In my opinion the Box Squat is a great variation to teach proper squat mechanics and movement patterns and a great start for beginners and individuals with limitations. You can also use this squat variation to help develop power with athletes as it can help improve their performance.
Improve Squat Technique
When squatting we sometimes tend to squat above parallel due to the weight being too heavy or poor movement patterns caused by poor range of motion. Performing a box squat helps you find the proper range of motion and teaches you the proper movement pattern to get to the bottom of the squat. This ensures that you are distributing your weight properly on the way down and out of the hole (bottom of the squat).
Develop Power and Strength Out of The Hole
A problem than many individuals have with the squat is coming out of the hole. By having a perpendicular shin angle, you will put more load in the posterior chain. The box squat also breaks the eccentric-concentric chain (bounce), eliminating this helps develop power by using a more dynamic concentric contraction. Rate of force development in the box squat is greater compared to other squat variations by three to four times more.
Build Posterior Chain
As I mentioned above, the box squat loads the posterior chain more compared to other squat variations by having a perpendicular shin angle and by sitting back into the squat which makes it more of a hip dominant movement (quads do engage still).
Increase Squat Range of Motion (ROM)
The box squat has helped many of my clients increase their squat range of motion and depth. This happens because a lot of individuals do not know where they should be in the squat and by using a box to squat on it teaches them how deep they should go.
Decrease Load on the Knee
Squatting with poor mechanics, weak posterior chain and decreased range of motion can put unnecessary stress on your knees. As previously mentioned, the box squat loads the posterior chain more compared to other squat variations by having a perpendicular shin and by sitting back into the squat.
Performing the Box Squat
Step 1: Stand in front of a box or chair that is knee height with feet around shoulder width apart
Step 2: Push your knees slightly out to open your hips.
Step 3: While keeping your body weight on your midfoot and a neutral spine, slowly lower your hips straight down towards the box/chair.
Step 4: As you reach the box/chair sit back while keeping your weight on your midfoot.
Step 5: To get back up, lean forward so that your shoulders are above your midfoot and your butt slightly off the box/chair.
Step 6: As you feel your weight balance on your midfoot, push the ground away while keeping your chest forward.
Step 7: As you come up, keep your weight midfoot and as you extend your knees squeeze your glutes.
Easiest ways to progress the box squat is to add load. I would recommend staying away from putting a bar on your back until you complete the 7 Squat Progressions. Prior to moving up the chain, add weight to your box squat by holding light weight from a 5lb Plate or a dumbbell to a fairly heavy kettlebell, chains or a weighted vest. I would recommend working up to about a quarter of your body weight in external load for 4 sets of 10 repetition until you move up to the 2nd Squat progression.
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