Box Squat vs. Squat TO Box (Yes There’s a Difference)
A few months ago I wrote an article for t-nation.com titled Squatmeggedon – All Things Squatting, where I discussed several different thought processes I had as it relates to SPOILER ALERT: squatting.
One topic that struck a chord with me (which is why I wrote about it), as well as with many people who read the article, was the differentiation I made between box squats and squats TO a box. While some may feel it’s borderline redundant – dude, aren’t they the same thing? – I’d argue they’re anything but.
Sure, they both have the word squat in their title, and yes, they both incorporate a box. You got me there. But outside of those two obvious things, that’s where the similarities end. You see, for me, it comes down to WHY you would use one over the other. What’s the rationale for having someone box squat compared to having them squat to a box?
Simple. Watch the video, and find out.
A few quick notes beforehand:
1. This wasn’t meant to be a dissertation on how to squat. While I do go into a little detail on the proper set-up and things to look for on the descent, the real meat and potatoes lie in the separation between a box squat and a squat to box. Besides, the video is six minutes long, so cut me some slack for crying loud.
If you want to have your world rocked, and are looking for something that goes into more length, I’d highly suggest checking out Matt Wenning’s So You Think You Can Squat series HERE.
2. A huge thanks goes out to Kennet Waale, who’s currently visiting CP on school break all the way from Brisbane, Australia. I asked him to be my squatting guinea pig on the spot and he came through like a champ.
3. Also, I want to thank one Chris Howard for the Spielberg’esq camera work.
4. Compared to my first video on deadlifts, no sexual innuendos this time around.
If you found this video informative or helpful or maybe even a smidge “the best video you’ve ever watched,” please share it on your Facebook page or on Twitter. Likewise, if you can also do me a huge favor and click the “Like” button at the bottom of this post, I’ll be your BFF for like a day. Maybe even two. But only if you make me a meatloaf.
On that note, feel free to leave your comments below. I’d love to know what you think! Additionally, if there are any topics you’d like me to cover in future video blogs, let me know. I’m always looking for ideas.
Comments for This Entry
R SmithTony, Damn fine video. As someone who (a) has done both versions and (b) seen both versions murdered, I can attest that you nailed all the relevant info. *Sure wish he'd give us one of these videos a week--at least. But I'm WAY too grateful to ask.*
January 12, 2012 at 11:48 am |
DianaI'd love it if you covered low bar vs. high bar squat. I've mostly seen high bar, but do low bar myself and I wonder if there's a reason behind why you do one versus the other.
January 12, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
AnonymousThanks for the suggestion Diana.....I might do that one down the road.
January 12, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
HiI agree with Diana. Can you make that video? And how to set-up/execute both.
January 12, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
Mike A.great video TG. Notice that you sized up out of your Smedium for this video. Few questions if you dont mind. 1) Who laughed when you said "ginger"? 2) How do you feel about playing with stance width during a traditional box squat? For an athletic population, not powerlifters, do you feel there is any benefit to the super wide stance? 3) You have your athlete here pause for a one-one thousand. Personally I give my athletes a two count. Louie Simmons suggests that the SSC can last for up to 7 seconds. Are you really looking to just break the eccentric/concentric action or do you really want to get rid of the SSC? Thanks!
January 12, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
Anonymous2. Depends on one's hips. Super wide for ME, crushes me. I think varying stances every 1-2 weeks would be the best way to go, however. But, as a general rule, slightly wider will place more emphasis on the hammies. 3. Yeah, I kind of mis-spoke on that one......sorry. I realize the SSC lasts longer than a 1-2 second count. Ideally, with box squats, all I'm really looking to do is break the eccentric/concentric chain.
January 12, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
BarathAs far as I understand, the whole point of coming to a complete halt on the box (what you call "box squat") is that your lower body has to fire like crazy to propel you - this way you build strength and mass in your legs and quads. In regular back squat, one can use a little momentum to fire yourself up and this momentum, however little, gets eliminated in box squats. I just don't see what the advantage of squatting to a box is - specifically, I don't see what it does that regular back squats don't do. In fact, here you seem to be doing the exact opposite of box squats, by trying to bounce off the box a little which seems counterproductive to me. What am I missing?
January 12, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
Chris A.I think, and Tony may correct me here, but the squat to a box allows you to target the posterior chain just a little more than a regular back squat would, particularly when you start to get closer to depth. In the bottom of the squat you're actually pulling yourself down into the hole almost (at least in my experience/understanding of the movement) using your hip flexors and internal rotators to get you down the last few inches. Not sure if this is what they teach over at CP but I remember reading it on Robertsons blog or something and have used it with some success. Anyway that component doesn't seem to be as vital in the squat to a box. PS Tony you need to start using intern Sean in your videos man! haha
January 12, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
Mike A.Barath, the point of squatting TO a box is mainly that it allows you to teach a beginner proper squat depth. No cheating with a box, you either touch it or you don't.
January 12, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
BarathAh, thanks! I wasn't paying enough attention the first time I saw the video, but I went back and saw it again, and see that this was mentioned.
January 12, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
Rozin AbbasGood stuff, Tony. What's your take on Matt teaching people to squat with their neck in extension as opposed to neutral?
January 12, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
AnonymousEh, not a fan to be honest. Then again, when you're squatting the weights that those guys are squatting, you can let a few things slide
January 12, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
JohnGreat stuff Tony! Def keep more videos like this coming! I always enjoy watching the guys are CP coach and see what cues and coaching points you focus on. Thanks!
January 12, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
AnonymousThanks John. By the way, I spoke with a trainer who attended your workshop last weekend and he said he really enjoyed it. I'll have to try to make it down sometime
January 12, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
Doug MullendoreTony - I almost exclusively box squat - (pause on the box). I do this for a couple of reasons. The first being that I need that cue to help me get down to depth. The second is that I just like it. I use a box with both my front & back squats. Am I overdoing it? Do I need to move away from my pacifier and just man-up and squat without the box? www.somemasterworking.blogspot.com
January 12, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
AnonymousIt might not hurt to change it up a bit. I like to switch squat variations every two weeks or so. Whether or not I do that with a client depends on their proficiency with the movement.
January 16, 2012 at 8:10 am |
SmittyGreat video Tony.
January 13, 2012 at 12:10 am |
ReesI like the cues. Good stuff.
January 13, 2012 at 12:43 am |
ErikaGreat stuff!! Although, I was a bit distracted by your perfect posture. haha. Keep the videos coming!
January 13, 2012 at 9:32 am |
DannyIt would be great to see a troubleshoot of the hinge pattern. I always have issues when teaching someone to hinge and most of the same issues keep coming up (rounding upper back, too stiff in the knees, hyper-extending the neck, etc). Some people don't respond to shoulders in the back pocket, drive your hips back to the wall behind you, or some other very powerful cues). We all know these things aren't great to see and everyone has their own way of dealing with these issues, but what are some ways YOU would get people to either learn the hinge or get them to actually be able to hinge.
January 13, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
JMJWell done. Thanks for the insight. I'm guilty of rocking during box squats, will work on that next week.
January 13, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
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January 15, 2012 at 10:48 am |
Kennet Waale » Blog Archive[...] Also, check out this freakin’ awesome post and video at Tony’s blog: http://www.tonygentilcore.com/blog/box-squats-vs-squat-to-box-yes-theres-a-difference/ [...]
January 15, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
PrakashTony - what if you can't squat to that depth without 'butt winking' or keeping an arch/neutral spine? I'm sure I read on Mike Robertson's blog that he only gets clients to squat to a depth they can safely manage in neutral spine and then works on their mobility (hip flexors, hammies, glutes, etc) to increase their depth. What do you recommend? Should you only do if your butt doesn't tuck under (therefore straining lumbar spine) to that depth but of course work on mobility to eventually attain that depth?
January 16, 2012 at 5:08 am |
AnonymousI'm in the same boat as Mike. I use what ROM they DO have and work from there. If that means starting with a higher box height, then so be it.
January 16, 2012 at 8:17 am |
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January 25, 2012 at 1:43 am |
Squat Like Your Ass Depends on It | lisavandore[...] as a box squat ~ for a great video discussing the difference see my coach Tony’s blog “Box Squat vs. Squat TO Box”). Here you are going to use a box (or a set of risers at the gym) to give you a cue as to how [...]
February 13, 2012 at 10:03 am |
The importance of box squat variations & practical applications « FMT[...] So why box squat? An important concept to understand is that the box squat involves a static-overcome-by-dynamic action meaning there is an element of overcoming inertia when performing the movement. Therefore, any athlete whose sport involves this process will benefit from the exercise. Consider a sprinter in the blocks, a rugby player at the edge of a scrum, an American football lineman, and a swimmer on the blocks. Keeping tight is important with box squats and a good way to visualise the process is to imagine a coiled spring. An athlete that has utilised box squats in their training will possess a strong start and explosive edge.The box squat can be performed by doing a squat to a box with a pause, or by using a ‘tap-and-go’ technique. In fact, fitness professionals like to distinguish between the variations because the technique used will impact on the loading selected and the SSC involvement. If further clarity is needed between the differences between box squats and squats to a box (interesting stuff) check out this video. [...]
March 11, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
xiaochenGiorgio?Armani?autunno inverno?2012?haute?couture?mostra a?Milano il?27 febbraio 2012 release.?La fase?T,?Giorgio?Armani,?ovviamente,?per sbarazzarsi di?tutto ciò che?sarebbe classificato come?un?tappeto rosso?le cose?di stile, e?può anche includere un?bar,?tuta nera?con lustrini?drammaticamente?alla fine?di tutta la mostra?come?la messa a fuoco pubblico.
March 24, 2012 at 3:57 am |
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April 10, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
family tree makerGreat vid, thanks for posting it here) Also thanks for your kind of "tutorial" on squatting, I like the way you've explained everything))
April 17, 2012 at 5:01 am |
internet radioA great tutorial on squat boxing, honestly))) Thanks a lot for posting the info here, it was nice to come across this blog in the internet))
April 19, 2012 at 3:45 am |
leslieTony, it's an awesome video! If I just could do something like that.... Hope to see more! And! Try this scrabble helper
May 21, 2012 at 8:38 am |
jagHello, Great video. With a Box Squat, I find that there are times when I end up transferring weight onto the box, that is, sitting on the box. Find it hard not to do this. I am assuming that one should not be doing this but rather holding onto ones's own weight with minimal "sitting' on the box. Any tips to avoid this - am I lifting too heavy? Should I go lighter to avoid the "sitting"? Thanx
June 9, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
TonyGentilcore"Sitting" on the box is fine, you just don't want to lose tension at the bottom. Basically, try not to RELAX when you sit onto the box. Rather, you want to make sure you maintain tension (hopefully that makes sense).
June 12, 2012 at 8:06 am |
jonahTony, thanks for this video! It's just awesome! I used to do just box squat, so this is quite new to me. Thanks again! Waiting for the next tutorials! By the way, you can try a mov to avi converter. I hope you will like it!
June 28, 2012 at 9:04 am |
Josef NewellThanks for the explanation. I always though that there's no difference between box squats and squats to a box. I used to consider them as synonyms but now I feel there is a difference. Thanks for the post. word search puzzle maker
July 6, 2012 at 6:28 am |
TonyGentilcoreGlad it was helpful Josef. Thanks for reading!
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