If you’re interested in working hard every day to build muscles, you should definitely be incorporating squats, including the box squat, into your routine. These are excellent exercises for toning up the muscles throughout your lower body, from your hips and glutes to your calves. And high bar and low bar squats, which you can learn more about by checking out this blog post, add extra resistance to the upper body so that you can build strength there as well. But if you aren’t ready to incorporate weights into your squatting routine, read this blog post to learn more about bodyweight squats, which use the weight of your own body to build strength.
A well-rounded routine that includes cardiovascular exercises and muscle-building workouts is the key to getting the slim, toned physique you’ve always dreamed of. But proper form is imperative if you want to enjoy the benefits of these intense workouts without risking getting hurt and being unable to exercise at all.
Why is the Box Squat So Popular?
Box squats serve two great purposes for individuals who want to pursue bodybuilding exercises that will get them in shape quickly and help them look and feel amazing.
First, box squats teach you how to use proper form when squatting. This is especially important for people who have never done squats before and for those who never learned how to execute a squat properly and safely under the guidance of a trainer. Using improper form when squatting can put unnecessary strain on the joints and result in injuries that could’ve been avoided. Box squats help you learn the proper form before you dive into full squats, such as bodyweight, low bar, or high bar squats.
The second reason why box squats are worth your time is because they’re effective at building up your muscles and boosting your strength, especially in your lower body. Once you learn how to perform a box squat correctly, you’ll know how to use your hips to move down into the position, while improving hip mobility at the same time. And because you’ll be starting from the bottom position within the box squat, you’ll develop explosive strength in your hips and lower body. Establishing this level of strength can help you pursue other fitness activities, such as parkour, that will really test your limits.
How To Do a Box Squat Correctly
Although the box squat comes with a host of great benefits for your body, if you don’t know how to perform it correctly, you may end up doing more harm than good and actually inhibit yourself from reaching your fitness goals.
Step 1: Start with a box that allows you to get into a position in which you’re parallel to the floor when you’re squatting down onto it. If this isn’t comfortable for you at first, you can choose a higher box. Or, if you need an extra challenge, go for a lower box. Listen to your body and definitely get to the point where you’re testing your limits, but don’t go overboard or push your body beyond your comfort zone, as this could lead to injuries.
Step 2: Choose a barbell that’s comfortable for you, with or without weights, and rest it across the top of your upper back, just as you would for a high bar squat or a low bar squat (there’s some debate over which is better for box squats). Keep a narrow grip on the bar if you can, but make sure you’re comfortable.
Step 3: Stepping back towards the box, position your feet at least shoulder-width apart, but wider if you really want to target the hamstrings, hips, glutes, and back. Set your feet closer together if you’d rather target the quadriceps. Maintain your head facing forward, your chest forward and up, and your shoulder blades squeezing towards one another as you hold the bar in position. Your feet should be turned out at about a 30-45° angle.
Step 4: The next step involves engaging your core muscles, which include your abdominals and back. Keep all of these muscles tight and controlled, along with your shoulders. Begin to sit back onto the box with your hips, keeping your knees in place. If you’re using proper form, your shins should land perpendicular to the ground. Once you get to the box, pause there for a moment. Avoid bouncing while holding your muscles in place.
Step 5: Next, you need to come up off the box, but you should focus on using your hips again to do so. Maintain tight muscles just as you’ve been doing up to this point. Keep your head facing forward, and avoid leaning forward by keeping your chest out and up. Focus on pushing your heels into the floor and pushing from there while your feet and knees point outward on an angle. Finally, explode from your hips to lift yourself from the box. This is the key to building the strength you’re looking for.
Avoid These Mistakes to Ensure a Safe, Effective Movement
Many people, especially beginners, tend to make the same mistakes when it comes to box squats. Avoid making these errors if you want to get the most out of each and every repetition and prevent injuries.
- Don’t bounce on the box, and avoid relaxing the muscles while on the box. Doing this could put a lot of strain on your back.
- Rocking or leaning forward can also lead to back injuries and take the focus off of the key muscles you’re attempting to work on during a box squat. Instead, maintain a solid torso and the same form throughout the whole movement.
- Not positioning the knees properly can put a lot of strain on them too. Avoid pointing the knees forward or inward. Instead, keep the knees pointing outward on an angle the whole time and maintain the thighs in the same line as the feet.
- Maintain control by moving down onto the box slowly and then exploding upward.
Once you’ve mastered proper form, you’ll notice that the box squat is a great workout that will challenge your lower body and force you to pay a lot of attention to the muscles of your upper body as well. Whether you exercise at home, at the gym, or you prefer to follow a fitness program like Krank that was developed by an expert trainer, box squats are a perfect addition to any routine.