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Old 08-14-2012, 09:53 PM   #1
Chris Mason
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Why should you use box squats in your box?

First, I fully realize how important the Olympic lifts are to CrossFit. I also realize that there is a significant difference between a properly performed Olympic squat and a box squat.

So, why do I recommend box squats? Well, to be specific, I recommend box squats for the strength training back squat component of your box's programming. I fully expect that heavy Olympic lifts will also be incorporated into said routine to include front squat work.

The primary reason I recommend the box squat in lieu of the the standard free back squat is that it spares the knees. CrossFit in and of itself between the WODs and Olympic lifting subjects the knees to a lot of force. A properly performed box squat places significantly less stress on the knees than a back squat while simultaneously working the same musculature and even placing a greater emphasis on the glutes, hips, and hamstrings. Box squatting will give you all of the benefits of free squats and spare the knees. A winning combination.

Below is Laura Sweatt demonstrating perfect box squat technique:

WFS - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k5BJbiguxOc
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Old 08-15-2012, 05:42 AM   #2
Matthew Swartz
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Re: Why should you use box squats in your box?

Love the concept and the benefits, but I'd bet that the average joe trying to box squat is going to sag in the seated position and compromise the lumbar, just like that same joe is going to pronate at the knee and go knee past toe on a HBBS.

Also, any comment on the pelvic roll you see at the seat of Laura's squat? Would that happen with weight?
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Old 08-15-2012, 06:32 AM   #3
John C Corona
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Re: Why should you use box squats in your box?

Appreciate the post, and the fact that you want to save everyones knees. Awesome! I've been dying to get going on these, but I am hesitant cause there's no one at my box that does them, knows how to coach them, or has the right height boxes and pads lying around. No good excuses. Some reason, years ago, my dumbass was in a globo gym trying to teach myself cleans, but now I am hesitant to sit down with weight on my back. I so want to do one of them powerlifting seminars, or would love someone to watch me (just remembered digital coaching section). My main excuse is I am waiting to buy one of those adjustable boxes from EliteFts, but cant stop buying stupid T shirts.
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Old 08-15-2012, 07:28 AM   #4
Andrew Bell
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Re: Why should you use box squats in your box?

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Originally Posted by John C Corona View Post
My main excuse is I am waiting to buy one of those adjustable boxes from EliteFts, but cant stop buying stupid T shirts.
I KNOW THE FEELING!!!

I like box squats, they are another tool in the tool box. Being a little more olympic lifting focused I generally do butt to heel squats every time I am under the bar. Box squats I NEED to do more often.
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Old 08-15-2012, 05:05 PM   #5
Chris Mason
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Re: Why should you use box squats in your box?

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Originally Posted by Matthew Swartz View Post
Love the concept and the benefits, but I'd bet that the average joe trying to box squat is going to sag in the seated position and compromise the lumbar, just like that same joe is going to pronate at the knee and go knee past toe on a HBBS.

Also, any comment on the pelvic roll you see at the seat of Laura's squat? Would that happen with weight?
Yes, the pelvic roll you see is just fine. It will decrease a bit as the load increases, but not a lot.

As for the sagging, I don't really see that in practice. As a coach if it does occur it is pretty easy to correct.
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Old 08-15-2012, 05:08 PM   #6
Chris Mason
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Re: Why should you use box squats in your box?

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Originally Posted by John C Corona View Post
Appreciate the post, and the fact that you want to save everyones knees. Awesome! I've been dying to get going on these, but I am hesitant cause there's no one at my box that does them, knows how to coach them, or has the right height boxes and pads lying around. No good excuses. Some reason, years ago, my dumbass was in a globo gym trying to teach myself cleans, but now I am hesitant to sit down with weight on my back. I so want to do one of them powerlifting seminars, or would love someone to watch me (just remembered digital coaching section). My main excuse is I am waiting to buy one of those adjustable boxes from EliteFts, but cant stop buying stupid T shirts.
You really don't need an adjustable box. Just get a box, or have one made, and then buy some cheap rubber floor pads and cut them into squares that match your box and use them to adjust the height as needed.
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Old 08-15-2012, 05:56 PM   #7
Matthew Vesey
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Re: Why should you use box squats in your box?

Thanks for the post Chris! I am happy to know that the method to my madness was supported by someone with huge knowledge and experience in the area. One of my clients (A.K.A my mother), has had some knee issues for the last 30 years. I have always believed that Box squats greatly reduced the stress on the knees and have been programming her squats in that way. She has had significant progress, pain relief, etc as a result. Happy to know that I was on the right track!

-Matt
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Old 08-15-2012, 06:22 PM   #8
John C Corona
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Re: Why should you use box squats in your box?

I see Laura looks to be just below parallel...is that what we're looking for? Im around 15-1/2" at parallel (measured my toilet).

I see the box she uses is super low (then its all padding). I think I will build something soon cause I need some pulling blocks for oly - dual purpose action. I did some measurements, and if I made a couple 8" high boxes (2x8 frame w/ 3/4" plywood), that would put the bar just below my knee for the lowest pulls.

For box sqts, one more 2x6 frame with plywood would put me at 14" (2x4 frame Im at 12"). Man, do you all think an 18" x 18" footprint is safe enough to build stacks to get me jerk blocks as well...prolley not huh? Just no way I have room in my garage or affiliate to build them enormous jerk blocks that most ppl use.
...talking out loud.

I know there's videos, but you opened the conversation, so whats the proper box height, and is my thinking above in line?

Matthew, way cool you have your mom doing box squats.
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Last edited by John C Corona : 08-15-2012 at 06:25 PM.
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Old 08-15-2012, 07:32 PM   #9
Chris Mason
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Re: Why should you use box squats in your box?

Quote:
Originally Posted by John C Corona View Post
I see Laura looks to be just below parallel...is that what we're looking for? Im around 15-1/2" at parallel (measured my toilet).

I see the box she uses is super low (then its all padding). I think I will build something soon cause I need some pulling blocks for oly - dual purpose action. I did some measurements, and if I made a couple 8" high boxes (2x8 frame w/ 3/4" plywood), that would put the bar just below my knee for the lowest pulls.

For box sqts, one more 2x6 frame with plywood would put me at 14" (2x4 frame Im at 12"). Man, do you all think an 18" x 18" footprint is safe enough to build stacks to get me jerk blocks as well...prolley not huh? Just no way I have room in my garage or affiliate to build them enormous jerk blocks that most ppl use.
...talking out loud.

I know there's videos, but you opened the conversation, so whats the proper box height, and is my thinking above in line?

Matthew, way cool you have your mom doing box squats.
I'm no carpenter, no I won't give any advice on building one.

The majority of your box squats should be to parallel, or just below. I personally would recommend parallel.
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Old 08-15-2012, 07:42 PM   #10
Carl N Cobb
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Re: Why should you use box squats in your box?

Doing this would probably help my knees a ton.. I was Active duty Army for almost 4 years and now in the National Guard but on Active Duty running all the time and being a truck driver jumping off trucks alot and on deployment running in full gear and jumping off the trucks in that same gear took a toll on my knees, they arent horrible but with the squats followed by heavy pause front squats coupled with Oly Lifting everyday but Friday I have definetly started to feel some tightness in my knees lately.. The second time i did pause front squats as heavy as possible pausing at rock bottom, i went and ordered Rehband Knee Sleeves right after that and they seem to be helping a good bit.

CJ
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