Squat Technique – Box Squats

I have two go to’s I like to use when a lifter is struggling with squat technique.

If the lifter is brand new, does not have lifting experience or a strength foundation to draw on, and struggles with squats I’ve found goblet squats a very good tool to introduce them to proper squat technique.

For lifters who do have experience and have developed some level of strength, and the subject of this article, I find box squats quite useful. This includes relatively experienced lifters who may struggle because of body mechanics (long legs and short torso for example).

I’ve found that if you get the stance right for a lifter, and keep the bar path straight up and down over the center of the feet, the rest generally falls into place. Box squats are a great way to find those positions for people with differing body structures.

You’ll find a myriad of technique styles for the box squat – what I share here is primarily focused on hammering the squat lifting pattern. Additional power out of the hole is, of course, a useful by-product.

Key points of the ‘technique’ box squat:

  • Box should always be low enough to get below parallel when on the box (I can hear it now, ‘THAT box??? That box is WAY too low!!!’ No, no, it really is not).
  • Come to a complete stop on the box, it’s not a touch and go. Coming to a complete stop allows you to think about the descent and ascent separately, and perform each movement more accurately – While on the box, remain tight, don’t relax on the box.
  • Do not lean forward as you get to the box or forward as you start back up. Keep that bar right over the center of your feet at all times, even while on the box. The bar should move up and down as if it were on rails.
  • If necessary, adjust the width of your stance until you can squat to the box without having the bar shift forward in front of your center of gravity, or backwards as you get to the box. Once you have that bar moving straight up and down over your shoe laces throughout the full ROM you should be in a good stance

This version of the box squat isn’t just for beginners, or for technique corrections – I’ve found it can also be a great accessory lift to help internalize that squat pattern and make it feel natural. I useful to cycle this lift into your programming occasionally.  

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