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Exercises Movements, technique & proper execution

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Old 06-17-2011, 06:14 PM   #1
Michael Dowling
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box squats to fix form issues?

i was watching a video series on youtube by a well known gym on how to squat. they were using a box to squat which i've heard of but i always thought they were an accessory exercise.

in watching this series the guy with the bar would sit back on the box in order to show the proper movement to sit back. however i would imagine that if someone ripped out the box the guy in the video would be on the ground immediately. so how do you use this to learn to "sit back" and not end up on the ground with a bar on your face once squatting without a box?

he also said that in order to fix the squat it takes more than just squatting. that to address weaknesses you have to use accessory exercises to strengthen the parts that are failing. so in week 13 of a strength program my squat form is definitely breaking down you can look at my squat form check in the digital coaching section. do i need to stop squatting maximal 5 X 3 and fix the form with accessory exercises? start box squatting? not sure where to go. getting a coach isn't an option because the only gyms by me are golds, purple place, and one local globo/cf box that i go to now but they don't really coach things like heavy squats/deadlift etc... anytime i've asked i was met with "just do CF wods and you'll get stronger."

thoroughly confused on how to squat, kinda thought i had it figured out until i started video taping me squatting and it's not pretty.
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Old 06-17-2011, 06:41 PM   #2
Robert Fabsik
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Re: box squats to fix form issues?

Sounds like you went to a powerlifting web site that uses Westside/Conjugate methods.

They use the box squat to really train a wide powerlifting squat especially one that benefits from the use of a squat suit. This is good for building the posterior chain and hip muscles. Compared to a typical power squat/low bar back squat it focuses even more on the post chain. The strengthening of the hips/post chain makes it possible to sit back, whereas if you rely more on your anterior chain you have to move forward to take advantage of the quads.

Some would say a low bar back squat is a good balance between anterior and posterior chain, high bar squat is more focused on the anterior chain and powerlifting Westside style is more post chain. Of course people in their respective camps feel there style is the best all round.

I think the box squat might be helpful in giving you a better feeling for sitting back, and help with strengthening and activating the posterior chain when squatting. But, I think working on your form of a low bar back squat might do you more justice then trying to translate a wider box squat style to your low bar back squat style.

I've used box squats more of as a dynamic exercise and when I heavy squat would use the low bar back squat.

I think you'll find some form differences between the Westsiders and the Low Bar Back People (think SS).

WS--wider stance, toes more forward
SS--moderate stance, toes angled out
WS--too parallel, maybe lower
SS--break parallel
WS--Thumbs around the bar, elbows down
SS--Thumbs over the bar with fingers, elbows more up to create a shelf for bar to rest
WS--Head up
SS--Head looking slightly down

I think WS likes elbows down to prevent the bar rolling forward therefore putting one off balance and then having the chest collapse/fall forward, making the lever arm longer and therefore harder on the back.

SS likes elbows up to lock the barbell in place by squeezing the back together.

WS likes head up to keep the chest up to prevent forward fail in the squat.

SS likes head down to faciliate safe neck position and help with hip drive.

Depending on your fitness/strength goals, you might chose one style over the other. Or take a Westside/Conjugate approach and rotate through them all.
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