Squats are always a classic exercise in any leg day workout, but when is the last time you tried squatting a little differently? Sure you have probably done air squats, many different variations of air squats, and even added weight to your squats to change up the variety, but have you tried box squats before?
What are Box Squats?
Box Squats are simply that–squatting to a box. They are performed by squatting until your butt taps (or sits on) a box positioned behind you. It sounds simple and maybe doesn’t even sound that effective as other variations of squats but hear us out. Box Squats are more effective than they sound.
How to Perform a Box Squat.
The box size is very important in performing a Box Squat. If you can break parallel with your thighs and get your butt lower than your knees, then your box height should be low enough to allow this. If you can’t squat that low due to flexibility issues or an injury then your box should be taller to allow a depth that is comfortable for you.
1. Set up a box that is a few inches away from you. Turn to face away from the box with your feet hip-width apart and toes pointed straight ahead.
2. Keeping core engaged and chest tall, take a deep breath in, hinge at the hips to send your butt back, and bend your knees to lower toward the box.
3. Keeping the chest tall and core tight, sit down on the box.
4. While you exhale, push your feet into the ground, squeeze your glutes, and drive hips forward back to standing position.
5. Give your glutes a nice squeeze at the top but be sure not to push them too far forward in front of your shoulders.
That’s one rep.
Aim for 12-15 repetitions.
The Benefits of Box Squats
Builds Strong Hamstrings and Glutes
A lot of people in their squats are dominant in their quadriceps or quad dominant. Squatting to a target really makes you tune into your glutes and hamstrings. A variation you can do is instead of sitting down on the box you can tap the box. By tapping the box with your glutes you can really feel your glutes activate with the tapping motion. Additionally, unlike regular squats, a box squat shifts your center of gravity backward. Due to this shift, your hamstrings and glutes are recruited more in the squat.
Build Strength at the Bottom of Your Squat
Typically, what keeps people from breaking through a plateau in their weight is the transition from the down (concentric) to the up (eccentric) portion of the squat. Meaning, you get stuck at the bottom and it is hard for you to stand back up out of the bottom. Box Squats allow you to become stronger at that sticking point. Sure you can work on the sticking point with regular squats, but typically people rely on momentum to help them out of the bottom. With a box there, you cannot rely on momentum and really have to rely on strength.
Try adding in Box Squats to your next leg workout. Start by using only your bodyweight until you feel more comfortable. Then add a barbell to your back. Plus, you can even do Box Squats with one leg to really isolate the movement.
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