hey guys, I have some box squat questions and I figured who better to come ask than ya'll who eat this **** for breakfast
I got a box that is 11" high (I'm pretty short 5'6"). Its low - killer! I also have a box that is 14" high, I think its too high for me (its not deep enough). Whats the difference between low and higher boxes? Do you change it up or do you always go as low as possible?
Also, whats the difference between pausing on the box for just a second versus no pausing? Obviously pausing is harder, well for me at least, I have to take off weight...but I'm wondering if they serve different purposes. I see video of PLers sometimes pausing and then other times there is no pause (its almost like the box is just there to ensure depth is reached???).
I just got my power rack here at home so I'm psyched to start squatting again after a month lay-off
Check out the westside barbell website. There are a ton of articles on box squatting.
The box can be used just as a depth guide or you can sit all the way back and puase. The puase helps build tremendous power out of the hole. You can change up the height but i think most lifters stick with a parallel box or slightly below most of the time.
Switching box heights and even stances is a good idea as you can work different sticking points and muscle groups. Some people pause for a split second and release their hip flexors, while others do a quick touch and go, so I guess you'll have to decide which one you feel comfortable with (IMO just tapping the box kind of defeats the purpose of it).
As others have said at or below parallel and using a pause is the most prescribed formula for box squatting. I use a box well below parallel with no pause simply to gauge depth.
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"A quick touch and go" develops the stretch reflex. The stretch reflex increase you power out of the hole. So, by developing the stretch reflex you'll develop more power out of the hole in a competition squat.
Power can be developed by pausing on the box. However, not to the same extent.
Each of these method has it place in training.
Wilson's studies (1990) have shown that the stretch reflex lasts up to 2 seconds. We have proven that by sitting on a box
correctly the reflex lasts up to 8 seconds.In a regular squat, you must produce power during all three phases, but a box squat breaks up the eccentric and concentric phases because some of the muscles are relaxing while others are held statically by movement in the hip joints. Here is where force can be redirected very strongly. Because a heavy squat uses a large amount of energy, it makes sense to break the work into separate parts. While box squatting is not plyometrics, it builds tremendous reversal strength.
The stretch reflex does not last for a few seconds. The information cited on how long the stretch reflex last comes Wilson's research quoted in Supertraining. Somehow that information was misinterpreted.
The information below explains the length of the stretch reflex.
Research by Wilson et. al. (1990) examined different delay times in the bench press and showed that the benefits of prior stretch may endure for as long as 4 seconds, at which point it is suggested that all stored elastic energy is lost. This could lead one to believe that there is full retention of a stretch reflex if the amortization phase is 4 seconds or less. However, the stretch reflex begins to dissolve immediately. Even a short pause will negate the stretch reflex. Additional research indicates that "delays as short as .02 seconds are sufficient to dissipate the benefits of prior stretch", with up to 50% of the stretch reflex being lost in one second. (Siff and Verkhoshansky, 1998).http://www.liftinglarge.com/index.as...n=Custom&ID=22
The stretch refles produces a sling shot reaction. Research shows that up to 18% more power is produce in a movement when the stretch reflex is employed. That is why you can bench press more with a touch and go or squat more with a bounce out of the hole in a squat vs a paused squat.
Wilson's research shows that pausing (on a box squat) for 1 second kills 50% of the stretch reflex. Thus, you will produce and develop less explosive power.
With that said, pausing on the box can develop explosive power. However, not to the same extent.
The Orignial Westside Method employs a rocking motion. Ron Fernando wrote about it in Powerlifting USA, "The Rockin' Box Squat".
In sitting on the box, you sit and rock back, then rock forward. As you rock backward, you lift you heel off the ground.
As you rock forward, at the same time you dive your heels into the floor. This movement produces more power out of the hole. Here's a video of it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LkGGv...e=channel_page
These three method each fall into a different "Explosive Power" catagory defined by Verkhoshansky in Supertraining. Verkhoshansky definitions were directed at ballistic movement but can still be applied to the box squat, minus the ballistic movement in the box squat. Let's, break them down.
1) "Paused Box Squat/Westside Box Squat." Isometric Explosive Power. This is an explosive movement initiated from a pause/dead stop. Another example is an Olympic Lifter's start of the pull from the floor...the pull started from a dead stop.
2) "Rockin' Box Squat/Original Westside Box Squat." Explosive Power. This is an explosive movement in which some movement is involved prior to the movement. Another example is a shot putter's spinning prior to pushing a shot. The spin prior to "lift off" allows the shot putter to produce more power.
3) "Touch and Go Box Squats." [U]Reactive-Explosive Power. This is a movement in which a recoil (bounce) is used prior to "lift off". Another example is a bench press with a bounce off the chest. The rubber band (connective tissue) is stretch, then "popping" back with more power.
Each of these method has a place in one's training, dependent on one training goal. They are different tool in you "Tool Chest of Training Mehtods".
awesome information! I think I'm gonna go with touch and go box squats, since I want to do as much weight as possible and also mainly want to just make sure I'm getting depth each and every squat (since I train along and haven't squatted for awhile).
Thanks a lot Kenny and everybody else
Kenny, do you really advocate bouncing off a box?
From Joeskopec Q&A:
To fully develop power, one need to develop the stretch reflex. One method is to bounce off the box. There is some potential danger. However, it can be minimizes if executed correctly. "Spuatting; To Be Explosive, Train Explosive" goes in to how to do that.
Bouncing off the box falls into the catagory of "REACTIVE" explosive strength ("Fundamentals of Special Strength"/Verkhoshansky) To fully develop power, some type of movement need to be emplyoed that developes this "Reactive" strengh.
Bouncing off the box (and other types of exercises} builds "Reactive" strength. It ellicits a stretch reflex. Pausing on the box kills the stretch reflex. "Using the box as a type of spring board" is an excellent remark. That is exactly what you are doing.
Before you (anyone) utilizes The Touch and Go Box Squatting Method please noted that their is some risk involved (as with anything), if you perform this movement incorrectly. This article provide a much indepth exmination of the the method and how to implement it. http://www.liftinglarge.com/index.as...n=Custom&ID=22
The article also provides some four type of "Reactive" Method (besides The Touch and Go Box Squat) to develop the stretch reflex. The only way to fully develop the stretch reflex is to utilize some type of stretch reflex training method.
HOWEVER, all four of the method provide in the article place a great deal of loading on the lower back. Thus, one need to ease into this program and make sure that the movement is preformed correctly. Caustion is key with this type of training.
"You don't want to bounce, but you don't want to stop, either," says McLaughlin. "You want a slight recoil - enough that the change in direction utilizes some of the energy transfer in your body." The Last Word On Squats. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/m...4/ai_21099904/
Pete, the "slight recoil" in squatting is the same as in the bench press elicits more power. The same principle applies in human movement be it the squat or bench press.
Thus the question, "Why is speed work in the Westside bench preformed with a touch and go bench press while in the squat a pause is used?"
I squat to the box right up to the last couple of weeks before a meet. But I use it differently than a lot of guys. I set it at comp depth and as soon as I feel the box I shoot the squat back up as forcefully and as fast as I can and still control it (obviously slower as the weight gets heaviers). I never stop on it or relax anything. It is there totally for a gauge to 'imprint' the point of where I'm at depth and to make me focus on 'sitting back'. If I leave the box for too long before a meet I catch myself falling into the habit of breaking forward at my knees instead of back at the butt. I hope this helps.
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While you use the box for a different purpose, you are still the residual effect of develping the stretch reflex for you competition squat.
It the Law of Specificity. That means train like you lift. To get a slight recoil out of the hole in a squat, perform some type of recoil movement in your training squat.
FWIW: Typically when I box squat, it is a bit below parrallel, i pause and explode up. I also try to sit back further than normal to get the hams involved a bit more. This style i usually employ up to about 85% max weight or for no les than reps of 3-4.
Once i get to the heavier weight i typically go with the touch & explode method.......
Good luck, Variety is the KEY!!
6'0"--198# USAPL / IPF powerlifter
~~~ RAW Nationals July 15-17, 2010 in CO ~~~~
RAW Squat: 556
RAW Bench: 390
RAW Deadlift: 601