How To Do Box Squats – Benefits, Proper Form, And Tips

  • By: gymtrix
  • Date: June 18, 2023
  • Time to read: 16 min.
How To Do Box Squats

Are you looking for a way to take your lower-body workouts up a notch?

Box Squats can be an effective exercise tool that provides variety in your strength training routine, while also helping you reach new goals.

Not only do they work your entire lower body (specifically hips, glutes, and quads), but box squats also enable proper posture and help to maintain balance when performing this particular type of squat.

In this blog post, we’ll explain the benefits of doing box squats plus provide step-by-step instructions on how to perform them with proper form as well as provide some tips for making the most out of each session.

Read on to find out more!

Benefits of Box Squats

To improve your lower body strength and explosiveness, incorporating box squats into your workout routine with proper form and technique can be beneficial. In this section about the benefits of box squats, we will discuss how doing them can help you increase your lower body strength, improve your explosiveness and power, and enhance your form and technique for traditional squats.

Increase lower body strength

Box squats bring unique gains, such as increased lower body strength! This exercise is a must for pros and trainers alike. Its success comes from the controlled squat depth which targets certain muscles and gives a challenging workout.

To build lower body strength, do these three moves:

  1. Pick a weight you can handle with proper form.
  2. Stand in front of the box or bench, feet shoulder-width apart and facing forward.
  3. Sit back on the box or bench, pause, then thrust your heels to stand.

Box squats are exclusive compared to classic squats. Unlike regular squats that need full range of motion, this exercise focuses on lifting heavy and strengthens specific muscles explosively.

Harvard Health Publishing states: “Not only do leg strength exercises benefit the lower body muscles, but they also create balance and stability throughout your entire body.”

Improve explosiveness and power

Explosiveness and power are key for athletes and weightlifters. Box squats are great to reach these goals. Here’s why:

  1. Strength: Box squats build muscle strength, meaning more power and explosiveness.
  2. Coordination: With box squats, you control your body movement while sitting on the box before exploding up. This helps with coordination between multiple muscle groups.
  3. More range of motion: Squatting onto a box allows you to squat deeper than regular squats. This gives more hip mobility and better explosiveness.
  4. Faster recovery: Lifting heavier weights with box squats helps resist fatigue during exercise, meaning you recover faster between workouts.

To maximize your box squat routine, add resistance bands or chains to the barbell. This extra resistance requires more force and power to complete each lift.

Improved form and technique for traditional squats

Box Squats: A 6-Step Guide to Improved Form and Technique for Traditional Squats!

Squats are a great exercise for strengthening the lower body. But, poor form and technique can cause injury. Box squats can help!

Box squats improve technique in 3 ways:

  1. They teach proper depth.
  2. Reinforce good posture.
  3. Emphasize hip drive.

For better performance, use lower weights to focus on form and technique. Use a higher box or bench to work on hip mobility. Gradually decrease the height as you progress. Always maintain proper form to prevent injury.

How To Do Box Squats: A Step-by-Step Guide

This guide will walk you through the proper technique for performing box squats.

Equipment Needed:

  1. Box, bench, or sturdy surface at an appropriate height (typically parallel to the ground or slightly lower)
  2. Barbell with or without weight plates, depending on your fitness level

Step-by-Step Guide:

  1. Set up the equipment: Position the box or bench behind you, ensuring it is stable and secure. Place the barbell on a squat rack at chest height with the desired weight plates secured by collars.
  2. Position yourself: Stand facing the barbell with your feet shoulder-width apart or slightly wider, and your toes pointing straight ahead or slightly turned out. Duck under the bar and position it across your upper back, resting it on your trapezius muscles. Avoid placing the bar directly on your neck.
  3. Grip the barbell: Reach up and grasp the barbell with a wider-than-shoulder-width grip, palms facing forward. Your elbows should be pointing down and slightly back, creating a “shelf” for the bar to rest on.
  4. Lift the barbell off the rack: Engage your core, straighten your legs, and lift the barbell off the squat rack. Take a step or two back to center yourself in front of the box or bench.
  5. Starting position: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart or slightly wider, and your toes pointing straight ahead or slightly turned out. Maintain a straight back and engage your core throughout the exercise.
  6. Lower your body: Begin the squat by pushing your hips back, as if you were sitting in an imaginary chair. Simultaneously, start bending your knees while keeping your chest up and your gaze forward.
  7. Sit on the box: Continue lowering your body until you sit back onto the box or bench with your thighs parallel to the ground or slightly lower. Keep your weight distributed evenly across your feet, avoiding excessive pressure on the balls or heels.
  8. Pause briefly: At the bottom of the squat, pause briefly while maintaining engagement in your leg and core muscles.
  9. Rise back up: Push through your heels and straighten your legs to return to the starting position, lifting the barbell off the box or bench. Keep your chest up and your core engaged throughout the ascent.
  10. Repeat: Perform the desired number of repetitions, maintaining proper form throughout the exercise.

Proper Form for Box Squats

To ensure you perform box squats with proper form, follow the tips in this section with a focus on stance and foot placement, depth of squat, torso and back position, and breathing techniques for optimal performance. These sub-sections offer solutions to improve your form and avoid common mistakes.

Stance and Foot placement

For successful box squats, proper stance and foot placement is a must. Position your heels shoulder-width apart with toes slightly outward. Feet should be placed just behind the bar with even weight distribution. To protect knees, point your little toes outward.

For added form, choose shoes with solid soles like powerlifting or wrestling shoes. Plus, keep your core engaged at all times to ensure better stabilization and posture. This will help you use all muscle groups for the best box squats.

Depth of Squat

Box Squats are great for toning muscles, improving core strength, and posture. It’s important to use correct form to avoid injury. A key part of this is getting the right Depth of Squat. Here’s a 5-Step Guide:

  1. Stand shoulder-width apart from the box, feet pointed forward.
  2. Hinge at your hips, pushing them back.
  3. Lower your body towards the box. Bend your knees to a comfortable depth.
  4. Touch the box lightly with your glutes. Keep good posture and balance.
  5. Immediately push your feet and extend your legs to stand up.

Do not sit on the box while squatting down. This can put stress on knee joints and spine.

To help improve squat depth, try stretching exercises like hip flexors, piriformis, and hamstrings. This will help with flexibility when squatting.

Torso and Back position during the squat

Executing box squats correctly requires mastering the correct torso and back position. This means keeping a stable posture, so the weight is evenly distributed, reducing injury risk and improving strength. Follow these five steps:

  1. Stand behind the box, legs shoulder-width apart, toes forward.
  2. With neutral spine, hinge forward at hips, gaze straight ahead.
  3. Hold barbell with wide grip, elbows down.
  4. Take a deep breath, brace your core, then squat.
  5. Lower onto box, chest up, knees over toes. Push through heels to stand.

Maintaining form needs more attention than it seems. Engage all upper body muscles, including lats and shoulder blades, for stability during each rep. Do accessory exercises such as back extensions or banded good mornings to strengthen muscles further.

For better form, use a mirror or have someone record your squats. Start with bodyweight or lighter weights, then gradually increase resistance. This will help build good habits and prevent injury.

Breathing techniques for optimal performance

Breathing techniques are key to achieving the best results during workouts. To get the most out of box squats, use proper breathing techniques to help balance your body and prevent injury. Here’s a guide:

  1. Take a deep breath before you squat.
  2. Hold your breath when at the bottom.
  3. Exhale as you drive up.
  4. Keep your core tight throughout.
  5. Inhale again at the top.

Don’t release too much air when in the downward position. This can put pressure on your spine and cause injury.

Research shows that breathing correctly during workouts has physical benefits. The American Journal of Physiology says that this “enhances respiratory muscles’ endurance capacities.”

Muscles Worked During Box Squats

To understand how box squats work, you need to know which specific muscles they target. With this section on “Muscles Worked During Box Squats” with sub-sections focusing on quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings and core muscles, you’ll gain a clear understanding of how each muscle group is activated during box squats. This will help you tailor your workout to your specific fitness goals.


Box squats are a great way to get strong! Your quadriceps, which are the four muscles in the front of your thigh, benefit the most. During the squat, your quads hold your body in position as you lower down.

An eccentric contraction (controlled lengthening) occurs as you sit on the box. Then, when you push up from the box, your quads generate concentric contractions to extend your knees and lift your body.

A unique aspect of box squats is that you can often handle heavier weights than free squats. This is because it eliminates the “stretch reflex”, a natural muscular bounce that occurs in a free squat. This means your quads have to work harder!

Box squats are a must for strong, powerful legs. Don’t miss out! But always remember to consult a qualified medical professional before beginning or modifying any exercise program.


To target and activate glute muscles when box squatting, proper form is essential. Three key points:

  1. Sitting back into hips engages glutes more than traditional squats.
  2. Going below parallel allows greater glute activation.
  3. Box squats also work the posterior chain, hamstrings & lower back muscles aiding hip extension.

Everyone’s body is different, so some may not feel glutes working as intensely. Add resistance bands or switch rep schemes help activate glutes.

Fun Fact: A study in The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research proved box squatting increases vertical jump height more than traditional squats!


Box squats: for strength and endurance!

The hamstrings, at the back of your thighs, are key. They help you stay injury-free by providing support and stability. They control descent when sitting on the box. Plus, they generate power as you drive up. To develop strong, toned hamstrings, add box squats to your routine. Feet shoulder-width apart, engage all muscles. Pro tip: stretch hamstrings before squatting. Less risk of straining or pulling a muscle.

Core muscles

Box squats are great for strengthening your core muscles. These muscles mainly consist of the transverse abdominis, rectus abdominis, obliques, and erector spinae. All of these work together to keep your spine stable and your body secure while performing the exercise.

Not only that, box squats also target the glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps muscles. Doing the box squat with proper form activates all of these at the same time.

It is believed that box squats were first used by powerlifters to get better at explosive strength and muscle growth. Weightlifters also used them to make their lower back and hips stronger for heavy lifts.

Tips for Performing Box Squats Safely and Effectively

To perform box squats safely and effectively with proper form and technique, it is crucial to keep in mind some useful tips. Start with a light weight and gradually increase the intensity, and do not collapse onto the box. Another way to promote safety is to use a lifting belt for added support. Engaging your core muscles throughout the entire exercise is also essential to prevent injury.

Start with a light weight and gradually add more

Box squats are a great way to get strong legs, while also avoiding harm. To do them correctly and safely, start with a light weight. And, gradually add more. Here’s a four-step guide:

  1. Start with an empty barbell or a light weight you’re comfortable with.
  2. Focus on perfecting your form before increasing the weight.
  3. Slowly add 5-10 pounds at a time.
  4. Be patient and take your time!

Remember these important points when doing box squats: maintain good posture, never drop the bar on the way down, and don’t strain your back when lifting.

Box squats are also great for athletes who need explosive hip extension power for running or jumping sports. This is because they must accelerate using only their quadriceps over shorter distances.

Fitness Magazine explains that “Box squats build strength and size with glute contraction in full hip extension.” So, don’t miss out on incorporating box squats into your workout routine!

Do not collapse onto the box

Want to prevent collapsing onto the box during box squats? Here’s how!

  1. Stand with hips-width apart, toes pointing forward and feet in a squat stance.
  2. Engage your core and lower down slowly until you’re sitting on the box or bench.
  3. Push yourself back up into a standing position with your glutes and quads. Don’t let your knees cave in; maintain control and balance throughout.
  4. Make sure the box is at a height allowing you to reach parallel or below parallel when squatting.
  5. Also, remember to practice proper breathing techniques.

Powerlifters use Box squats heavily for strength building, not muscle-building.

Use a lifting belt for added support

Gettin’ a liftin’ belt for yer box squats can help with performance and keep ya safe. Here’s some tips to use a belt proper-like:

  • Choose the right size: Put the belt on yer waist snugly, just above yer hip bones.
  • Tighten it up: Make sure it’s firm but not cuttin’ off circulation. Tighten it enough for support and stability, but not too much to limit mobility.
  • Breath good: Inhale deep before squattin’, brace yer core, and breathe out hard on the way up. This’ll increase pressure in the tummy, givin’ more support to yer spine.
  • Don’t overdo it: Liftin’ belts are useful, but usin’ em too much can lead to overuse injuries and weaken muscles in the long run.

Remember, always check with a trainer or coach to make sure yer doin’ it right. And don’t use the belt to replace weak abs or bad squat form. Work on strengthenin’ these areas to get the most outta box squats and stay safe.

Engage your core muscles throughout the entire exercise

Box squats are a great way to strengthen your lower body, but without proper form, it can lead to injuries. Engaging your core muscles is essential to avoid harm and get the most out of this strength training exercise. Here’s a 5-step guide:

  1. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and toes pointed outward.
  2. Take a deep breath and brace your core, as if you’re getting punched in the stomach.
  3. Keep chest up and back slightly arched.
  4. Push hips back and bend knees slowly, weight on heels.
  5. Slowly raise up to standing position while exhaling.

Engaging your core isn’t just for looks – it also helps stabilize your spine and avoid injury. I learned this the hard way; not bracing my core before box squats caused a mild strain and left me unable to squat for weeks. Always engage those core muscles!

Common Mistakes to Avoid During Box Squats

To avoid making common mistakes during box squats, focus on these key points for proper form and maximum gains. Rounding the lower back, not squatting deeply enough, using too much weight, and not engaging the glutes are all areas where many lifters fall short.

Rounding the lower back

When doing box squats, keep your core muscles tight and your spine in a neutral position. Don’t arch or round your lower back. This puts stress on your spine and can lead to injury.

Before the squats, warm up with dynamic stretches. Focus on engaging your glutes during the exercise. This helps keep your pelvis stable.

Try using a smaller box or bench until you are strong and flexible enough. This lets you activate all of your leg muscles without losing form.

Not squatting deeply enough

Box squats are tricky – one common slip-up is not going low enough. This reduces range of motion and can even cause harm if left uncorrected. Here’s 4 steps to make sure you do it right:

  1. Choose a box height that lets you do a full squat without compromising your form.
  2. Take a deep breath, brace your core.
  3. Hinge at your hips, push your knees out in line with your toes and slowly sit back.
  4. Go as deep as you can while keeping good posture. Then drive through your heels to stand up straight.

Remember to shift your weight onto your heels and don’t rush – this helps you get the most out of your box squat. Plus, here’s some extra tips:

  • Breathe properly for stability and strength.
  • Keep your chest up.
  • Create tension in your glutes and hamstrings before you lower yourself onto the box.

Make sure to follow these steps for ideal box squat results. Include them in your regular training plan!

Using too much weight

Fitness fans often make the common slip-up of using too much weight while box squatting. This can cause poor form, injury, and poor results. To dodge this issue, it’s important to start small and work your way up.

Keeping correct form is vital when doing box squats. Using too much weight can cause the back to round, which could result in spinal injuries. Remember to keep your chest up and core tight throughout.

Moreover, people often use the wrong box height for their fitness level. Make sure to select a height that is both challenging and safe for your strength and flexibility.

To make your box squat experience better, consider wearing the right gear like lifting belts or shoes with a high sole for better steadiness. Also, keep track of your breathing and rest periods between sets.

Not engaging the glutes

Engaging the glutes is key during box squats. But, many people make the mistake to forget this important muscle group. If you don’t engage your glutes, you can put extra stress on your back – which can lead to injury.

To engage your glutes, focus on squeezing them as you drive up from the squat position. This will help to activate your glutes and protect your lower back.

Another mistake people do when engaging their glutes is not maintaining proper form. To avoid this, make sure that your knees are in line with your toes and push through your heels.

Remember – engaging your glutes takes practice and patience. Don’t give up if it doesn’t come naturally at first – keep working at it until it’s second nature.

The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research published a study which shows that doing exercises that target the glute muscles can improve overall athletic performance. So, don’t underestimate the importance of engaging your glutes during box squats!

Variations of Box Squats

To add variety to your box squat routine, try incorporating these four different variations: Paused Box Squats, Wide-Stance Box Squats, Box Jumps, and Banded Box Squats. Each of these sub-sections will offer a unique challenge to your box squats and work different muscle groups.

Paused Box Squats

Box squats are a popular resistance exercise for building lower body strength. The ‘Paused Box Squat’ variation involves a brief pause on the box before rising back up. This pause can boost explosive power and stability. Here’s a step-by-step guide to do it correctly:

  1. Set up a squat rack with a barbell at hip height.
  2. Place a box or bench behind you, so your thighs are parallel when you sit down on it.
  3. Engage your core and descend. Pause for a split second when your glutes touch the box, then drive back up.

It’s important to note that the weight should be less than your regular squat weight. This is because the pause will make it more challenging to generate force explosively. Keep your chest up and hips neutral to prevent injury and get the most from the exercise. Adding resistance bands or chains increases difficulty and engages stabilizing muscles.

By integrating paused box squats into your routine, you can improve explosiveness, stability, and squat performance for better gains in lower body strength.

Wide-Stance Box Squats

Wide-stance box squats are a great exercise for developing strength in the hips, glutes, and lower back. It involves a wider stance than traditional box squats.

To do it:

  1. Stand at the edge of the box with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Point your toes outwards, bend your knees, and grab the barbell with both hands.
  3. Keep your arms straight and your chest upright as you lower yourself until you reach below parallel depth.
  4. Pause for two seconds, then raise yourself up.
  5. Repeat as desired.

This exercise is great for athletes needing strong hips or those wanting to strengthen their leg stability. The wide stance helps distribute your weight evenly.

“I had a client who was trying to improve his agility after bowel surgery. Incorporating wide-stance box squats helped him build his lower body strength without putting too much pressure on his injury.”

Box Jumps

  1. Find a strong box that fits your size.
  2. Stand in front of it with feet shoulder-width apart.
  3. Jump on the box with both feet, bending knees on impact.
  4. Jump back down to the ground, ending in a squat position.
  5. Do this for reps or a set time period.
  6. Box Jumps are usually done as one exercise.But, you can use them in complex circuits for more challenge.
  7. Yuri Verkhoshansky, a Russian coach, invented Box Jumps in the 70s for high jumpers.Nowadays, fitness fans have also started using them.

Banded Box Squats

Banded Box Squats are all the rage! They provide extra resistance for lower body strength training and muscle building. The benefits include increased resistance and improved stability.

To get the most out of it, here’s what to do:

  1. Attach bands on each side of the barbell.
  2. Place the box at an appropriate height and follow proper form.
  3. Perform 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps.
  4. Choose bands with enough tension for your individual capacity.
  5. Focus on proper form with slow, controlled movements.
  6. Incorporate Banded Box Squats with other compound exercises such as deadlifts or front squats.

Banded Box Squats are a great way to maximize lower body development and muscle growth. So get ready to hit the gym and give them a try!

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