Should You Use A Box When You Low Bar Squat?

Legs | Strength Training 2 min Read

Written by

Keith Hansen


First, let’s talk about why you would use a box.

In our gym there are two uses for a box when low bar squatting:

-to teach proper low bar squat mechanics
-to reinforce your bottom position

In this article I will go into more detail about these situations, and when you should use a box to low bar squat.

Teaching the low bar squat

We use a box to teach the low bar squat because it encourages trainees to sit back which is key in the low bar squat. The other reason we use a box when teaching the low bar squat is to create an artificial depth so newbies can begin to familiarize themselves with how low they should squat.

If you’re new to the low bar squat then using a box is a good idea to begin the process of ingraining that pattern into your nervous system.

Perfecting the Low bar squat

Another use for the box when performing a low bar squat is to reinforce a strong bottom position.

There is a right way to do box squats, and there is the wrong way to do box squats.

The wrong Way

The wrong way(s) to do box squats are the ones you see in high school football weight rooms.

The first incorrect way to do it is when the trainee views the box as a target to slam their coccyx(tail bone) on. The second incorrect way is when people sit on to the box, rock back, relax, then rock forward to load their quads to stand.

Neither of these ways improves your mechanics in a normal low bar squat.

The Right Way

The right way to use a box for low bar squats is one that reinforces your unassisted low bar squat.

The box height should be such that when you make contact with the box your squat depth is even with your normal squat bottom or one that you are trying to reinforce for competition.

You should not relax on the box, or lose even an ounce of tension.

Sitting on the box is not a break. It should be excruciating because you are holding maximum tension at the toughest part of your squat; the part where you would normally bounce through due to the stretch reflex.


We use the box squat with every single person that steps in the gym to teach quality low bar squat mechanics.

Few people advance far enough in their training to warrant low bar box squats, but when you do, don’t make the mistakes outlined above.

The bulk of your training should be centered around normal, unassisted, perfect low bar squats.

Boxes, chains, bands, specialty bars, tempo training, pause squats, and any other crazy combo or variation you can think of should always be 20% or less of your program.

Don’t major in the minors.

Check out The Serious Guide to the Low Bar Squat for more information on the low bar squat.

Keith Hansen

Keith was an All-State wrestler in high school and in 2007 hung up his singlet to attend Florida State University to pursue a B.S. in business management. He wasn't sure what industry he wanted to be involved in at the time, but soon realized after graduating in 2011 that fitness was the ever-constant activity in his life. Keith began studying to become a personal trainer and in 2013 earned the National Strength and Conditioning Association's Personal Trainer certification. After a short stint as a big box gym trainer he realized he wanted to bring something different to Tallahassee. Keith competes in Powerlifting, Olympic Weightlifting, and Crossfit.