I have just begun incorporating these into my routine.
My last leg day I did them off a bench that was 18.5" high. This took me to very close to parallel.
How does the load with such a movement correlate to a standard squat normally? Is there a rule of thumb?
I've just begun to better understand how to do them properly so my box squat is considerably lower than my normal squat. I know that its usually lower than somebody's normal squat. I believe at least.
One hint I've gotten in order to understand how to box squat properly is to set the box behind you as you do wall squats (facing the wall). With my toes to the wall I try to sit back and create distance between my knees (and upper torso) and the wall. Each time try to sit further and further back. You can kind of simulate this by moving the box further away from you. This way you have to sit back further to reach it but with the wall in front of you, you can't just bend over and stick your butt out because you'll smash your face into the wall.
Another thing I'm starting to understand (but still don't quite get) is that when you come off the box you are trying to push off with your hamstrings. It was kind of described to me that way by Marc Bartley, Donnie Thompson's old training partner. I guess the idea is that the hip flexors are released enough so that you can squeeze the glutes and hamstrings to stand up not just learn forward and let the quads and lower back do the work.
Box squatting is probably one of the most difficult things I've done. Each time I think I'm getting better I go train at Marc's gym and realize I still haven't fixed anything but just traded one bad habit for another.
Anyway, my 2cents on the subject. Hope it works better for you than it has for me. I've been disappointed but still determined to get it to work.
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Ya'll know I'm not the most versed lifter, but I do read as much as possible and listen to those that know more than I do. As far as box squatting goes, and its correlation with a full squat, I believe several factors come into play. Such as:
1. Style of squatting. I personally believe that someone who squats with a sumo stance will find it harder to match their competition squat than a person that squats conventional. The reasoning? The box squat is designed to get you to release your hips. A sumo squatter, whose squat is determined by the hips and hamstrings will find it, IMO, tougher to get started compared to a person who squats with more of a quad based movement.
2. Knowledge of the Box Squat. I say this, because most newer lifters tend to squat shallow on the box. By this, I mean that they don't sit far enough back. The WSB Seminar DVD, as well as Chucky Vs XXX DVD have the individual squatting to the point that their shins are past perpendicular to the floor. They are squatting WAY back. I can usually keep this going up until my heaviest sets, and then I tend to shallow up. The farther you sit back, the more activation in your hips and hammys you'll need to get back up.
3. Size of box. Obviously this pretty much goes without saying. Off a below parallel box, I'm lighter than my squat PR. Off a high box, I'm 30lbs above my squat PR. Haven't proceeded to squat off of a parallel box, as I feel the combination of Low and High Box SQs are more than enough.
Like Will, this is my 2 cents. Take it with as many grains of salt as you need.
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It depends on a lot of things, especially the depth of the box and familiarity with the exercise.
In my experiences with watching kids being put through "BFS", I would say that a high box squat has about, oh, ZERO correlation to a parallel squat... A box set at parallel for kids (mind you, I'm talking about teens now...), and with the "BFS-rock", puts the kids pretty close to their regular parallel numbers.
I used boxes set at about 1-3" below parallel (without equipment) and generally I'd be able to hit about 90% of my parallel (unequipped) max.
A child does not learn to squat from the top down. In other words, he does not suddenly make a conscious decision one day to squat. Actually, he is squatting one day and make the conscious decision to stand. Squatting precedes standing in the developmental sequence. This is the way a child's brain learns to use the body as the child develops movement patterns. Therefore, a child is probably crawling, rocks back into a squatting position with the back completely relaxed and the hips completely flexed, and stands when he has enough hip strength. This approach makes a lot of sense and can be applied to relearning the deep squat movement if it is lost. -Gray Cook
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hmm, from a parallel box, sitting back, ive done 505, but i doubt i can hit 505 regular? there deff. a great exersize, maybe i should take em down a bit, but below parallel my speed suffers.
2000 or bust
thats weird, some people can do more on box squat than regular. I definatly cannot.
Chris, I don't think I can answer your question.. but like Chub, I do research a lot.. and have had a few college classes back in the 80s..
I also have just incorporating Box Squats about 4 months ago.. I go down to 12 inches mostly and 10 inches a few times.. the reason I felt I needed them was to build my speed out of the hole. I was finding that do DE Squats was giving me sloppy form - with too much Quad and not enough Ham & Glute, so now with the box there, I explode off the seat and can better engage them.
as for maxes, I don't know about singles.. but for reps, boxes are about 80% of my max at 12 inches - which is about 2 inches below parallel.. about 315x8 vs. 315 x 10 for parallel reps.. although usually, I only do less then 5 reps
I think it has to be a little less if you have balanced Hammies to quads.. b/c you have to remember, that unless you are "bouncing" off the box, then you are "relaxing" your hips on the box, with a pause, this has to be harder then the "rebound" you get from a parallel squat. Now, if for some reason your Hammies are much more developed then your quads, then perhaps you box the same or a little more.
I did try a high box once.. probably around 16 inches, which is just above my parallel.. and I was able to do the same as my parallel without a problem.. and I really didn't feel my hams/glutes engage, so I perfer the lower ones.
On the 10 inch boxes.. I am still developing my form.. so I really have no idea on %'s... it's amazing how much more that 2 inches breaks down your form.. hip and calf flexibility are a must. I don't know how some of those Westside guys do 3 & 4 inches boxes??
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Like Andrew said, Chris, it'll largely depend on your style of squat and box squat.
I've seen that you're generally a narrow, olympic-style squatter. This was a result of an old injury, correct?
How are you box squatting? If you're box squatting wide then expect quite a drop-off in strength. You have very strong hamstrings and glutes (good), but it'll take a while for you to relearn how to truly engage those in a wide squat.
If you're box squatting with a narrow stance then the numbers could be similar unless you're a dive-bomb squatter.
I've hit a comfortable 465 off a 16" box and 455 below parallel free squat, so do with that what you will. My box squat form is a bit different now so I'd hazard to say I wouldn't do as much with the new form. I sit back a bit better now and don't rock as much as I used to.
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"Borris is correct. That sounds logical if you ask me."
I found when I started box squatting that I could not box squat nearly as much as I could regular squat, even using the same width stance. It turned out that I had not learned how to properly utilize my hip flexors and glutes when coming "out of the hole" on my regular squats, so that when I tried box squatting and relaxed my hip flexors and glutes, that they were not strong enough to enable me to move the same weight. After a time, my hip flexors and glutes started to get stronger and be able to contribute more to the load. My box squat went up, of course, but my regular squat took off as well, because in addition to my quads and hammy's taking part of the load, the force was now being distributed more evenly among all muscles that should be involved in the squat. So, now there is little difference between my box squat (at parallel or just below) and my regular squat, and both are much higher! I think my pre-box squat training max squat was about 315 at parallel (raw), now I suspect it's closer to 415-425 (haven't maxed in a while) and I've been box squatting only about a year.
Last edited by Guido; 10-27-2006 at 10:27 AM.
Originally Posted by Borris
Right, I have been squatting with a narrow stance. I do the box squats last in my routine after I have done narrow stance with a pause, high partials with a narrow stance, and roughly parallel partials paused on the rack performed with a narrow stance.
For the box squats I use a wide stance and thus far (2 sessions) I seem to be holding up ok. I actually want to use them as a way to work back into wide stance free squats.
Thanks to everyone else for their comments.
I think it's going to vary a bit by individual. I sit back further on a box than I do without. What I found is that box squatting made my box squat go up, but I'm not sure it moved my squat as much. At first, my box squat was about 75% of my squat, but would now be much closer.
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"You know, if I thought like that, I'd never put more than one plate on the bar for anything, I'd never use bands or chains, I'd never squat to parallel or below, and I'd never let out the slightest grunt when I lift. At some point in your lifting career (assuming you're planning on getting reasonably strong and big), you're going to have to accept that most people think you are some kind of freak." -Sensei
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On a parallel box (competition legal height) I find I can usually do about 5% higher than my max squat. Generally I only use this height box if I'm close to a meet and need to get my depth up a bit. I'm usually about 3" below, and that will be about 10% below my squat max.
I've also found that box squatting every week has made me lose my feeling for the free squat so I try to throw in some free squats every few weeks so I don't lose my head.
Of course, my damn squat hasn't moved in months, so right now I feel like I don't know crap about lifting.
Stats: Age: 34 Weight: 205 Height: 5'6"
Gym PRs: Squat:635 Bench:560 Deadlift:495
Meet PRs: Squat:575 Bench:525 Deadlift:510 Total: 1605@220
I always do my box squats after my free squats, so that solves that problem.Originally Posted by drew
Originally Posted by chris mason
I think that is an excellent idea. I do most of my box work with briefs, but even when I go raw I use a very wide stance. They will definitely prepare your hips for wider stance free squats. You will have to experiment with different box heights to see what works best. I notice if I put the box too low, my form suffers and I lose the benefit. For me working very close to parallel(either at or at most 1" below) for most of my work was best. For a short time I also was using some high box squats(~2" above parallel) and was pulling my best sumo deadlifts at the time.
Best Meet Lifts(Raw w/wraps):
@165- 435 SQ 270 BE 560 DL.....1255 total
@181- 535 SQ 300 BE 570 DL.....1400 total
Best Meet Lifts(Multi-ply):
@148- 575 SQ 315 BE 515 DL.....1400 total
@165- 680 SQ 380 BE 540 DL.....1555 total
@181- 700 SQ 375 BE 535 DL.....1605 total
Best Gym Lifts(Raw w/wraps)
545 SQ 305 BE 585 DL