9 Benefits Of Box Squats You Will Appreciate
Don’t know squat about squats? Don’t worry, we are here to tell you the benefits of this great exercise, specifically the box squat.
The box squat is a version of the squat, only the difference is at the bottom of a regular squat, you sit down on some type of support and then you rise once again.
It’s a popular exercise with power lifters as the pause on the support works out your hips and glutes. Follow this link to learn the proper way to do a box squat. There are many benefits to this exercise and here are our top 9
1. Developing The Posterior Chain
While doing a box squat, you should generally take more than a shoulder width stance, keep your knees out over your toes and lean your torso forward more.
When you do this exercise, this puts an incredible amount of stress on your hamstrings, low back and your glutes focusing your exercise on your hip area. When exercising, most people focus on what they can see in the mirror – their abs, chest, quads and biceps.
But if you would like to improve your athletic performance, you also need to work out your posterior chain and a great way to do that is to add box squats into your exercise routine. Pretty soon your backside will catch up to what you see in the mirror.
2. Out Of The Hole Power Development
While doing a basic free squat, you are doing what is commonly known as a stretch shortening cycle.
This means that when you move from an eccentric to concentric phase of your lift or the midway point in between the up and down of the squat also known as the bottom, you can use the elastic energy at this point that allows you to spring up and out of the hole.
In a box squat, the elastic energy does not exist and when you pause on the box you are forced to go up from a dead stop. This can be both good and bad.
It’s a good thing because it will make you boost the power and explosiveness from the posterior chain which makes it simpler to push up from the bottom of the squat.
It’s a bad thing if you do the box squat too much and don’t do enough free squatting. This keeps you from being able to benefit from the stretch shortening cycle when you do free squats again and then your performance in normal squats will go down.
Only use the box squat periodically as a great tool to increase your hip power and explosiveness, don’t overuse it or you will end up with the opposite effect.
3. Knee Stress Is Minimized
In a free squat, you have a narrow stance and your knees have to migrate forward so that you can achieve the depth of a neutral spine. If you have had a history of knee pain or injuries, you want to make sure your knee is moving forward as little as possible.
The box squat is perfect for this. When you sit back onto the box, your shins will remain pretty much perpendicular to the floor which will reduce your knee stress while you still gain the maximize benefits of the box squat exercise.
4. Intensified Squat Depth
The box squat is great for increasing your overall squat depth and mobility. Basically, you can either sit down on the box or you can’t. As you weights get heavier, you compensate by cutting back on your depth.
This happens for two reasons:
- You’ve chosen a weight that is too heavy for you to lift with a full range of motion
- You’re afraid You can’t really get around having a weight that is too heavy for you so you’ll only be able to do a partial range of motion.
If it’s fear holding you back, embrace the box squat, especially since it gives you something to sit on or a target that you can hit. And if you can’t sit on the box, decrease the weight and try again.
You need full body tightness so that you can lift heavy loads and the box squat is ideal at teaching you how to get tight. When you are sitting on a box with a heavy barbell, you will definitely increase your tightness to lift the heavy load.
Basic free squats make you lose tightness and you will either not be able to do the lift or you will compensate in some way to get back to the finish position. In a box squat, there’s no way you’ll get off the box unless you stay tight.
Tightness is a skill and your body must be trained to do it and the box squat is an excellent teacher.
6. Enforces Proper Technique
A great benefit of the box squat is that you always have to break parallel to be able to the reach the box. In free squats, you have a tendency to squat higher when your weights feel heavier.
This is entirely eliminated in box squats, and with regular practice with the box squat, you should always be able to break parallel for any type of squat.
In addition, box squats will help teach the correct squatting technique by making you sit back completely when you are descending instead of just going down and bouncing back up.
7. Improves Your Mobility And Range Of Motion
The box squat is a type of ballistic stretching and it can be a great way to aid you with your poor flexibility and range of motion. It also provides a simple way to measure your progress.
If you can’t break parallel on your squat, set a box to a height that is just above the parallel and if you find this still too hard, try placing a 45 pound plate on the box (add more if you need them).
As you improve you range of motion in your squat, you can then remove the plates and reset your box height until you can finally break parallel consistently.
8. Helps You Build Strength And Power
Box squats force you to squat backwards rather than just go straight down. What this does is always makes you sit farther back on the box and makes your shin angle perpendicular (or a little past) to the floor.
This is a great work out for the posterior chain as discussed in the first benefit. It also makes you develop a great amount of power as you are able to lift muscles that are in a static or relaxed state from sitting onto the box.
Using the bounce of the free squat can be useful when it comes to getting up out of the hole and if you can lift a large amount of weight from a seated position when you are on the box, then you can definitely lift that same amount (and possibly more) when you are in a free squat.
Plus, when you do box squats you produce a rate of forced development that is actually three to four times more than when you do other types of squats. Here is a link to more information on gaining strength from box squats.
9. You Will Exercise Safer
When you are doing free squats and you have to stop, you are supposed to push your elbows through, hop forward and drop the bar behind you.
It’s not always possible to bail out of a squat successfully, and if you pull a hamstring when you are in the hole, it’s hard to bail out of the squat no matter how experienced a lifter you are.
In a box squat, if the weight becomes too heavy, there is the safety feature of the box behind you. So if you can’t get back up again, tell your spotter that you need help and they can help you stand.
Since you are using less weight when you box squat, you have to use better form and that helps reduce your spinal compression.
You should also have a shin angle that is perpendicular to the floor and will reduce the pressure on your patella tendons which makes box squats mush easier on your knees.
Box squats are great for a workout that helps develop tightness as well as strength and power. It’s a safer exercise than other squats since it helps to minimize the stress on your knees.
Box squats are great for increasing mobility and range of motion as well as developing your posterior chain. You do have to be careful to not overdue the box squats as it can have the opposite effect you may desire.
Make sure to add this exercise to your routine periodically to ensure you maximize the full benefits of the box squat.