Today, I want to talk about the squat and more specifically I want to talk about the box squat.
I want to give you a few tutorial videos, tips and tricks to perfect your squat, and to add some serious poundage to your stand-up ability (squat).
Because, really, the ability to perform a squat with good form is a foundational element to becoming a better human.
I don’t care if you are trying to stand up 700 lb or getting off the toilet; you need to know how to squat to stay healthy and mobile.
But before we get started I wanted to throw some AWESOME squat quotes at you from some great minds in strength and conditioning.
Mr. Rippetoe, Mr. Simmons and Mr. Glassman pretty much say it all right there…But here’s my take on their quotes:
- Don’t cheat the squat, just squat! It does everything!
- Focus less on your equipment, tools, and gear and more on your form and technique.
- Learn to squat! It will fix more for your fitness and give you more opportunities as an athlete if you can squat properly.
Now, before we can talk about the box squat we have to talk about the standard squat.
First: Get Your Squat Right
- BACK TIGHT – It’s easy to forget to keep your back tight. After you get a firm grip on the bar it is time to start thinking about your back. You are going to put yourself under the bar with a tight back. Shoulder blades pinched together. Keep the lower back tight in preparation for the lift.
- DOWN – Sounds obvious, you have to go down to do a squat. But you need to THINK about the down. Think about keeping your weight on your heels. There is a huge difference between starting the down on the balls of your feet or on your starting it on your heels. You will be driving through the heels and the hips, so make sure you know where your “down” is going. Correcting for a center of gravity shift can be difficult.
- OUT – This is the most important one!! It has multiple meanings. The first out is your butt. Your butt should be the first thing to kick out when you start to squat. A very basic principle that some people can overlook. The second out is overlooked by most: you need to think of the squat as a down and out motion. As you go down your legs should spread outward. Not performing the “outs” properly can cause the knee to go ever so slightly past the toe, and now we are getting to hurt knee syndrome.
- UP – This is just as simple as the down. You are thinking about the up. Are you driving with your heels? No, are you really driving with your heels!? Are you driving your elbows forward and hips forward? Explode out of the bottom of your squat. These are some simple coaching cues that will keep you on your toes, I mean heels 😉 Your entire body should be tight during a squat; be vigilant!
Quick Squat Science
The below was pulled from different independent studies involving the barbell back squat I’ve read through all of the studies and pulled out the “what you need to know” So grab your checklist and keep these points in mind AND SQUAT SOMETHING HEAVY!
- You should squat heavy and get to full depth for best results.
- Knee angle is tricky! Don’t go TOO far past the toe with your knees, but also, don’t overly restrict your movement as that will increase your forward lean. Everyone is different in limb length, so find your sweet spot.
- Barbell back squat is 43% more effective than a smith machine in developing strength.
- High rep, or high volume, back squats (55+ reps in a workout) can lead to significant form breakdown and injury.
Alright, got your squat down?
Let’s move to the box squat.
The Box Squat
It’s quick and will give you the basics of the box squat.
So…why box squat?
- The box squat is a great squatting variation to add to your weekly routine.
- You do not get as sore from a box squat workout, and you can recover much faster.
- The box squat, when set properly, will make sure you hit the right depth EVERY SINGLE REP.
- Box squats can increase flexibility
- When done correctly, the box squat is a very safe way to squat.
- Great for beginner to learn (unloaded – no weight) how to squat properly.
- Great for intermediate to advanced lifters to add variation and serious pounds to their squat.
- Great if you have battled knee injuries or lower back injuries.
Box Squat Quick Tips:
- Always push the feet out to the sides, not directly down. Act as if you are trying to roll your shoe over.
- Maintain a neutral spine.
- Keep your heels down.
- Have your knees out over feet.
- Maintain a vertical shin, or near vertical shin.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the box squat!
Mix it up and add some serious poundage to the squat!
To becoming a better human.