How To Box Squat: Form (Ours Vs Westside) & Programming

Learn correct box squat form (don't rock), programming, when & why to box squat, & the lift's history from Westside Barbell. This supplemental squat exercise stresses the hips-not knees-helping you stay in your hips in a low bar squat and stressing your hamstrings, adductors, & glutes over your quadriceps muscles.

Westside Origin & Technique

The box squat is well-known because of Louie Simmons and the lifters of Westside Barbell. Louie took it from the original Westside and brought it to the more famous Westside in Columbus, OH.

Westside teaches a rocking variation where the lifter sits on the box, rocks back and then forward, and then uses that momentum to come up off the box and complete the lift.

We differ from Westside in how we perform the box squat. Correct form in our book removes the rocking motion.

We teach the box squat as a way to break up the eccentric and concentric portions of the squat. This eliminates the stretch reflex at the bottom of the squat.

How to Box Squat

Set up for the box squat the same way you would the low bar back squat – same grip, bar position, etc. Set up the box so that when you touch the box with your butt you are at proper depth (just below parallel).

The goal during a box squat is to maintain vertical shins – use the hips and posterior chain! This supplemental lift is great for lifters who have trouble staying in their hips, as it emphasizes the hips over the knees. This emphasizes the hamstrings, adductors, and glutes over the quadriceps muscles.

Similar to a paused squat, you pause and stay tight in the bottom. Don’t relax your torso at any point while performing the box squat and maintain your torso angle. Touch the box “like a ninja.” You also don’t want to sit hard into the box and hurt your tailbone (or worse).


This lift is normally not for novice lifters. Intermediate or advanced lifters can add the box squat as their supplemental squat in a 4-day split, possibly on the same day as their competition deadlift.

Some lifters may experience sufficient knee pain during low bar squats to warrant using this as their primary squat variation (and including it in their novice linear progression). Others may feel more confident having a box

People tend to perform these at slightly lower rep ranges than normal squats (triples more often than fives), but you can program these just like you would the low bar squat.



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