Box squat vs. conventional squat

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hoosegow
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Box squat vs. conventional squat

Post by hoosegow » Mon Sep 26, 2011 6:36 pm

After reading Tate's The Vault, I switched to the box squat as my main exercise (5-3-1). I figure he and Westside know a hell of a lot more than I do. I have to admit it is brutal and I am beginning to have a love/hate relationship with it. Then I read an article on EliteFTS.com about a guy switching from box squats to conventional squats and how much it helped.

I guess it goes back to everything works but nothing works forever.

Does anyone know a basic "conversion" for box squats to conventional? Let's say I did box squats with a pause at the bottom for a set of 3 at 400lbs. What would be a good equivalent to conventional? 1.1? 1.2?


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Re: Box squat vs. conventional squat

Post by Kenny Croxdale » Tue Sep 27, 2011 7:02 am

hoosegow wrote:After reading Tate's The Vault, I switched to the box squat as my main exercise (5-3-1). I figure he and Westside know a hell of a lot more than I do. I have to admit it is brutal and I am beginning to have a love/hate relationship with it. Then I read an article on EliteFTS.com about a guy switching from box squats to conventional squats and how much it helped.

I guess it goes back to everything works but nothing works forever.

Does anyone know a basic "conversion" for box squats to conventional? Let's say I did box squats with a pause at the bottom for a set of 3 at 400lbs. What would be a good equivalent to conventional? 1.1? 1.2?
Conversion Percentage Factor

The more you play with it (anything) the more you can calculate your own conversion percentage factor.

Breaking Up The Eccentric-Concentric Movement

That what pausing on the box does. Simmons touts that constantly. And all of his gnomes walk around like robots spewing out, "Break up the eccentric-concentric movement".

The gnomes have NO idea what it means but they feel smarter when they say it.

What It Means

What "Breaking up the eccentric-concentric movement" does is KILL the stretch reflex.

NO Stretch Reflex

Pausing on the box will develop strength out of the hole. There is no momentum in coming off the box. It is pure strength.

Thus, pausing on the box is a great method of increasing strength in that position.

Squatting In Real Life

In real life, you want to recoil out of the hole. That elicits the stretch reflex.

Research shows that up to 18% more power is produced when the stretch reflex is elicited.

Simmons Is Clueless...Tate Should Know Better

They will tell you that the stretch reflex can last up to something like 8 seconds. It CANNOT!

50% GONE In 1 Second

Research shows the 50% of the stretch reflex is lost in one second!

4 Seconds

Research has demonstrated that the stretch relfex will last up 4 seconds. However, at 4 seconds there NEXT To NOTHING left.

Hot Water

Think of the stretch reflex like hot boiling water. Once you turn off the burner, it begins to cool down.

The same occurs with the stretch reflex.

"The longer you sit the slower you get."

"Use It Or Lose It."

While pausing on the box is an effective tool in developing strength, it does NOTHING to develop the stretch reflex.

The ONLY way to develop the stretch reflex is to employ some type of recoil training.

Stretch Reflex Training

Stetch reflex training need to be employed somewhere in your training program if you want to squat more.

Kenny Croxdale

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Re: Box squat vs. conventional squat

Post by hoosegow » Tue Sep 27, 2011 10:51 am

Thanks Kenny. FWIW, my hips feel much stronger after six weeks of box squats. I'm thinking of switching every other cycle. Does that sound reasonable?

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Re: Box squat vs. conventional squat

Post by KPj » Tue Sep 27, 2011 11:19 am

My best experience of the Box Squat to speak of is getting it up to a double at 340 and 4 weeks later free squatting 400lbs. I had only done some higher rep free squats up until this point to keep the technique (i.e. 3 sets of 8 after working up to doubles on Box Squats).

My training partner got a double 350lbs Box Squat at the same time, but free squatted 375, missing 400.

A client of mine just hit a 320lbs free squat after being stuck at 300lbs then cycling in Box Squats. He got up to 290lbs Box Squat then we switched back. He has some incredible rebound out of the hole so I think forcing him to "muscle" himself out of it really helped. He's only been lifting 11-12 months though, (with a 2 month break) so it's not a great comparison.

I have definitely been guilty of over using the Box Squat only to switch to free squats and practically crumble in the hole. I think it should be used, just not over used.

I believe Matt Z has been doing Box Squats recently so hopefully he'll chime in, too.

KPj

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Re: Box squat vs. conventional squat

Post by GTO » Tue Sep 27, 2011 11:31 am

Hoos- I switched to box squats in my 5-3-1 but I still do squats as an accessory on deadlift day, (4 or 5 sets of 8-10 at 60-65%) The squats do feel a lot easier.

Another thing I did was I would start lowering my box a little every wave, started out at parallel and now I'm down ~1 - 1.5 inches.

I could probably squat 340+ regular and maybe 310-315 on a box.

I just lift because I love it, I'm not an athlete per say (and I'm getting old), just train like one (thanks Stu).

Just thought I'd throw that out for ya Tex


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Re: Box squat vs. conventional squat

Post by robertscott » Tue Sep 27, 2011 11:43 am

might be a stupid question, but what do you guys use for a box?

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Re: Box squat vs. conventional squat

Post by GTO » Tue Sep 27, 2011 12:53 pm

roberscott- I just made mine using 4x4 for legs and a couple pieces of ply wood. I had some old horse trailer matting that was about 3/4" thick that I cut up some squares and use that for adjustment of the height.

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Re: Box squat vs. conventional squat

Post by stuward » Tue Sep 27, 2011 1:43 pm

We have these in my gym: http://seriusfitness.com/products/plyo_boxes_bb.jpg" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Plywood and 2x4s would probably work just as well.

I must need to work on my stretch reflex because my box squat is almost as high as my free squat. In fact I hit 225 on the box squat first.

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Re: Box squat vs. conventional squat

Post by Jungledoc » Tue Sep 27, 2011 4:37 pm

I built a plywood box that is 14"x16"x18". That way, I adjust the height just by the position of the box. I use if for step-ups, jumps, an arm-rest for 3-point DB rows, or just a stool to sit down on or stand on to hook the punching bag to the ceiling. I have occasionally wished for one a little lower or a little taller, so I may build a couple more some day.

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Re: Box squat vs. conventional squat

Post by Oscar_Actuary » Tue Sep 27, 2011 5:15 pm

clever

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Re: Box squat vs. conventional squat

Post by KenDowns » Tue Sep 27, 2011 6:07 pm

Oscar_Actuary wrote:clever
I don't usually do "me too" posts, but that is so clever I'll probably build one on Saturday.

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Re: Box squat vs. conventional squat

Post by KPj » Wed Sep 28, 2011 4:22 am

I use 2 aerobic steps. The steps in my gym have attachments that give you 3 levels, which I refer to as high medium(or just "middle"), and low. This generally gives us as much adjustment as we need. 2 steps at the low level measures 11.5 inches (i'm sad enough to have measured).
stuward wrote: I must need to work on my stretch reflex because my box squat is almost as high as my free squat. In fact I hit 225 on the box squat first.
My theory/ramblimgs/understanding on it is the following... (open for anyone to pick holes in what I say)

The stretch reflex is an "ability" or a skill. I'm not sure it can be improved directly although I have came across some techniques involving a bounce that apparently improves it directly, I just don't understand this yet. I think your stretch reflex doesn't improve per se, you just get better at using it. Technically increased strength in the muscle should yield a stronger contraction both in general and when the stretch reflex kicks in (which is just a reflexive contraction of the muscle) but, you still need to be efficient at actually using it to be able take advantage.

I tend to think of muscles like elastic bands. Going into a squat, I think about my knees being anchored in place and my hips stretching back like an elastic band being pulled (Like a sling shot, with the hips being the little pouch you place your ammo of choice in), aiming to "snap back" to the starting position. So, i think it's important to "pull" yourself into the squat rather than "lower yourself" down, so you can get maximum snappyness out of the hole. This is also why we should "row" the BB to our chest when we bench.

Once you reach depth, you then have reversal of the bar path. This is something most never give much thought about (and i never until recently), and I think this is key. You want to change direction as fast as possible, almost "violently", if that makes sense. As soon as you have stretched to depth, you instantly and explosively move the opposite way. If you even try this with an empty bar, it can be difficult and really call you out on form/tightness, too.

Technically, the Box Squat trains the opposite. You hit depth and pause, muster up all your might, and blast up. You have an intended break between eccentric and concentric which is the opposite to taking advantage of the stretch reflex. By NOT taking advantage of the stretch reflex, you are just muscling it up, which in turn can make your muscles stronger, which in theory should open up potential for a better stretch reflex. However, the skill still needs to be honed. If you get too used to that break between eccentric and concentric, you'll lose the necessary skill (and mindset) for a quick change in direction when free squatting, and it'll almost feel more difficult because you don't have that Box to sit way back on and pause. Instead you essentially "hover" before blasting up.

You could also say that by taking advantage of the stretch reflex, you get to lift more weight and this will contribute to strength of the muscle, too. I think it probably works both ways. I think the answer is somewhere in the middle and the devil is in the details.

Excuse the rambling, i'm really just thinking out loud, leaving it open for criticism.

KPj

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Re: Box squat vs. conventional squat

Post by Matt Z » Wed Sep 28, 2011 8:48 pm

Lately, I've been using box squats for higher rep work (mostly sets of 5), and regular back squats for my heavy, low-rep workouts. The box I've been using is a 12" high plyo box (I measured it).

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Re: Box squat vs. conventional squat

Post by tyciol » Sun Oct 23, 2011 9:07 pm

Kenny Croxdale wrote:"Pausing on the box will develop strength out of the hole. There is no momentum in coming off the box. It is pure strength."
I hear this all the time and it's very annoying. Momentum is not what helps people get out of the hole when they don't pause. It's elastic energy stored in the tissues and the muscular contraction reflex. The only way momentum could come into this is if our body is absorbing and bouncing back the energy of the momentum from the descent, is all I can figure people might mean.

Momentum is not eliminated when you box squat, because if you explode off the box and stand up very quickly, the body can accrue momentum, which is perfectly fine of course.

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Re: Box squat vs. conventional squat

Post by Kenny Croxdale » Mon Oct 24, 2011 8:47 am

tyciol wrote:
Kenny Croxdale wrote:"Pausing on the box will develop strength out of the hole. There is no momentum in coming off the box. It is pure strength."
I hear this all the time and it's very annoying. Momentum is not what helps people get out of the hole when they don't pause. It's elastic energy stored in the tissues and the muscular contraction reflex. The only way momentum could come into this is if our body is absorbing and bouncing back the energy of the momentum from the descent, is all I can figure people might mean.
Re-read My Post

The information on pausing on the box is under the title:

"NO Stretch Reflex"

The stretch reflex provides a spring effect.

Momentum is not eliminated when you box squat, because if you explode off the box and stand up very quickly, the body can accrue momentum, which is perfectly fine of course.
Pausing Box Squat

The problem with Simmons West Side Method is that the stretch reflex is not trained if you follow his protocol.

Isometric Explosive

Verkhoshanski (father of modern day Plyometrics) has defined moments begun with NO momentum as "Isometric-Explosive".

That means that NO prior momentum is created prior to the start of a movement.

Thus, any box squat that the begins from a dead stop is Momentum-LESS in regard to how it is begun.

Momuntum

Yes, momentum is produced with in the concentric contraction of a box squat once the assention begins.

The degree of momentum is dependent on the load.

Getting Out of The Hole

Paused Box Squats-Due to the fact that the movement is initiated from a dead stop, more strength is required to start the movement.

Rocking Box Squats-This is the Original West Side Box Squatting Method. With this method momentum is generated prior to "lift off".

The lifter rocks back on the box and lifts his/her heels. Then rocks froward slamming their heels into the ground as they ascend.

This method produces momentum in coming off the box.

Plyometric "Recoil" Box Squats-This method employs a slight recoil (slight bounce or touch and go) off the box.

This method is the ONLY method that utilized the stretch reflex. This method, as well as the Rocking Box Squat, utilize momentum prior to "lift off" in coming off the box.

Clarity

Does that clarify the information that I previously presented?

Kenny Croxdale


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