What are the Benefits of Box Squats?
Everybody loves squats! Nobody will argue with the statement that they are one of the best if not the best exercise out there. Sadly, many people don’t have the correct form and over time injure themselves. Also, certain anatomical issues such as lack of flexibility or back problems (i.e lordosis etc.) can make free squatting difficult or painful. Of course you don’t want to stop squatting and you’re right. Squatting is essential to building powerful legs, glutes and hamstrings. It’s a powerful exercise that releases growth hormone in the body. Whether you can’t perform regular squats or you’re looking to add more variety, you must try box squats.
Box squats are squats where you put a box or a bench behind you and as you squat down you sit on the bench. Then you get back up.
WARNING: You should sit very gently not to put stress on your spine (don’t slam down on to the box).
Benefits of Box Squats
- Great learning tool – you need to sit which means you will not cheat on depth. For beginners it’s a great way to feel safe and steady – if you struggle to get up you can sit on the box.
- The pause at the bottom forces you to recruit more muscle fibers to get back up (no momentum), that helps in strength building.
- Higher weight. It may be difficult to squat with a full range of motion but while doing a box squat you can lift more and experience good size and strength gains.
- Back safety – often to go ass-to-grass people arch or hunch their lower back both of which can cause pain and injury. Adjust the height of the box to go as low as you can and not feel discomfort in your lower back.
- Knee safety – Since you usually use a wider stance in box squats and you sit further back (no worry about losing your balance), your knees don’t bend further than about 90 degrees, you’re less likely to put stress on them.
- You learn to keep your whole body tight – there is almost no way to sit down and relax and get back up – you will have to stay tight.
- Slow, controlled movement. We see many people ‘bouncing up’ from squats using momentum (the stretch-shortening cycle) and not controlling the movement. With box squats you go down slowly and gently and you get back up in a controlled manner.