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Fitness Police Box Squat – Alex J. Murphy aka Robocop

I received a text yesterday from one of my colleagues who’s an athletic trainer at a Division 1 institution. This university has close to 20 varsity sports with men’s and women’s basketball being their major sport. I’ve actually had the opportunity to work out in this weightroom and it has great potential.
It probably wasn’t put together with one strict training philosophy in mind; it has a good distribution of machines, free weights, “guru” tools, and plenty of square feet. My point being, it has sufficient resources for a safe and efficient strength and conditioning program to be ran. They recently hired a strength and conditioning coach.
Here’s the series of texts between the athletic trainer and me.
AT: Your thoughts on box squat?
Me: Poor choice for efficient lower body development. I can’t figure rationale for implementing it.
AT: I’ve got heartburn watching this monkey-shit.
Me: Who’s doing it?
AT: Every team here. I just witnessed a fail squat onto box…kid sitting with 250 on his shoulders…
Me: Very nice.
I’m not here to rip on a college athlete doing a box squat. They don’t know any better. I didn’t know any better when I used to do them. However, there’s a strength and conditioning coach at this university designing and implementing these strength and conditioning protocols. Maybe he knows something I don’t.
Here’s to the first college strength and conditioning coach getting a ticket from the fitness police. What in the hell are you doing?
Also, if there is anyone out there that has some valid/reliable literature showing any efficacy for performing the box squat please let us know…………wait a minute…..I know where I can find some answers! (I hope you pick up on my sarcasm for now on, because I’m going to lay it on pretty damn thick)
It only took me a second to file through my library in to find the first and last book of strength training I ever needed to buy. Upon finishing this book I ran to the campus bookstore to return every physiology, biomechanics, neuroscience, and motor behavior book I mistakenly purchased. Greg Shepard’s book “Bigger, Faster, Stronger” has some great information on the box squat. Greg shares his wisdom by giving readers priceless golden nuggets of information like this, “For developing hip strength, the box squat is superior to any other free weight exercise or machine.” (Shepard 2004)
Well put Greg! I now know why coaches and athletes are using this lift. Let’s read on!
“When we have a chance to demonstrate the box squat at clinics, we always get the same reaction from coaches. They really like this lift because it duplicates the hip movement used in the power sports (football, volleyball, basketball, baseball, and so on). After our demonstrations, we often hear coaches say, “That’s what I want! That’s what I want!” (Shepard 2004)
I’m ashamed to admit, I’ve never had the opportunity to be a coach in the crowed watching one man give another man the “reach around” spotting technique (No, get your head out of the gutter. It’s one hand on the low back one hand on the torso) at a BFS Clinic, all while screaming “That’s what I want!
I keep thinking about the athlete that had a failed attempt with the box squat. Was his technique flawed? Let’s see what Greg has to say about performing a box squat. We’ll skip to my favorite part.
“The final point concerning technique is that you should drive up on your toes in an explosive action as you complete the lift. At this final stage you should have the same feeling you do when blocking, tackling, rebounding, or releasing a track implement.” (Shepard 2004)
That must be what happened to the athlete who got buried in front of the AT. He did not drive up explosively onto his toes and he definitely did not achieve the identical feeling he gets when he rebounds.
Greg does an amazing job at name dropping which allows the reader comfort in knowing that other top athletes are using the box squat. Here’s a great example:
“George Frenn taught me how to box squat. George squatted 853 pounds in competition and won the national hammer-throw championship three years in a row. That 853-pound squat was the best achieved by anybody in the world for years, even though George weighted only 242 pounds. George would box squat once a week and parallel squat once a week. Doing regular squats twice a week was too draining, and George found that he couldn’t throw well in meets or practice. Doing box squats left him with energy for the next day.” (Shepard 2004)
Here’s a following statement…..
“You want to increase the weight you lift on the box squat compared with what you lift on the parallel squat, but you must limit the increase to 100 to 150 pounds.” (Shepard 2004)
Ok, if bobby can squat 315, I’m going to have him do a 415 pound box squat……
C’mon Greg…you’re contradicting yourself and not making any sense…and don’t claim that an increase of 100 pounds on the box squat is less intense than the regular squat because of the restricted range of motion….I’ll go get my neuroscience books back……
Greg Shepard…you are the first author to receive a ticket from the fitness police……but on a more serious note, thanks for the rough texture-picture filled BFS toilet paper.

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