BOX SQUAT ADVANTAGES
The Box Squat offers five distinct advantages.
By Dr. Greg Shepard
Published: Winter 1998
In the BFS Program, true Parallel Squats are done once a week as are Box Squats. They are done all year round, both in-season and off-season. Other Squat Variations such as Front Squats can be done instead of Box Squats; however, the Squat variation of choice is the Box Squat especially for the high school athlete and for all athletes during the season.
I. Plateaus: Variation is the key to overcoming plateaus. The idea for high school and college athletes is to continually get stronger. Nobody likes plateaus in strength training. Variation can come in many forms but one of the best ways to eliminate plateaus is to do another kind of squat. As stated earlier, we like the Box Squat.
If you Parallel Squat the same way two or three times per week, just as surely as the sun comes up each morning, you will experience a plateau. If you do Box Squats once per week instead of another Parallel Squat workout, your strength on the Parallel Squat will increase more rapidly and at a more steady pace than just doing Parallel Squats all the time.
II. Hip and Hip Tendon Strength Development: The Box Squat Movement of settling back with the hips and then surging forward and up makes this exercise unequaled in developing hip and hip tendon strength. This movement also duplicates a block, tackle or vertical jump. The Box Squat can be used as an excellent tool in teaching correct athletic mechanics as you develop the hips and the hip tendons.
III. More Weight, More Confidence: A coach, at first glance, may say, “well sure you can lift more weight than a Parallel Squat because you are two-inches higher.” Yes, that is true but there are two other reasons which must be considered. First, the most powerful muscles and area of the body are centered in the hips, buttocks and pelvis. The Box Squat maximizes these areas and thus even the most inexperienced lifters can lift a lot of poundage during the first initial workouts. This builds confidence.
Second, it is much easier to maintain a perfect squatting power position on a Box Squat when compared to a Parallel Squat. Thus, anyone can lift more weight safely which boosts confidence. For example, an athlete who struggles with 200 pounds on a Parallel Squat could most likely Box Squat 275 pounds or more with perfect form.
IV. Recovery Both In-Season and Off-Season: The Box Squat is truly amazing as far as quick recovery. This fact has far reaching implications in the implementation of your total strength and conditioning program.
During the season an athlete or team now has the luxury of working out the day before the game, if necessary. This means a Thursday Box Squat workout is fine before a Friday night football game. You can workout Monday before a Tuesday basketball game and so forth. This means, if the BFS Total Unified Program is implemented, that a three-sport high school athlete can get two great squat workouts in per week all-year-round.
During the off-season an athlete who Box Squats on Monday can enjoy a quality speed and plyometric workout on Tuesday. Thus, the Box Squat trained athlete usually has greater speed, explosive power and jumping improvement.
V. Learning to Squat: Basic squatting principles and technique are far easier to teach and learn with the Box Squat than Parallel, Front or even Half Squats. Even in very difficult cases, athletes can keep upright with a locked-in lower back when doing Box Squats. It would be almost impossible to find any athlete who couldn't Box Squat with reasonable form on the first day. This includes girls and boys from the seventh grade on up.
Common problems encountered in teaching the Parallel Squat are easily overcome with the Box Squat. For example, the problems of keeping the heels flat on the floor or extending the knees forward or rounding the back are almost naturally done correctly with the Box Squat. It is also very easy to sit an athlete on the box or a chair and get everything (knees, feet, chest, head, lower back and eyes) looking perfect.