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When programming squats for my athletes, my philosophy leads me to box squat 99% of the time as opposed to "free squatting."
This article will expand on my reasoning and philosophy on why our program chooses to prioritize a properly coached box squat as opposed to other variations of loaded squats. Here are is a summary of our reasoning:
These all sound great, right? The problem is, if you are not doing the movement correctly, you won’t reap all the box squat benefits. Below we are going to go over some of the cues that will help your athletes get all of the benefits out of the box squat in order to get the best "bang for our buck."
When setting up your feet need to be wide enough to generate force laterally. This will most likely be a little uncomfortable for the athletes at first. To correct this, simply watch the athlete squat from the front. You should be able to see some pressure coming out the sides of their shoes (like their foot is going to push out the side of their shoe).
Get the Box Squat Height Right!
To get the most out of your box squat, it’s important to have your box height set so that the athlete squats very close to parallel. In order to find this:
Cues should be 1-3 words. Keep them simple so the athlete can follow. We have the explanations below for your understanding and not for word-for-word recitation while someone is squatting.
Remember to cue the athlete through all reps until they get it.
These cues will take care of most of the issues you’ll see when teaching your athletes to squat, you just have to hold them accountable and make sure they’re doing it right. The video below will go into more detail and show some of the mistakes your athletes might make while learning the box squat and how to fix them.
Give these a try and your athletes will have less knee pain, more mobile hips and better performance. The key, just like any other movement in the weight room, is to make sure they know how to box squat properly.
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