best posterior chain movement. That's like discussing NASA with someone who thinks we've never actually been to the moon. My point is, it's silly to rationalize using them because they are supposedly a good posterior chain developer, when while they work the posterior chain more extensively than full squats, they can't compete with posterior chains movements mentioned above. I mean, it's like touting the bench press, over the DB fly because of the lat recruitment.....Furthermore, the rationalization for using them for that purpose over the full squat is quite a logical fallacy anyway, because you don't squat in order to build posterior chain strength, regardless of the type of squat. Squats build the knee extensors and glutes more so than the low back and hamstrings.

### Surely the main muscle groups worked when squatting will be determined by style of squat. Take a guy who uses a wide stance or leans forward a lot eg Steve Goggins, he will be using more lower back than someone who squats in an upright position, and squats straight up and down.

I wouldn't complete disagree with it, but I'l stand by this one: For what ever purpose you are training for, I can find a movement that will get the job done better and faster than box squats.

### You have more knowledge and experience than I do so there is no way I would argue this point.

Todd Wilson's picture

Box squats

Surely if the athlete performed box squats in rotation with full squats in his training these inbalances would not occur?

### No, they would occur. It would take time performing full squats and other movements of the like in order to balance things back out. You would end up spending most of your time, basically, creating an imbalance, and then trying to correct it. If that's the case, when are you going to work on speed, power, maximal strength, relative strength, etc.? You'd simply always be trying to get healthy.

It isnt really debatable. The box squat is used by a great deal of powerlifters not just the guys using westside routines.

### As well as plenty who have never used one.

Yes I agree you sure as hell can get a huge squat without them, but the fact is if used correctly a powerlifter will increase his squatting weight (im not saying will increase his squat BETTER than if he didnt use them, just that it will indeed build his squat, IF performed correctly).

### The same can be done without using it. Hence the question, why use it, unless it can produce greater results?

Surely the main muscle groups worked when squatting will be determined by style of squat. Take a guy who uses a wide stance or leans forward a lot eg Steve Goggins, he will be using more lower back than someone who squats in an upright position, and squats straight up and down.

### That's certainly true, but that doesn't make the movement a superior posterior chain movement, simply because you are using more muscles, or motor units from the posterior chain when performing it a certain way.

I wouldn't complete disagree with it, but I'l stand by this one: For what ever purpose you are training for, I can find a movement that will get the job done better and faster than box squats.
### You have more knowledge and experience than I do so there is no way I would argue this point.

### Well, argue it......I can be wrong, but I'm going to be wrong based on some reasoning point about using or not using a movement, and not base it on a relatively small percentage of athletes who use a movement and tout it's benefits.

Saad Ahmed's picture

Box squats

I started using speed box squats and my squat shot up over 150pounds in a matter of months..

Its a great excercise for powerlifters and athletes when varied with other movements, coaches like Defranco use it and are successful. Louie Simmons?, aaaaah we all know.

Box squats

I train anly RAW and i can tell you that Box squats have done a lot for me .But they have also made me do some bad stuff .The problem is if you do them for too long and too heavy .After doin heavy Box squats for a long time i found myself leaning forward at the start(out of the hole).I read somewere that Ed Coan said they tend to make a lifter lean too much,but i found that if you change the exercise after 3 weeks you will only recive the benefits of this exercise.

I must say that my favorite exercise is Wide GM .It helps my squat a lot(if i only use it for few weeks,of course)and it alows me to train the deadlift only once every few months when i set new PR's.

Box squats

dig, that's not what I meant. The fact is that the squat is meant to develop leg strength mainly in the quads. But box squats don't work the quads very well at all. In fact, you won't be able to develop strength as well through the full range of motion unless you actually do so. That's why olympic squats and front squats are typically better. To further my arguement, Doc. always said he used to do olympic squats most of the time and only practice doing the powerlifting style weeks before the contest. Also, have you ever heard of an olympic lifter ever needing box squats? I haven't, and they are some of the best strength athletes in the world. In my case, I developed great leg strength simply by doing olympic squats. Then I was able to increase my poundage a lot simply taking a few weeks to practice box squats. Box squats make you think you are stronger when you really aren't. Don't believe me? Go ahead and try doing parallel box squats for a while and amaze yourself with some big numbers. Then go back and try some front squats or some olympic squats after several weeks. You'll find yourself dissappointed when you realise how strong you really aren't and you will see what my point is. You will see when what is less than 1/3 of what you were box squatting makes your quads sore on the front squat.

Now sure, you do need to develop posterior chain strength as well. I'm not going to say what is the best for that. But have you ever read any of Louies articles on the westside website? They take a break from box squats to work on other exercises such as good mornings because they know how important it is to develop a stronger posterior chain. And they say it works better than box squats. Box squats are only a variation of practicing squats, that's it.

So you do make a good point that you shouldn't neglect the posterior chain. That is for sure, something I need to remind myself as well. But it seems you get things mixed up a bit. You changed my words around. Further more, there are better ways to develop great strength of the posterior chain.

By the way, how is things going? How is the lifting going?

Box squats

Charles Izzo wrote:
dig, that's not what I meant. The fact is that the squat is meant to develop leg strength mainly in the quads. But box squats don't work the quads very well at all. In fact, you won't be able to develop strength as well through the full range of motion unless you actually do so. That's why olympic squats and front squats are typically better. To further my arguement, Doc. always said he used to do olympic squats most of the time and only practice doing the powerlifting style weeks before the contest. Also, have you ever heard of an olympic lifter ever needing box squats? I haven't, and they are some of the best strength athletes in the world. In my case, I developed great leg strength simply by doing olympic squats. Then I was able to increase my poundage a lot simply taking a few weeks to practice box squats. Box squats make you think you are stronger when you really aren't. Don't believe me? Go ahead and try doing parallel box squats for a while and amaze yourself with some big numbers. Then go back and try some front squats or some olympic squats after several weeks. You'll find yourself dissappointed when you realise how strong you really aren't and you will see what my point is. You will see when what is less than 1/3 of what you were box squatting makes your quads sore on the front squat.

### My point was from what I've heard (I dont have any hands on experience in training athletes) most athletes already have an inbalance when they first start training. Their quads usually overpower their hamstrings which makes the athletes more at risk to hamstring pulls. Wide stance box squats will put less emphasis on the quads and more so on the hamstrings, however what you dont seem to realise is many powerlifters utilize low box squats with a close stance, with a variety of different bars, which really does bring up quad strength! The statement about box squats making you think you are stronger than you are is laughable. Box squats are a harder movement than a regular powerlifting squat, I have never seen someone box squat more than you squat below parallel. This would only be possible if the box squats were not performed correctly. So the point about 1/3 of your box squat weight making your quads sore is void. The fact is it would be a warm-up weight (literally). Now I'll turn your argument around, and say that there is no way someone who full squats say 400lb is not going to box squat 600lb. However I would be amazed if the 600lb box squatter couldnt do reps with 400lb full squats!

Now sure, you do need to develop posterior chain strength as well. I'm not going to say what is the best for that. But have you ever read any of Louies articles on the westside website? They take a break from box squats to work on other exercises such as good mornings because they know how important it is to develop a stronger posterior chain. And they say it works better than box squats. Box squats are only a variation of practicing squats, that's it.

###Please,please,please go back and read some more articles. At westside box squats are performed every week on speed day year round. On max effort days box squats are rotated with a variation of a pull or GM. Louie believes box squats will outperform every other type of squat in building power due to the static overcome by dynamic nature of a box squat. So many guys seem to miss the boat on this style of training.

So you do make a good point that you shouldn't neglect the posterior chain. That is for sure, something I need to remind myself as well. But it seems you get things mixed up a bit. You changed my words around. Further more, there are better ways to develop great strength of the posterior chain.

### Yep there are better exercises to build posterior strength.

By the way, how is things going? How is the lifting going?

### Things are going ok thanks. Training is going well I have a bench press only comp this sunday. How is your training going?

Box squats

Todd Wilson wrote:
Surely if the athlete performed box squats in rotation with full squats in his training these inbalances would not occur?

### No, they would occur. It would take time performing full squats and other movements of the like in order to balance things back out. You would end up spending most of your time, basically, creating an imbalance, and then trying to correct it. If that's the case, when are you going to work on speed, power, maximal strength, relative strength, etc.? You'd simply always be trying to get healthy.

##### As I stated in the post above I have always thought that athletes usually have an inbalance between quads and hamstrings when they first start training? This is certainly true in my personal experience my quads were a lot lot stronger than my hamstrings. This is also true of a couple of my training partners one of whom came from doing full squats and had only used deadlift variations to strengthen his hamstrings. His hamstrings were terribly week and he couldnt even properly perform a box squat due to this problem. So if this situation occured with an athlete surely carrying on using full squats would be further creating imbalances. What would you do? Would you just keep full squats in but concentrate on using exercises such as RDL's and GM's? How about if the athlete performed box squats for a while instead of the full squats and also rotated RDL's and GM's?

Yes I agree you sure as hell can get a huge squat without them, but the fact is if used correctly a powerlifter will increase his squatting weight (im not saying will increase his squat BETTER than if he didnt use them, just that it will indeed build his squat, IF performed correctly).

### The same can be done without using it. Hence the question, why use it, unless it can produce greater results?

##### I have found that my squat increases faster using box squats than regular squats. Some people will be totally the opposite but it can produce greater results in some cases which is why it is used.

Surely the main muscle groups worked when squatting will be determined by style of squat. Take a guy who uses a wide stance or leans forward a lot eg Steve Goggins, he will be using more lower back than someone who squats in an upright position, and squats straight up and down.

### That's certainly true, but that doesn't make the movement a superior posterior chain movement, simply because you are using more muscles, or motor units from the posterior chain when performing it a certain way.

##### My point was directed at your comment that 'Squats build the knee extensors and glutes more so than the low back and hamstrings.' I was pointing out that is not always the case.

I wouldn't complete disagree with it, but I'l stand by this one: For what ever purpose you are training for, I can find a movement that will get the job done better and faster than box squats.
### You have more knowledge and experience than I do so there is no way I would argue this point.

### Well, argue it......I can be wrong, but I'm going to be wrong based on some reasoning point about using or not using a movement, and not base it on a relatively small percentage of athletes who use a movement and tout it's benefits.

##### There really isnt a point to argue. I didnt ever say that box squats were superior to any other movement when training an athlete, I was pointing out that they can be useful. How about for developing speed? With the static overcome by dynamic work would they not work to enhance an athletes explosiveness?

IkeWagner's picture

Box squats

Charles Izzo wrote:
Box squats make you think you are stronger when you really aren't. Don't believe me? Go ahead and try doing parallel box squats for a while and amaze yourself with some big numbers. Then go back and try some front squats or some olympic squats after several weeks. You'll find yourself dissappointed when you realise how strong you really aren't and you will see what my point is.

Pretty good post Charles, though what you say here isn't completely accurate. Not all box squats are parallel. Those are easy. If you try to squat off a low box, you are more likely to feel like a little girl than macho man.

Todd Wilson's picture

Box squats

##### As I stated in the post above I have always thought that athletes usually have an inbalance between quads and hamstrings when they first start training? This is certainly true in my personal experience my quads were a lot lot stronger than my hamstrings. This is also true of a couple of my training partners one of whom came from doing full squats and had only used deadlift variations to strengthen his hamstrings. His hamstrings were terribly week and he couldnt even properly perform a box squat due to this problem. So if this situation occured with an athlete surely carrying on using full squats would be further creating imbalances. What would you do?

### If the hams are weak in relation with regards to the ham strings you drop squats completely, and prioritize the hamstrings with movements that recruit them maximally. There are many movements that do this, but the box squat isn't one of them.

Yes I agree you sure as hell can get a huge squat without them, but the fact is if used correctly a powerlifter will increase his squatting weight (im not saying will increase his squat BETTER than if he didnt use them, just that it will indeed build his squat, IF performed correctly).

### I've seen no evidence of this what so ever.

I have found that my squat increases faster using box squats than regular squats. Some people will be totally the opposite but it can produce greater results in some cases which is why it is used.

### I have found that people do not use enough variety in training, especially with regard to set/rep, i.e., load volume manipulation, exercises selection , and not to mention proper periodization. Therefore, when they try something new they in fact do get better at it quickly, and then overreact at it's efficacy.

My point was directed at your comment that 'Squats build the knee extensors and glutes more so than the low back and hamstrings.' I was pointing out that is not always the case.

### But it IS the case, because a change in form brings about more posterior chain recruitment, does not in any way mean that it brings about maximal or optimal recruitment. The box squat, or even the powerlifting style squat recruits more of the posterior chain than the olwympic style squat, but neither can still compete with movements that specifically target the musculature. I'm sorry. It just doesn't happen. Incline benches recruit the deltoids more so than the flat bench, but it still doesn't do as well as the overhead press. By logical extension that is what you're arguing.

There really isnt a point to argue. I didnt ever say that box squats were superior to any other movement when training an athlete,

### No, but you have been suggesting that it is some very good posterior chain movement and so forth, as if that is the benefit of the movement, when it isn't. The box squat can arguably have various benefits, but because it recruits the posterior chain more than the olympic squat isn't one of them! There's about 75 movements that do a better job of recruiting the posterior chian. Hence, if you use it in training, that's fine, but it's quite silly to use it for the purpose of bringing up the posterior chain.

I was pointing out that they can be useful.

### Perhaps, but not for posterior chain development. They are only 50% as effective as other movements.

How about for developing speed? With the static overcome by dynamic work would they not work to enhance an athletes explosiveness?

### Again, for speed development, they are a very, very, very poor choice. It's not that the movement is so terribly bad, it's just that for any strength quality that is desired to be trained, there is virtually always a better option.

Box squats

Sorry guys "its efficacy" not it's efficacy . It's grating me.

Box squats

Ike, I knew I should have deleted the "parallel" part. You are correct. I only meant that for example. Low box squats are still easier than olympic and front squats.

Box squats

dig,

My point was from what I've heard (I dont have any hands on experience in training athletes) most athletes already have an inbalance when they first start training. Their quads usually overpower their hamstrings which makes the athletes more at risk to hamstring pulls. Wide stance box squats will put less emphasis on the quads and more so on the hamstrings, however what you dont seem to realise is many powerlifters utilize low box squats with a close stance, with a variety of different bars, which really does bring up quad strength!

### Yeah, but there are better ways to develop quad strength such as olympic squats and front squats.

The statement about box squats making you think you are stronger than you are is laughable. Box squats are a harder movement than a regular powerlifting squat, I have never seen someone box squat more than you squat below parallel. This would only be possible if the box squats were not performed correctly. So the point about 1/3 of your box squat weight making your quads sore is void. The fact is it would be a warm-up weight (literally). Now I'll turn your argument around, and say that there is no way someone who full squats say 400lb is not going to box squat 600lb. However I would be amazed if the 600lb box squatter couldnt do reps with 400lb full squats!

### How is that laughable? I hit a parallel 495 on the box raw. Give me a suit, wraps, and belt, and who knows how much I would get. Yeah, a lot more, maybe 550 or 600? I have hit close to 385 on the olympic squat and 275 on the front squat, which is significantly less. The box squat is not a good test of quad strength. It doesn't work the quads well. And it's easier than olympic squats because you don't have to go down all the way. If it was so much harder, you wouldn't be able to lift as much weight with it.

Please,please,please go back and read some more articles. At westside box squats are performed every week on speed day year round. On max effort days box squats are rotated with a variation of a pull or GM. Louie believes box squats will outperform every other type of squat in building power due to the static overcome by dynamic nature of a box squat. So many guys seem to miss the boat on this style of training.

### Right. They do the GMs on ME day to develop posterior chain strength. Clearly they do take a break on ME day from box squats. But speed day is different. Speed day is not specificly for working the muscles. It's for practicing speed. It's sports specific training.

Things are going ok thanks. Training is going well I have a bench press only comp this sunday. How is your training going?

###Things are going well. Just trying some composition training. Tried farmers walks yesterday and wow! It's a really good, hard exercise! It made my wrists feel like Popeye!

Box squats

Yes I agree you sure as hell can get a huge squat without them, but the fact is if used correctly a powerlifter will increase his squatting weight (im not saying will increase his squat BETTER than if he didnt use them, just that it will indeed build his squat, IF performed correctly).

### I've seen no evidence of this what so ever.

##### I don't understand how you come to this conclusion when guys have gone from squatting 700lb to over 900lb when using solely box squats and never performing free squats in training. Chuck Vogelpohl has trained westside style from the start of his powerlifting career and is a world record holder in the squat. That's some evidence for you.

I have found that my squat increases faster using box squats than regular squats. Some people will be totally the opposite but it can produce greater results in some cases which is why it is used.

### I have found that people do not use enough variety in training, especially with regard to set/rep, i.e., load volume manipulation, exercises selection , and not to mention proper periodization. Therefore, when they try something new they in fact do get better at it quickly, and then overreact at it's efficacy.

##### I agree. However I have box squatted now for 1 1/2 years and my squat is still going up.

### Again, for speed development, they are a very, very, very poor choice. It's not that the movement is so terribly bad, it's just that for any strength quality that is desired to be trained, there is virtually always a better option.

##### What are the best exercises to develop speed do you think? Olympic lifts?

The points I have mentioned I agree with, I will have to rethink my ideas on the best posterior chain movements.

Box squats

### Yeah, but there are better ways to develop quad strength such as olympic squats and front squats.

##### Yes I agree with that.

### How is that laughable? I hit a parallel 495 on the box raw. Give me a suit, wraps, and belt, and who knows how much I would get. Yeah, a lot more, maybe 550 or 600? I have hit close to 385 on the olympic squat and 275 on the front squat, which is significantly less. The box squat is not a good test of quad strength. It doesn't work the quads well. And it's easier than olympic squats because you don't have to go down all the way. If it was so much harder, you wouldn't be able to lift as much weight with it.

##### I didnt mean a fully geared regular squat is harder than a box squat. I meant a regular squat in the same conditions (ie belt only) is harder than a parrallel box squat. Your absolutely right using a wide stance on the box squat will not work the quads very well (i believe i said that).

### Right. They do the GMs on ME day to develop posterior chain strength. Clearly they do take a break on ME day from box squats. But speed day is different. Speed day is not specificly for working the muscles. It's for practicing speed. It's sports specific training.

##### I thought that you implied that box squats were rotated in their training in general (ie all workouts).

###Things are going well. Just trying some composition training. Tried farmers walks yesterday and wow! It's a really good, hard exercise! It made my wrists feel like Popeye!

##### I havent tried farmers walks in probably over a year, really like the exercise though! Do you compete in a strength sport at the present time?

Box squats

Do you compete in a strength sport at the present time?

#No. Just training right now to get in good shape. But I think I might like to see about getting into some sort of competitive sport when I am don with college and have a bit more free time for a hobby out side of work. Sounds exciting and and probably the best way to stay in top shape. How about you? Are you just doing bench competitions these days? And what kind of numbers are you hitting?

Box squats

Charles Izzo wrote:
Do you compete in a strength sport at the present time?

#No. Just training right now to get in good shape. But I think I might like to see about getting into some sort of competitive sport when I am don with college and have a bit more free time for a hobby out side of work. Sounds exciting and and probably the best way to stay in top shape. How about you? Are you just doing bench competitions these days? And what kind of numbers are you hitting?

### Yes I compete in powerlifting comps as well not just bench only, dont know about being in top shape though LOL! Which way are you leaning towards? powerlifting,weightlifting,strongman,highland games or havent you decided yet? I would like to bench 505lb@198lb this weekend for a british open record but I'm still 14lb overweight so will have to see how that goes lol! Best squat thus far is 650lb in a loose suit and knee wraps and best deadlift is an embarassing 540lb done raw -damn my short arms!

Todd Wilson's picture

Box squats

##### I don't understand how you come to this conclusion when guys have gone from squatting 700lb to over 900lb when using solely box squats and never performing free squats in training. Chuck Vogelpohl has trained westside style from the start of his powerlifting career and is a world record holder in the squat. That's some evidence for you.

That's zero evidence. I've never suggested that by using a box squat that a person would get weak. I've stated that there is virtually always a better method. What evidence is there that a person going from a 700 lb. squat to a 900 lb. squat wouldn't have gone to a 1,000 lb squat using much different methods than typically seen? As I've already stated, box squatting provides those that do a poor job of manipulating acute training variables, some degree of variety, but when performed indefinitely, it's results will eventually be like any other movement used without variation. In other words, AGAIN, whatever the results are, I'm utterly convinced that there are much much better ways to do it, and there is no evidence that the box squat provides any type of superior training effect. It can only be argued that it provides a type of specific training to some squatters (depending on their technique), and this is exactly the way in which Westside uses the box squat.

##### I agree. However I have box squatted now for 1 1/2 years and my squat is still going up.

Again, so? I would have your squat continuously going up after 1 1/2 years as well, and you may be even stronger now. Your attempting to compare two things that you can't compare. The only way you can state what you are attempting to state without the logical fallacy of these anecdotal evidences, is exaplain why box squats offer something uique in terms of the movement itself. You begin by suggesting it was some sort of superior posterior chain movement......hopefully we've put that notion to rest, but what else does the movement offer over and above other squatting variations?

##### What are the best exercises to develop speed do you think? Olympic lifts?

It depends on what strength quality that athlete is deficient in that is limiting his speed. For person A, olympic lifts or even plyos, won't do a thing, but getting their squat or deadlift up certainly will, becuase they would need to get stronger. For person B, they can increase their deadlift by 200 lbs. and get slower, and no amount of so called "speed work" will improve speed, you would need something more explosive such as power versions of the olympic lifts and/or plyometric work. Person C's speed may best be increased by eccentric training Now, all things being equal, yes power cleans and power snatch variations are better than box squat performed with compensatory acceleration. This despite Westsides objections. Furthermore, I can teach most athletes how to power snatch before they can learn to get the most benefits out of a box squat, or maybe before they can even get into their squat suit. If they would learn to use them properly, the power and pull versions of the olympic lifts would fit perfectly onto their speed day.

Box squats

That's zero evidence. I've never suggested that by using a box squat that a person would get weak. I've stated that there is virtually always a better method. What evidence is there that a person going from a 700 lb. squat to a 900 lb. squat wouldn't have gone to a 1,000 lb squat using much different methods than typically seen? As I've already stated, box squatting provides those that do a poor job of manipulating acute training variables, some degree of variety, but when performed indefinitely, it's results will eventually be like any other movement used without variation. In other words, AGAIN, whatever the results are, I'm utterly convinced that there are much much better ways to do it, and there is no evidence that the box squat provides any type of superior training effect. It can only be argued that it provides a type of specific training to some squatters (depending on their technique), and this is exactly the way in which Westside uses the box squat.

### Yes but there is also no evidence that a regular squat is superior than box squatting for powerlifters. With the amount of elite powerlifters using box squats nowadays (not just westside guys)there must be something in it. If these guys who are training to break world records believed regular squats would work better I'm sure that they would use them.

Again, so? I would have your squat continuously going up after 1 1/2 years as well, and you may be even stronger now. Your attempting to compare two things that you can't compare. The only way you can state what you are attempting to state without the logical fallacy of these anecdotal evidences, is exaplain why box squats offer something uique in terms of the movement itself. You begin by suggesting it was some sort of superior posterior chain movement......hopefully we've put that notion to rest,

### I may be even stronger, I also may not be, who knows. Yes I did suggest them as a superior posterior chain movement but as I said in my previous post I will have to re-think that.

but what else does the movement offer over and above other squatting variations?

###The main reason I have used box squats is because they allow me to sit back slightly further than if i were to perform a regular squat, putting more emphasis on the hamstrings, glutes and lower back rather than the quads (I squat fairly wide stance). They also take a lot of pressure off the patellar tendon and knee joint, which I believe allows me to recover faster than regular squatting. They have also really helped to reinforce my technique (ie sitting back) which is necessary if you want to get a decent carryover out of a squat suit. These points are why I have used box squats as a powerlifter, I dont think all these points relate to training athletes.

It depends on what strength quality that athlete is deficient in that is limiting his speed. For person A, olympic lifts or even plyos, won't do a thing, but getting their squat or deadlift up certainly will, becuase they would need to get stronger. For person B, they can increase their deadlift by 200 lbs. and get slower, and no amount of so called "speed work" will improve speed, you would need something more explosive such as power versions of the olympic lifts and/or plyometric work. Person C's speed may best be increased by eccentric training Now, all things being equal, yes power cleans and power snatch variations are better than box squat performed with compensatory acceleration. This despite Westsides objections. Furthermore, I can teach most athletes how to power snatch before they can learn to get the most benefits out of a box squat, or maybe before they can even get into their squat suit. If they would learn to use them properly, the power and pull versions of the olympic lifts would fit perfectly onto their speed day.

### Next week I will have got all this years comps out of the way and I really wanted to focus on getting a lot faster on squats and deadlifts. I have the ability to grind weights out but after around 80% 1RM they are pretty damn slow, even though I always try to lift as fast and explosive as I can. What exercises would you recommend to help to improve this?

Box squats

I still think a lot of it has to do with what federation you compete in. If you're squatting 2-ply with 2-ply briefs then training a box squat is more like your competition squat. Why? The suit and briefs have so much stopping power in the hole. You are literally going down until they stop you and you can't go any deeper. Having them on is like sitting on a box.

The Westside guys only wear loose briefs when training. That's probably why sitting on the box is such an effective way to train their squat.

Todd Wilson's picture

Box squats

### Yes but there is also no evidence that a regular squat is superior than box squatting for powerlifters. With the amount of elite powerlifters using box squats nowadays (not just westside guys)there must be something in it. If these guys who are training to break world records believed regular squats would work better I'm sure that they would use them.

Your confusing some of my assertions here....I'm not categorically stating that "regular" squats are better in that they achieve better results when you perform them as opposed to box squats, per se. I am saying that whether you even use regular squats in training or not; in order to improve one's PL total, there is virtually always a better choice of exercises/methods than the box squat. I.e., for the strength quality that one desires to train, for the adaptations one hopes to force to occur, box squats are rarely the best choice compared with other methods. Understand, I'm not saying "typical" or "traditional" methods per se, but other methods.

### I may be even stronger, I also may not be, who knows.

If I trained you you would be, via progressive, incremental overload. Weight training is so much simpler than people make it out to be. We make it sooooooooocomplicated, and then "typical" programs, routines, etc. are beyond simple in many cases with respect to manipulation of acute exercise variables.

###The main reason I have used box squats is because they allow me to sit back slightly further than if i were to perform a regular squat, putting more emphasis on the hamstrings, glutes and lower back rather than the quads (I squat fairly wide stance). They also take a lot of pressure off the patellar tendon and knee joint,

*** Here's one of the problems I've discussed...no form of squat puts any type of undue, or even stressful "pressure" on the patellae or the joint itself. However, do to the recruitment pattern in the box squat, your vastus lateralis is significantly stronger than your VMO, hence your musculature that is responsible for proper patellae function is typically weak and/or has an improper firing pattern, therefore, in other movements you may perceive some type of increased strain in near the patellae.

which I believe allows me to recover faster than regular squatting. They have also really helped to reinforce my technique (ie sitting back) which is necessary if you want to get a decent carryover out of a squat suit. These points are why I have used box squats as a powerlifter, I dont think all these points relate to training athletes.

*** Aaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhh, so with a little logical deduction we are back to my initial points.....box squats provide little to no additoinal benefit to athletes, and conditional benefits to the powerlifter as a means of specific preparation for their sport.....

It depends on what strength quality that athlete is deficient in that is limiting his speed. For person A, olympic lifts or even plyos, won't do a thing, but getting their squat or deadlift up certainly will, becuase they would need to get stronger. For person B, they can increase their deadlift by 200 lbs. and get slower, and no amount of so called "speed work" will improve speed, you would need something more explosive such as power versions of the olympic lifts and/or plyometric work. Person C's speed may best be increased by eccentric training Now, all things being equal, yes power cleans and power snatch variations are better than box squat performed with compensatory acceleration. This despite Westsides objections. Furthermore, I can teach most athletes how to power snatch before they can learn to get the most benefits out of a box squat, or maybe before they can even get into their squat suit. If they would learn to use them properly, the power and pull versions of the olympic lifts would fit perfectly onto their speed day.

### Next week I will have got all this years comps out of the way and I really wanted to focus on getting a lot faster on squats and deadlifts. I have the ability to grind weights out but after around 80% 1RM they are pretty damn slow, even though I always try to lift as fast and explosive as I can. What exercises would you recommend to help to improve this?

*** Well, first understand that if your really fast with 80%+ or 90%+, then you have issues, because your not really lifting say, your true 90% of your 1RM. Those lifts by nature are going to be slow. However, if you have a problem generating force quickly, you would have to look at two things.....the point at which your speed in the lift slows down; i.e., does the speed slow down in the middle of the lift.....is their a problem with getting speed started at the beginning of the lift, or locking it out. Also, all of those variables are going to be affected by equipment you use as well.

For example, if you're getting out of the hole ok, but slowing in the middle, speed per se, may not be your problem. You may need better strength getting out of the hole. The suit may be giving you just enough to get out of the hole, but, then you don't have the speed to get through middle portion, because you need more strength getting out of the hole. On the contrary, if your slowing near the top, just before lockout, you may need more speed. Then on the other hand, with or without a suit, if your struggling to get out of the hole, you can forget speed all together. You can't build speed pushing a wheel barrow up hill.

Todd Wilson's picture

Box squats

MarcusWild wrote:
I still think a lot of it has to do with what federation you compete in. If you're squatting 2-ply with 2-ply briefs then training a box squat is more like your competition squat. Why? The suit and briefs have so much stopping power in the hole. You are literally going down until they stop you and you can't go any deeper. Having them on is like sitting on a box.

The Westside guys only wear loose briefs when training. That's probably why sitting on the box is such an effective way to train their squat.

Excellent points!

Box squats

Good points Todd. Agree with what you said as well Marcus spot on.

Regarding the speed. I hit a sticking point during the last 3/4 of both deadlifts and squats. Now I believe the main factor in the deadlift is poor technique however if I was faster I know I would blow through the sticking point, so a bit of everything. Basically the same with the squat I hit a sticking point 3/4 of the way up but keep my technique ok, which made me think the biggest problem is speed out of the hole. Any thoughts?