The box squat is different than a traditional back squat. The goal here is to stretch the hamstrings and put the work into the hips. It should not feel the same as a back squat nor are you likely to have the same numbers that you do in a back squat when beginning. It’s easiest for me to break this thing down into three parts:
Controlled Descent : Once you have unracked the bar and walked it out, your next move is to begin the squat. At this point the bar is tight across your shoulders, you take in a deep breath while locking down your lats, and begin to send your hips straight back. This part of the lift feels more similar to a wide stance good morning that it does a squat. Continue sending your hips back while driving your knees out and keeping a vertical shin. This vertical shin situation only flies because you have the box to sit on in the bottom. Trust that the box is there and keep driving your hips back. Control is the name of the game here. Think of a truck pressing on the brake as it goes down a mountain road. Technically they could stop anywhere they wanted, but they are allowing the progress. You want to control the movement all the way to the box. There is no plopping down on the box. If you can’t control it all the way down, make it a tad higher and you can work your way down over time. Continuing to drive your hips back, and driving out through your feet will make this decent much more attainable. The goal in this phase of the lift is to safely get down to the box with a neutral spine. Too much depth will start to break down your posture, and this defeats the purpose of the lift. Safe movement is priority number one.
Tensioned Pause : This happens when you gently sit down on the box. Yes, you are sitting down. No, you are not relaxing. Keeping the tension driving your feet outward. Keeping the tension and position in your trunk are paramount both for safety and success in the lift. The goal of this pause is to stop all motion. Keep your posture and keep the balance of weight in your feet. Stay plugged into the floor, and stay one with the bar.
Explosive Stand : The stand is where the money is. From a completely isometric position on the box, explosively drive your feet apart, bringing you back to standing. Huge gains are realized from the isometric overcome by dynamic action through your hips. Due to the position of the knee above or slightly behind the ankle, the athlete has to rely heavily on the hamstrings to bring the bar back to standing. This is the purpose of the movement. We do this squat because it is different than a traditional back squat. Be explosive. Think fast in your mind and make your body reproduce this. Be careful not to dip your knees forward immediately into the ascent. Make this lift happen from your hamstrings.
Start with lighter weights and progress to heavier loads with the box squat. Form is everything. Execution follows understanding where your body is in space. Know how this feels, know the depth that is appropriate, then progress in weight. Position of the trunk and position of the shin are huge.
Use the box squat as a staple in your program. Progress with it as you would any other lift. Squatting wide to a box will build strength in your hips you may not see with traditional back squats. Reach out to your coaches if you want some help here.
Complete the following for time:
1 Mile Run
-Rest 3 min-
Then, in 10 min to establish a 1RM Deadlift
Then, complete 3 rounds for quality of:
10 KB RDLs
10 Glute Bridges
10 GHD Back Extensions