The squat is arguably the toughest of all lifts with possibly the exception being the deadlift. Squats are so tough a lot of people try everything possible to avoid doing them. While squatting can be tough, very few exercises will give you the payback you can get from squatting. A few benefits from squatting are:
- Improved leg development
- Total body muscle mass development
- Improved Testosterone and hormone levels
- Improved explosiveness
- Improved cardiovascular conditioning
So if squats are so good, why don’t more people want to do them regularly? I did mention squatting was hard right? Well getting a squat to parallel or below is even harder. Let me exclude most bodybuilders, powerlifters, and muscle and strength athletes for a minute. This group not only understand the benefits of squats but live and die by them.
The average everyday gym goer however is not as enthusiastic about the pains of squatting.As soon as a squat gets really heavy, they either no longer want to squat or can’t hit parallel.Hitting parallel is when a person squats down to where their thighs are parallel to the ground. This depth or lower enables the maximum recruitment of leg muscles and total body stimulus. So how do we insure that we are going to be hitting depth each time?
ENTER THE BOX SQUAT
The box squat is a variation of the squat that makes sure a person hits parallel or lower each time. The box squat also teaches explosiveness out of the bottom of a squat. While there are many variations of the box squat, the original box squat is performed just like the name sounds. The key is to get a box or bench the height of a chair or lower. By using this height range, you will always hit parallel or below on your squat.The box squat is also harder than a traditional squat because with the box squat you pause at the bottom. The pause at the bottom takes away the spring reflex that you would build up from going down and popping right back up in a regular squat. With no spring reflex the squat not only becomes harder but you have to recruit more muscles to complete the lift. If you were to do a set a traditional set of squats with the same weight as a set of box squats, you would actually be doing more work and using more muscles with the box squats. If improving the depth of your squats while trying to build more muscle is your goal, you should give the box squat a try.