Box squatting has been a controversial topic for a long time. Does it work for raw lifters? Does it work for beginner lifters? Do you need to pause on the box? If so, how long should you pause? How low should the box be? Do you need to sit back until your shin angle is directly perpendicular to the floor? Should your shin angle actually be negative? Should you relax on the box or keep everything tight? Most importantly, does the box squat actually make your squat stronger?

In this issue of Off Topic, Dave and Jim talk about the pros of box squatting. Touching on many of the aforementioned questions, they share their opinions on box squatting for lifters of different experience levels and competitive pursuits. Dave explains how he uses a box, and how this differs from the way he uses the box as a teaching tool for new lifters. Jim also outlines why he prefers free squats for some lifters and box squats for others.

Some of their best points:

  • "I can teach someone how to squat perfectly with a box in five minutes. If I don't have that it's going to take all day"
  • Your box squat should look like your free squat. If you take out the box, you shouldn't look like a doofus.
  • High bar squat, low bar squat, free squat, box squat — it doesn't matter. They're all squats. Do them.
  • Older or beat up lifters can benefit from the box squat more than most lifters.
  • "If I have a choice I'll always have them free squat because they're kids and they need to get some muscle mass."
  • The preference, especially for young kids and lifters who need more mass, is to have them free squatting. But if they can't free squat properly, the box is used and it's no big deal.

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