If there is one thing the weight lifting world gets confused on, it’s the difference between box squats and squatting to a box. Traditional box squats are performed in a wide sumo stance, and a near vertical shin angle – resembling more of a “hinge pattern” with the hips pushing back and chest coming forward as a result.
The box height is at parallel. This set up is amazing for building the hip drive (favors glutes and adductors). Now, as mentioned, you can also squat to a box.
THESE ARE DIFFERENT. Neither is inherently better or worse. They simply have different purposes. Both have their role in training stimuli. My only hope is that you understand which is which by the end of this post.
Squatting to a box can be used for control and finding a certain depth, or as a mental safety net for trainees struggling with “heavy” weight and still hitting depth. Swipe for a comparison + breakdown.
The graphics and videos below should clear up traditional box squats vs squatting to a box via a back rack position.
I prefer an actual box, set up like a diamond (corner between zee legs). Most benches are too high for either variation for most female lifters. Stacked plates are MONEY. They allow comfortable foot placement for either squat stance (in my opinion).
Cues for BOX SQUATS:
Hips back, knees out. Your ADDUCTORS will likely be what makes contact with the box. That might feel weird if you’re expecting your glutes to hit. As long as the movement follows the set up above, then whatever hits the box, hits the box. Don’t stress too much about that piece.
Cues for SQUATTING TO A BOX:
Sit on an egg or “soft sit.” Anything else you’d cue for a squat. Slower down than up, elbows under the bar, push the floor away etc.
Have you ever done traditional box squats? Love them? Hate them?
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I'm an adventurous introvert from Vancouver, Washington who lives on sleep + "me time." I'm a lover of lifting weights, dinosaurs, real talk and traveling with my husband. I am here to help you move better, lift more, bust the myths of the fitness industry, and inspire you to love the process.
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