How To Do Box Squats

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How To Do Box Squats

Leg exercises tend to be one of the sets that people dread the most. There seems to usually be considerably less diversity to these, and many of the popular ones out there can be a bit hard on the knees, hips and back. Of course, basic squats have been a go-to for leg exercise since time immemorial, and today, we’re going to look at a unique take on squats that everyone interested in strengthening their legs should definitely look into. 

Box squats are far more literal in how they got their name than you might expect. On top of being one of the safer approaches to weighted squats, they have a variety of additional benefits we’ll discuss in a moment. First, let’s talk about what you need, and how to do the exercise. 

What You Need 

All you need is a solid crate/box or other stable object that comes no higher than your knees. It must be able to support half again your weight, as a rule of thumb. Test the crate/box thoroughly before actually performing this set! Aside from that, all you need is a balanced barbell you can comfortably support across your shoulders.

Squat Muscles Worked

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By BodyParts3D/Anatomography – BodyParts3D/Anatomography, CC BY-SA 2.1 jp, Link

By Anatomography – en:Anatomography (setting page of this image), CC BY-SA 2.1 jp, Link


  • Straddle the crate/box so it’s firmly between your feet as you stand up straight. 
  • Duck under the barbell, supporting it across the back of your shoulders – be sure to distribute support to your hands as well, palms facing forward and slightly up. DO NOT let your back/shoulders bear all of the weight at any point! 
  • Still straddling the box/crate, bend slowly at the knees until you sit on it fully. 
  • Listing at the knees, stand back upright slowly. Repeat this sitting and standing motion. ALWAYS lift with the legs, never your back! 


Box squats have multiple advantages over regular, squats. Chief among these is the fact that having a seat to support you both limits how far down you can squat, while also giving you a convenient place to restore your stance. You can’t easily get stuck, and if you do, it’s easy enough to safely become unstuck. 

Another advantage is that you always know how low you will be squatting, meaning you can never over/underestimate your distance, which prevents excess strain and potential accidents similar to when you become stuck. Along with this is the advanced workout this provides due to the perpendicular pose the squat provides. Your gluts, lower back and hamstrings are thoroughly worked, while not being potentially damaged or injured in the process. 

Finally, considering how muscle memory tends to be, this is an excellent way to train yourself into good squat technique, weighted or otherwise. When you move on to more free form squat sets, having practiced with the box/crate will have trained your body to natural limits and pose. 


Of course, any exercise routine can be dangerous if not done properly and carefully. While weight does provide an important factor in any workout like this, don’t be overzealous. Even if you’ve already built up quite a bit of muscle mass across your body, you don’t need exorbitant amounts of weight for a solid work out. 

Again, always double check the crate or box’s weight capacity before actually trying this exercise. If the box should break or tip over as you lower onto it, any number of unfortunate injuries could occur. 

Finally, this is definitely not an ideal exercise for someone with knee or back troubles. If these troubles are minor enough (and your doctor has okayed exercise to strengthen these parts of your body), then a back brace and knee braces may suffice to still safely perform this routine. Always check with your doctor if you’re unsure. When in doubt, don’t! 

To learn more about this and other exercises, as well as how to do them safely, fill out our contact form or call us today!

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