The box squat is a squatting variation that is used as a tool to improve both an athlete’s form and strength. It is held by some, particularly Louie Simmons of Westside Barbell, as a secret weapon to building not just your squat but overall strength numbers. Well, what makes a box squat different than a traditional back squat? Let’s break down the box squat step-by-step to better understand:
- Set up a box by your squat rack low enough so that your hips break parallel while seated.
- Lift the bar from the rack and take a step back. Place your legs in a wide sumo stance. The wider stance places a greater emphasis on the posterior chain (hips, glutes,back and hamstrings).
- Brace your core by filling your abdomen with air and maintain this breath to keep tension. This helps stabilize the lower back and allows you to maximize the power from your lower body while keeping you safe.
- Push your hips back, keep knees apart and squat with control until you completely sit on the box. Make sure not to drop down on the box, rock on the box, or bounce off the box.
- After pausing, with vertical shins and a tall chest, pull across the bar, take a deep breathe in, and EXPLODE off the box.
The benefits of a box squat are simple:
- Enforces proper technique and loading of posterior chain
- Improves mobility and overall range of motion in the squat
- Helps build power and strength
- Safer than a traditional back squat
The box squat recruits all muscles within the body to perform the lift. The box squat puts the hips and torso in a position that maximally engages the back, glutes, and hamstrings. Because of the nature of the movement, you can train box squats more frequently than your traditional back squat. The box squat can be used by elite athletes to train in high volume and also by beginners to develop positional awareness, strength, and confidence!