Box squats

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Gantz
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Box squats

Post by Gantz » Wed Dec 15, 2010 7:11 pm

Now that I've learned a thing or two about front squats, I've started wondering about box squats. I know they're geared toward breaking the plateau on the squat, or just increasing overall squat strength. But would they be of any use in an olympic lifting or hypertrophy program?

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Post by Nevage » Wed Dec 15, 2010 8:51 pm

I use them whenever I plateau on squats. In the summer I plateaued so switched to box squats for a couple of months and it broke my plateau nicely, I added 25kg before plateauing again (now) and currently gone back to them GVT style. You can feel them a hell of a lot more on your quads because you don't take advantage of the stretch reflex. They're also really good for reinforcing good technique. I usually do them high volume and normal squat heavy/low volume.

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Post by nygmen » Thu Dec 16, 2010 9:22 pm

i set up a "box" to gauge depth (keep myself honest). I don't actually sit on it though.

I have vids if you care.

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Post by Gantz » Fri Dec 17, 2010 12:45 am

Yeah, I'd be interested in some of your videos.

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Post by KPj » Fri Dec 17, 2010 8:39 am

You can use a box for - Box Squats, squatting to a box, and "tap and go" to gauge depth...

In "Box Squats" you're striving for a vertical shin so, you sit back as far as possible - the movement is all hips, it's just "back, back, back," with no "down". Your knees should barely move forward, if at all. You'll have more forward lean at the trunk - it's basically to shift most of the emphasis on to your glutes, hams, and lower back. Normally it takes a while (and patience) to learn how to do this. You pause for a split second then explode up. Getting off the box has been describes as a "giant leg curl". Due to the shin angle, box squats are often said to be a lot more like deadlift only, the bar is on your back instead of in your hands. Look up elitefts or westside barbell for some box squat articles and it'll go into much more detail.

If you squat with just normal free squatting form (with more knee bend/shins moving forward) down to a box, and pause, I just call that squatting to a box, but I differentiate between this and "Box Squats". It can seem silly but when you learn to "Box Squat" then you'll see that the difference, although subtle to look at, is actually quite significant.

Both versions can be good to use as a squat variation.

In terms of building mass, I would say it depends how valuable you feel the squat is for building mass. If you agree that the squat is a valuable exercise for this, and also agree that progressively getting stronger on the squat is important to maximise the benefits of it, then Box Squats, and loads of other squat variations could be useful when your squat progress stalls. In terms of what I guess we could call "localised hypertrophy", "Box Squats", i reckon would pack some size on your a$$, so, depends what you're after really.

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Post by nygmen » Tue Dec 21, 2010 8:40 pm


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Post by strengthlogs » Sun Jan 02, 2011 7:43 am

KPj wrote:You can use a box for - Box Squats, squatting to a box, and "tap and go" to gauge depth...

In "Box Squats" you're striving for a vertical shin so, you sit back as far as possible - the movement is all hips, it's just "back, back, back," with no "down". Your knees should barely move forward, if at all. You'll have more forward lean at the trunk - it's basically to shift most of the emphasis on to your glutes, hams, and lower back. Normally it takes a while (and patience) to learn how to do this. You pause for a split second then explode up. Getting off the box has been describes as a "giant leg curl". Due to the shin angle, box squats are often said to be a lot more like deadlift only, the bar is on your back instead of in your hands. Look up elitefts or westside barbell for some box squat articles and it'll go into much more detail.
This is a pretty good description and, as you indicate, there's a few different ideas behind box squats.

In "Westside" training, box squats are done on speed day. The purpose for speed day is to train the body to generate as much force as possible. Since Force is 'F=ma', the use of a lot of mass (weight on the bar) on speed day is counter productive. At Westside, they typically use 50% of 1RM for Speed Day and they generally do about 8 sets of 2 reps. They also do a pause on the box and explode up - again because the point of the work on that day is to train the body to generate Force, not to get stronger. This is one of the things people have a hard time understanding.

So, for Westside-style box squats, you'd use about 50% of 1RM. Do a high number of very short sets. Add bands or chains to add some variety and give extra resistance at the top. Keep in mind that the band/ chain weight needs to be calculated into the 50%.

Personally I think Westside style box squats (and dynamic effort aka speed day) is only going to be beneficial for strength athletes or athletes in sports which require explosive strength. If you're concentrating on muscular hypertrophy and not maximum force production, there are better uses of your training time.


Box squats can be used, as KPj mentioned, to help with form as well. One thing box squats can help with is help you learn to take a wider stance. A lot of people tend to squat with their legs closer together, which tends to only use the legs. You can tell this by the fact that, to get to parallel the knees extend forward beyond the toes. Squatting with a wider stance can help bring more of the back and hip flexors in. I also favor goblet squats for learning proper form and depth, though you can't do much weight with goblet squats.

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Post by bam » Sun Jan 02, 2011 8:03 am

strengthlogs wrote:I also favor goblet squats for learning proper form and depth, though you can't do much weight with goblet squats.
Checkout Exercise #5: Goblet Squat w/ Pulse...
http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_art ... _hate_life

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Post by Kenny Croxdale » Sun Jan 02, 2011 10:54 am

At Westside, they typically use 50% of 1RM for Speed Day and they generally do about 8 sets of 2 reps. They also do a pause on the box and explode up - again because the point of the work on that day is to train the body to generate Force, not to get stronger. This is one of the things people have a hard time understanding.
strengthlogs,

One of my cirticisms of Simmons' Method is the pause on the box. As you are aware, it either dampens the stretch reflex or kills it. Research indicates that a much more powerful contraction is elicited when the stretch reflex is evoked.

The only way to train the stretch reflex is with plyometric movements, movements that envoke a bounce. Simmons Paused Box squat does little if anything to train the stretch reflex.

Ironically, Simmons Speed Bench Press Program trains the stretch reflex by employing a "touch and go" bench press.

With that in mind, to fully develop power in the squat, some type of plyometric movement need to be employed in one training.

Certainly, pausing on the box has it place in training
A lot of people tend to squat with their legs closer together, which tends to only use the legs. You can tell this by the fact that, to get to parallel the knees extend forward beyond the toes. Squatting with a wider stance can help bring more of the back and hip flexors in.


I question whether that much forward kneee drive with noive/intermediate narrow stance squatters lifters vs wide stance squaters.

I've lifted in powerlifting meets, squatting with a wide stance and narrow stance., In utilizing either, my shin remain perpendicular to the platform. In other words, no forward knee drive.

I also find I have much more power with a narrow stance squat. Thus, my preferance is narrow vs wide.

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Post by strengthlogs » Sun Jan 02, 2011 11:40 am

Kenny Croxdale wrote:
At Westside, they typically use 50% of 1RM for Speed Day and they generally do about 8 sets of 2 reps. They also do a pause on the box and explode up - again because the point of the work on that day is to train the body to generate Force, not to get stronger. This is one of the things people have a hard time understanding.
strengthlogs,

One of my cirticisms of Simmons' Method is the pause on the box. As you are aware, it either dampens the stretch reflex or kills it. Research indicates that a much more powerful contraction is elicited when the stretch reflex is evoked.
I agree. I have questioned the pause as well because it doesn't take advantage of the SSC and it seems very counter to logic.

Interestingly, Simmons also makes heavy use of the Plyoswing which, I imagine, is perfect for training explosive movement and utilizing the SSC

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Post by Kenny Croxdale » Mon Jan 03, 2011 9:59 am

strengthlogs wrote:
Kenny Croxdale wrote:
At Westside, they typically use 50% of 1RM for Speed Day and they generally do about 8 sets of 2 reps. They also do a pause on the box and explode up - again because the point of the work on that day is to train the body to generate Force, not to get stronger. This is one of the things people have a hard time understanding.
strengthlogs,

One of my cirticisms of Simmons' Method is the pause on the box. As you are aware, it either dampens the stretch reflex or kills it. Research indicates that a much more powerful contraction is elicited when the stretch reflex is evoked.
I agree. I have questioned the pause as well because it doesn't take advantage of the SSC and it seems very counter to logic.

Interestingly, Simmons also makes heavy use of the Plyoswing which, I imagine, is perfect for training explosive movement and utilizing the SSC
The Plyoswing...now there's a abuse of money. $2799 plus $400 for shipping, $3200 Total.

All for a swing that doesn't do anything more than jump squats, jump good morning, various Olympic pulls, kettlebell swings, vertical and horizanal depth jumps, etc.

I also question how much Simmons use the plyoswing.

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Post by pdellorto » Mon Jan 03, 2011 10:09 am

Kenny Croxdale wrote:The Plyoswing...now there's a abuse of money. $2799 plus $400 for shipping, $3200 Total.

All for a swing that doesn't do anything more than jump squats, jump good morning, various Olympic pulls, kettlebell swings, vertical and horizanal depth jumps, etc.
$3200 will buy a lot of plyo boxes and weighted vests. And some bands and pegs to attach them to.

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Post by strengthlogs » Mon Jan 03, 2011 11:49 am

"Drills for training the stretch-shortening cycle should not be limited to drop jumps, though often they are. The possibility of increasing the mass of the falling body is rather limited in drop jumps - people wear weight vests or belts, but these cannot be as heavy, for example, as 100kg. In view of the complex relationship between kinetic energy, velocity, and body mass, on the one hand, and the motor output of reversible muscle action, on the other, training with stretch-shortening cycle devices, where both the mass and velocity may be changed, is recommended."
- Vladimir M. Zatsiorsky, Science and Practice of Strength Training (pg. 161)

This is where Simmons got the idea of the plyoswing, as Zatsiorsky shows his example "machine" on page 162.

I agree the item is rather pricey, but most commercial grade equipment is.

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Post by Kenny Croxdale » Mon Jan 03, 2011 7:26 pm

strengthlogs wrote:"Drills for training the stretch-shortening cycle should not be limited to drop jumps, though often they are. The possibility of increasing the mass of the falling body is rather limited in drop jumps - people wear weight vests or belts, but these cannot be as heavy, for example, as 100kg. In view of the complex relationship between kinetic energy, velocity, and body mass, on the one hand, and the motor output of reversible muscle action, on the other, training with stretch-shortening cycle devices, where both the mass and velocity may be changed, is recommended."
- Vladimir M. Zatsiorsky, Science and Practice of Strength Training (pg. 161)

This is where Simmons got the idea of the plyoswing, as Zatsiorsky shows his example "machine" on page 162.

I agree the item is rather pricey, but most commercial grade equipment is.
I agree that the plyoswing is a unique piece. Having sold commercial fitness equipment, I am aware the cost.

With that said, purchasing a plyoswing falls pertty far down on the list of most. There are better pieces of equipment that give back more than the plyoswing.

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Post by Oscar_Actuary » Mon Jan 03, 2011 7:39 pm

Did Kenny creat an alter ego to have someone to banter with on here ?
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