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Box Squats vs. Normal Squats
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n00b
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Join date: Feb 2007
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Can someone give me a rough estimation on a normal squat 1rm in comparison to a box squat 1rm at parallel.

I know boxsquats should be easier compared to normal squats and it will be different among different people. Any personal experience will be helpful. Thanks

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uvat94
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Join date: Apr 2007
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There actually isn't a difference between the two. If you are box squatting to parallel and squatting to parallel your 1rm should be the same. The problem with box squatting is when you sit and rest at the bottom of it. All the force goes to your spine. You should lightly touch and then drive up. I hope that answers your question.

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AJL-1240
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Join date: May 2005
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There's a big difference, and most people's box squat is less than their regular squat, if going to the same depth.

You're getting rid of most of your stretch reflex by stopping at the bottom, and although I keep my trunk tight, I release tension from my legs, then explode straight up.

This helps you get better form with squats, and helps to get you to use your glutes and hamstrings more.

They have greatly increased my regular squats, even when I was using a "box" that was set higher than my squat (because I didn't have anything lower at the time).

There isn't a problem with spinal compression either, unless you're getting too strong for them, as in the elite level, but most of us here don't need to worry about that for a while.

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FightingScott
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Join date: Feb 2007
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The Box Squat can be used as an explosive speed lift by demanding that the squatter begin squatting up instantly upon making contact with the box. This is not done for 1RM.

In my mind the other use of the box squat is a partial move that is used to build power at the end stage of the squat. The box squat can be used like the board bench press or the rack pull.

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Ramo
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Join date: Jan 2004
Location: Virginia, USA
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uvat94 wrote:
There actually isn't a difference between the two. If you are box squatting to parallel and squatting to parallel your 1rm should be the same. The problem with box squatting is when you sit and rest at the bottom of it. All the force goes to your spine. You should lightly touch and then drive up. I hope that answers your question.


This is not good advice. At all.

The point of doing box squats is to build starting strength, not merely to gauge your depth (this is better accomplished by observation of training partners, videotaping yourself, etc.)

You want to pause on the box, releasing the tension in your hips (but keeping your abs inflated,) then re-tighten and drive up.

Your carryover will depend on a host of factors; most important is how well you use the stretch reflex. If you are good at using the stretch reflex but are weak, box squats will help you a ton. If you are strong but don't take advantage of the stretch-reflex, you should focus a lot of time on free squatting.

Box squatting may also be more useful for a lifter who uses gear b/c the squat suit stores energy on the decent and provides pop out of the bottom. Building speed off the box will ensure that when you get to the point where the pop out of the bottom is finished, you will have enough speed and momentum to finish the lift.

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uvat94
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Join date: Apr 2007
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Ramo wrote:
uvat94 wrote:
There actually isn't a difference between the two. If you are box squatting to parallel and squatting to parallel your 1rm should be the same. The problem with box squatting is when you sit and rest at the bottom of it. All the force goes to your spine. You should lightly touch and then drive up. I hope that answers your question.

This is not good advice. At all.

The point of doing box squats is to build starting strength, not merely to gauge your depth (this is better accomplished by observation of training partners, videotaping yourself, etc.)

You want to pause on the box, releasing the tension in your hips (but keeping your abs inflated,) then re-tighten and drive up.

Your carryover will depend on a host of factors; most important is how well you use the stretch reflex. If you are good at using the stretch reflex but are weak, box squats will help you a ton. If you are strong but don't take advantage of the stretch-reflex, you should focus a lot of time on free squatting.

Box squatting may also be more useful for a lifter who uses gear b/c the squat suit stores energy on the decent and provides pop out of the bottom. Building speed off the box will ensure that when you get to the point where the pop out of the bottom is finished, you will have enough speed and momentum to finish the lift.




You are correct in saying that you take away the stretch reflex when you box squat but you are greatly mistaken when you say that the box squat is good for starting strength. If you look at the reearch out there any time you squat you get lower banch and spinal compression. Now the degree to which you get the compression depends on body position.

A recent study said that if you squat and allow your knees to pronate forward slightly your knees will get approximately 28 times more of the compression forces. If you keep your knees aligned your back will get 1000 times more. When you box squat and sit down then you are doing damage to your Lumbar and Cervical area. Over time this could cause problems down the road.

Also if you want to work on your starting strength. Get in a power rack and start in the bottom position Or perform pauses with 60% of your 1RM. It is much safer.

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AJL-1240
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Join date: May 2005
Location: New York, USA
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n00b wrote:
Can someone give me a rough estimation on a normal squat 1rm in comparison to a box squat 1rm at parallel.

I know boxsquats should be easier compared to normal squats and it will be different among different people. Any personal experience will be helpful. Thanks


Here's some good advice from a guy who's been box squatting, and training people who box squat for years:

http://www.T-Nation.com/...e=body_120squat

Here's a quick quote from that article:

"Now, you may have heard from some sissy wearing spandex that the box squat is dangerous. When someone talks about the dangers of box squatting, it's apparent they simply don't know how to perform the lift correctly. Sure, if you're trying to bounce off the box or you're using more weight than you can handle, then there are definitely dangers to the spine. When performed correctly, however, box squats are safe. And, I believe box squats are so effective that you don't need to perform regular squats in your training at all!"

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skidmark
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Join date: Aug 2006
Location: California, USA
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Since the weight being used in the box squat is typically less than what you would free squat by a large percentage, the amount of spinal compression is greatly lessened. The box squat also forces you to use better form on the way down and to get back up, reducing the likelihood of injury.

I have had no pain (other than the good kind) when doing box squats. Per instructions, I land on the box softly, relax the glutes and legs and then attempt to explode off the box.

The relaxation portion removes the tension that comes from the muscles' stretch reflex so I have to WORK to put the weight up.

The lower the box, the less weight you can use and the more power you develop out of the hole as the weight increases from session to session.

My numbers aren't great in the squat, but the box squat enabled me to break my previous bests by a large margin and very quickly, too.

Were I to attempt to BOUNCE on/off the box, I could probably expect to lose the use of my arms and legs after about 2 reps. I don't advise that. Really, I don't.

It's a matter of form, really. After all, you can severely injure yourself at the dinner table if you don't learn to use your fork and knife correctly. Same deal for box squats. Saying the box squat is dangerous is saying you don't intend to learn to do them properly.

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daltron
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Join date: Mar 2006
Location: California, USA
Posts: 375

I don't know why, but my parallel box squat is about 160+ pounds more than my parallel free squat. I find box squatting so much easier than free squatting, at any depth.

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n00b
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Join date: Feb 2007
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yes my box squats seem to be way better than my free squats. i attempted a 315 1rm free squat and failed today. i think it's mostly because of my form. my box squat pr is 8x3x325 so i was very surprised.

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t-guy69
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Join date: Oct 2002
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Louie Simmons mentions this in his tapes. He said if you box squat more than your regular squat, then you are relying on the box to help you squat. That is not what he intended.

I used to squat 225 and had trouble with it. I started to box squat and widened my stance. My squat went from 225 to 300. BTW: that is without belts, wraps or a suit. And I'm 52 and 170 pounds. So if I can still make gains, I think anyone can.

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Bret Contreras
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Join date: Aug 2005
Location: Arizona, USA
Posts: 905

uvat94 wrote:
Ramo wrote:
uvat94 wrote:
There actually isn't a difference between the two. If you are box squatting to parallel and squatting to parallel your 1rm should be the same. The problem with box squatting is when you sit and rest at the bottom of it. All the force goes to your spine. You should lightly touch and then drive up. I hope that answers your question.

This is not good advice. At all.

The point of doing box squats is to build starting strength, not merely to gauge your depth (this is better accomplished by observation of training partners, videotaping yourself, etc.)

You want to pause on the box, releasing the tension in your hips (but keeping your abs inflated,) then re-tighten and drive up.

Your carryover will depend on a host of factors; most important is how well you use the stretch reflex. If you are good at using the stretch reflex but are weak, box squats will help you a ton. If you are strong but don't take advantage of the stretch-reflex, you should focus a lot of time on free squatting.

Box squatting may also be more useful for a lifter who uses gear b/c the squat suit stores energy on the decent and provides pop out of the bottom. Building speed off the box will ensure that when you get to the point where the pop out of the bottom is finished, you will have enough speed and momentum to finish the lift.




You are correct in saying that you take away the stretch reflex when you box squat but you are greatly mistaken when you say that the box squat is good for starting strength. If you look at the reearch out there any time you squat you get lower banch and spinal compression. Now the degree to which you get the compression depends on body position.

A recent study said that if you squat and allow your knees to pronate forward slightly your knees will get approximately 28 times more of the compression forces. If you keep your knees aligned your back will get 1000 times more. When you box squat and sit down then you are doing damage to your Lumbar and Cervical area. Over time this could cause problems down the road.

Also if you want to work on your starting strength. Get in a power rack and start in the bottom position Or perform pauses with 60% of your 1RM. It is much safer.


Box squats are not good for starting strength? I disagree. I think that they are one of the best exercises for starting strength in the squat. In my opinion, better than rack or "bottom postion" squats and pause squats.

I disagree with your assertion that they are unsafe too. Any lift can be performed in a safe manner and an unsafe manner.

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daltron
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Join date: Mar 2006
Location: California, USA
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t-guy69 wrote:
Louie Simmons mentions this in his tapes. He said if you box squat more than your regular squat, then you are relying on the box to help you squat. That is not what he intended.



I've tried differing how I use the box, like touch and go, full rest at the bottom, even slightly bringing my feet off the ground, sitting straight down and right up, sitting back and coming slightly forward then up, but any way I do it it just seems a lot easier.

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t-guy69
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Join date: Oct 2002
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daltron wrote:
t-guy69 wrote:
Louie Simmons mentions this in his tapes. He said if you box squat more than your regular squat, then you are relying on the box to help you squat. That is not what he intended.



I've tried differing how I use the box, like touch and go, full rest at the bottom, even slightly bringing my feet off the ground, sitting straight down and right up, sitting back and coming slightly forward then up, but any way I do it it just seems a lot easier.




Then try it touch and with a foam rubber
or a sofa cushion. That way you go down to the proper depth, but gain no advantage from the cushion. I think this mentioned in his (Louie Simmons) tapes and that was the solution.

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n00b
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so i'm relying on the box if i can do 8x3x325 parallel relatively smoothly and i had trouble with a 1rm 315 free squat? I use no belt i fully sit on the box for a pause before coming up. What does it really mean to rely on the box anyways? I'm 157 btw.

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tpa
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Join date: Aug 2005
Location: Ontario, CAN
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n00b wrote:
so i'm relying on the box if i can do 8x3x325 parallel relatively smoothly and i had trouble with a 1rm 315 free squat? I use no belt i fully sit on the box for a pause before coming up. What does it really mean to rely on the box anyways? I'm 157 btw.


Are you using a wide stance for the box squats, and a narrower stance for the regular squats?

Box squats are usually done with a wide stance. This will put more of the load on your hips, hamstrings and glutes. Whereas traditional squats done with a narrower stance which will place a greater emphasis on your quads. This could explain the strength difference.

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n00b
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i do wide stance for box and i tried a wide stance also for free. doesn't tate recommend wide stance for both?

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gendou57
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Join date: Jun 2005
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Are you rocking at all when you sit down? I don't mean like a little lean back, I mean gaining momentum before you finish the lift.

Otherwise, I have no idea.

-Gendou

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n00b
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no i don't really rock....so weird. i think it might have been my form on the free. all mental

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Topathlete
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Join date: Oct 2006
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Posts: 81

I have same problem, i box squat 325 for 1rm and 205 for free????

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skidmark
Level 1

Join date: Aug 2006
Location: California, USA
Posts: 3894

n00b -

Get some videos of yourself free squatting and box squatting if you can. I'll bet you're going lower on the free squat than you do on the box. Either that, or - as you say - you've got a free squat form problem. Video will tell.

I need to do that myself, as a matter of fact...

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