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Thread: Box squats

  1. #1
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    Default Box squats

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    I have several friends in the SOF community that exclusively box squat. They are all strong dudes and we work out in the same gym. I have inquired as to why they box squat and they all say it's easier to recover from. When questioned about omitting the stretch reflex by box squatting their response is essentially that it doesn't matter because they are not training for performance on the platform.

    I don't claim to be a smart dude or a programming genius, but I was kind of stumped by this. What benefit would come from regular squats that can't be accomplished with box squats for athletes that aren't chasing a powerlifting total?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Strength. You get stronger by lifting heavier weights. You can squat more weight than you can box squat, therefore ...

  3. #3
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    Again...I'm not a smart guy with this stuff. My training has been SS and then HLM and I don't really have experience with other programs.

    I preface with that statement so that all can see that I am truly asking these questions in good faith and not attempting to stir the pot.

    My understanding is that the stretch reflex is what allows you to squat more than you box squat (please correct me if I am mistaken). So is it simply that having more weight on your back makes you stronger? Because I assume the bounce "lightens" the load when coming out of the hole. My buddy at the gym (who is a very strong guy that pulls 600+ at a BW around 200) argues that the stretch reflex lightens the load similarly to bouncing deadlfts off the floor. Again, this was a head scratcher for me since I've never really thought about it like that.

    Thanks for any input/thoughts!

  4. #4
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    The bounce does not lighten anything, unless the plates fall off. The stretch reflex enables the generation of more force, thus enabling you to lift the heavier weight.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by atw_abn View Post
    I have several friends in the SOF community that exclusively box squat. They are all strong dudes and we work out in the same gym. I have inquired as to why they box squat and they all say it's easier to recover from. When questioned about omitting the stretch reflex by box squatting their response is essentially that it doesn't matter because they are not training for performance on the platform.

    I don't claim to be a smart dude or a programming genius, but I was kind of stumped by this. What benefit would come from regular squats that can't be accomplished with box squats for athletes that aren't chasing a powerlifting total?

    Thanks!
    This sort of comes down to what you like for assistance lifts. For instance, some guys back in the day liked doing closer stance squats or closer stance paused squats. I liked doing close stance box squats for a light day. Right now I'm back on an LP since I took some time off, so I won't need them just yet. Others like doing box squats quite often (like Westside). I would say try it and see. I didn't get much out of my wider stance squat using a box, but that is an n=1 type thing. I would also make sure you are doing normal squats while doing these other types, so you don't lose your groove.

  6. #6
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    My guess is that one can always box squat more than he/she squats. therefore, as box squat strength increases, squat potential also goes up. I suspect that what you actually miss out on when solely doing box squats is the skill component of harnessing the stretch reflex, which for someone experienced at lifting, should be a rapid learning curve.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by OZ-USF-UFGator View Post
    My guess is that one can always box squat more than he/she squats. therefore, as box squat strength increases, squat potential also goes up. I suspect that what you actually miss out on when solely doing box squats is the skill component of harnessing the stretch reflex, which for someone experienced at lifting, should be a rapid learning curve.
    That was my thoughts as well. I tried some last week and I thought they were OK. Definitely hard coming out of the hole.

    I always kind of shy away from arguments like this, but I wonder how important harnessing the stretch reflex is for people who don't participate in powerlifting/weightlifting. I think to Rip's point you can use more weight through the same ROM by using the stretch reflex and therefore you should get stronger with squats vs box squats. However, you can also use more weight through the same ROM if you use a squat suit. You can also deadlift more if use bumpers and bounce your reps. I know these are not apples to apples comparisons, but it has been an interesting thought process for me lately. My friends with whom I've been having this discussion are all SOF operators and would say that nothing they do in their jobs resembles utilizing the stretch reflex the way that one would in a squat. They also say that box squatting still gets them strong and is easier to recover from for their other fitness training. Again, something to chew on.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by atw_abn View Post
    That was my thoughts as well. I tried some last week and I thought they were OK. Definitely hard coming out of the hole.

    I always kind of shy away from arguments like this, but I wonder how important harnessing the stretch reflex is for people who don't participate in powerlifting/weightlifting. I think to Rip's point you can use more weight through the same ROM by using the stretch reflex and therefore you should get stronger with squats vs box squats. However, you can also use more weight through the same ROM if you use a squat suit. You can also deadlift more if use bumpers and bounce your reps. I know these are not apples to apples comparisons, but it has been an interesting thought process for me lately. My friends with whom I've been having this discussion are all SOF operators and would say that nothing they do in their jobs resembles utilizing the stretch reflex the way that one would in a squat. They also say that box squatting still gets them strong and is easier to recover from for their other fitness training. Again, something to chew on.
    This doesn't make sense to me. To be the best of my understanding, you get stronger by adapting to an increased stress, if it's easier to recover then it wasn't as stressful and is not making you as stronger.

    For the record, I'm a noob and very ignorant on the subject, having started training only a few months ago, but the little I've read suggests the above.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by atw_abn View Post
    My friends with whom I've been having this discussion are all SOF operators and would say that nothing they do in their jobs resembles utilizing the stretch reflex the way that one would in a squat.
    This is not the reason why we squat.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Satch12879 View Post
    This is not the reason why we squat.
    I didn't say that, and I don't think they would say that either.

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