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Using the box squat as one of the best exercise for improving and perfecting your squat!

Last updated on October 08, 2019

FAQ: What is Box Squatting?

Box squatting is on of the vest ways to build a perfect squat for your self. It eliminates depth problems for competition and places all the stress in the areas of central concern for powerlifters, bodybuilders, weightlifters and any fitness athlete looking to gain power, size, and strength. Box squatting comes from the original Westside boys of Culver City California of the 60's and 70's. It was used by the founding father of Westside George Fern. These guys used to box squat two and three times a week. With George himself squatting over 850 lbs in just gym attire in 1970! So we are telling you its time to get some box.

FAQ: How to Box Squat.

Young trainee box squatting.

Young trainee box squatting, she is using perfect form.

Doing box squats will be the easiest way to learn to do squats correctly. When doing squats almost everyone descends correctly. When squatting on a box just below parallel, all your squats will be just below parallel. When we do regular squats, and the weight starts getting heavier, most trainers squats start getting higher and higher. Solution: start squatting on a box thats a couple inches above parallel. Squat down to the box sitting back and when that becomes comfortable begin slowly decreasing the size of the box until you are breaking parallel. Again sit back, not down (bend at the knees not the hips), on the box. When this feels right, then you're squatting correctly.

When using a box it is possible to squat very deep in complete safety. Box squats put no pressure on the knees or patella tendon. The muscles used when box squatting this way are the Hamstrings, Glutes and Hips. You say, what happened to the quads? We will discuss a way of using box squats for quad work later in the article, because we believe unlike some in strength training strong quads are very important to big squats(thats later). Olympic lifters squat very deep, but they bounce out of the bottom. We flex the glutes and hamstrings, and then quads.

When starting to do box squats take your time to get used to sitting back instead of down. At first it may fell that your just falling down and standing up, but make a conscious effort to tense the hamstring and glutes to control your backward decent.

As you touch the top of the box remain in control as you pause for 1 or 2 seconds on top of the box. With the beginning o your assent flex the traps and keep the chest up and high. This keeps the position of the squat and places the direct pressure of the movement on the hips, glutes, and hamstrings. These muscles generate the power for you to ascend out of the hole in competition.

FAQ: How Much weight do I use, and How often do I Box Squat?

We recommend performing Box Squats once a week in one of your squat workouts. The guys at the old Westside club used to preform box squats two or three times a week and this way to taxing an exercise to execute that many times within a weeks time. Yes you heard us right to taxing an exercise. Just because you can squat 600 lbs don't think for one moment that you can box squat anywhere near that 600 lbs. Our recommendation is to take it slowly and find out your max parallel box squat. Once you've done that use 65-80% of this weight for 8-10 sets of 3 reps. This is not an easy workout! Also change box height every three week, you know three weeks above parallel to build quad and hip strength and three weeks below for more explosive drive out of the hole with improved hamstring and glute power.

If preformed correctly you should be putting maximum effort into each first rep of every set. Your concentration should be to train the mind for competition. In doing so your first rep of each set should be as explosive as you can possibly make it. The next two reps are for compensatory acceleration of the weight - Strength building. We believe that this technique of mind training if you will is extremely beneficial in the last month of contest preparation.

FAQ: Are there any extra benefits to Box Squatting?

Because you sit on a box and then flex to overcome the resistance, box squats will quickly improve pulling strength for deadlifts or Olympic lifts. Box squats are much less stressful on the athlete, and by using percents of a 1-rep max at 50-60% for 8-10 sets of 3 reps working into singles eventually over an 12-week period you will break your squat 1-rep max. Also, after learning to box squat, muscular soreness is much less than with regular squatting. Increased flexibility can also be developed while box squatting: by going lower than normally possible and by using a wider stance your shins are positioned past vertical. Thus sitting extremely far back on the box isolates all the correct squatting muscles: the glutes, hips, hamstrings, spinal erectors, and abs are totally pre-stretched and overloaded simultaneously, producing a tremendous stretch reflex.

Box Squats also stretch and strengthen the hamstrings to a great degree. If you look back at all the really good squatters in powerlifting history some have big quads, but all have large hamstrings where they intersect with the glutes. This is the explosive complex that lets you drive through those low sticking points. Are some of you bodybuilders listening.


  1. If your hips are weak, use a wide stance with a parallel or slightly below box
  2. If your quads are weak use a narrow stance on a parallel box
  3. If you want to improve lower back strength use a narrow stance on a below parallel box.
  4. Keep your upper torso tensed through out and flex the traps and lift the chest as you drive off the box.
  5. Remember this is a box squat and not a regular squat so sit back and down not straight down, and keep the weight of the target muscles: glutes, hips, hamstrings, spinal erectors, and abs.

Tags: Squats Conditioning

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