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Why Powerlifters Love Box Squat (And You Should, Too!)

Why Powerlifters Love Box Squat (And You Should, Too!)

Despite the fact that powerlifters have been using box squats to improve their squat for over a decade, it’s a valuable training aid to build explosive power. A box squat teaches a lifter to sit back and maximally recruit the posterior chain (i.e glutes and hamstrings) in the lift and also teaches a lifter to explode out of the squat hole. Another added benefit of the box squat is that it teaches a lifter the right squat depth. Many lifters may be hesitant to try box squatting but it can bring a ton of benefits to your explosive power.

Check out this video of Louie Simmons teaching the box squat:

Researchers wanted to conduct a head to head study comparing the squat to the box squat and how it impacted muscle activation. A box squat removes the stretch-shortening cycle component from the squat, and thus, the possible influence of the box squat on concentric phase performance is of interest. Eight resistance trained men performed 1 repetition of squats and box squats using 60, 70, and 80% of their 1RM in a randomized fashion. Muscle activity (electromyography) was recorded from the vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, biceps femoris, and longissimus. At the end of the study, peak force and peak power were similar between the squat and box squat. However, during the 70% of 1RM trials, the squat resulted in a significantly lower peak force in comparison to the box squat. In addition, during the 80% of 1RM trials, the squat resulted in significantly lower peak power in comparison to the box squat. Muscle activity was generally higher during the squat in comparison to the box squat. In conclusion, minimal differences were observed in kinetic variables and muscle activity between the squat and box squat. Removing the stretch-shortening cycle during the squat (using a box) appears to have limited negative consequences on performance.

Here is an example of Box Squat Program

McBride, JM, Skinner, JW, Schafer, PC, Haines, TL, and Kirby, TJ. Comparison of kinetic variables and muscle activity during a squat vs. a box squat. J Strength Cond Res 24(12): 3195-3199, 2010

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