Introduction to Box Deadlifts

One of my guys, Joe, has very powerful quads but has had difficulty getting them engaged to initiate his pulls from the floor. He found an effective way to train this technique issue: box deadlifts.

When used for squats, the box can be used in a couple of different ways:

  • Touch and Go: For touch and goes the box is simply used as an indicator that you’ve squatted to the desired depth. Once you feel the box under your glutes, reverse directions and lift the weight.
  • Box Squats: Squat to the box and come to a complete stop before ascending. Starting from a dead stop helps you build more explosive power into the concentric portion of your squat.

Joe’s technique is a deadlift touch and go. He sits back down to the box, using it to find the right hip depth*. More importantly, he uses the box as a queue to reverse direction. Using this queue, he comes to a complete stop and allows a brief pause before beginning the pull. This lets him focus on driving down through the heels and engage the quads along with the glutes and hams to initiate a powerful pull. His hips, shoulders and the bar all initially rise explosively at the same rate – the hips do not shoot up leaving his posterior chain to do all the work.

* Every individual has different body mechanics, strengths and weaknesses. Proper hip depth will vary by individual, and is beyond the scope of this discussion.

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