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Box Squats and Hack Squats v.s Traditional Squats

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    Box Squats and Hack Squats v.s Traditional Squats






    I've been reading up on these two exercises, but have been left somewhat confused over the benefits. I knew this would be the right place to go!

    Box Squats -- from what I gather, the benefit of this exercise has to do with starting at a dead-stop at the bottom of the movement, rather than continuing the motion as in traditional squats. How does this train the legs differently? Is this to strengthen the posterior chain by giving it more explosiveness as in Rack Pulls? Also, I read that this exercise "forces" proper form. How is this so?

    One more thing: I'm sure this isn't an issue, but at my gym we don't have boxes to use for this...can I use a bench and have the same affect?

    Hack Squats -- I can see this being better from a safety standpoint, but the reduced range-of-motion makes me wonder. Would this be one to use wit heavier weights? Does this reduce stress of the spine? More hip-dominant? Also, would I be wise to invest in straps for this exercise?

    After hitting my one-year mark last month I decided to begin experimenting with squat variations. I just finished up 8 weeks of front squats, and absolutely loved them. I'm going to move on to Box Squats. I'm wondering if I should try Hack Squats after.

    On a side note, anyone have anything to say about Zercher Squats? The bar positioning looks very uncomfortable to me.

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    If I understand correctly box squats load the glute/ham by disengaging the hip flexors during the "sit". They work well when adressing the issue of quad dominance. I would not 1RM on a box, perhaps 3-5 x 5 with 70-80%. Use a bench and some plates to stand on so that you're are breaking parallel.

    Not a big fan of Hacks myself, however the Front squat and the Overhead squat really tax the core and develop flexibility.
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    don't box's present an issue for the back? I especially see folks sitting and losing the arch in the back. ick
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phineas View Post
    I've been reading up on these two exercises, but have been left somewhat confused over the benefits. I knew this would be the right place to go!

    Box Squats -- from what I gather, the benefit of this exercise has to do with starting at a dead-stop at the bottom of the movement, rather than continuing the motion as in traditional squats. How does this train the legs differently? Is this to strengthen the posterior chain by giving it more explosiveness as in Rack Pulls? Also, I read that this exercise "forces" proper form. How is this so?

    One more thing: I'm sure this isn't an issue, but at my gym we don't have boxes to use for this...can I use a bench and have the same affect?
    Box squats are typically done with a powerlifting technique, though they don't necessarily have to be done like this. Either way, they generally allow you to drive your hips back further during the eccentric. This makes for a greater contribution of the hips to the movement, and therefore the prime hip extensors: the glutes/hammies.

    No exercise forces proper form. It helps you learn to sit back, and reinforces this aspect of a good squat. It is a good coaching/teaching tool for squatters who tend to exhibit a long of anterior dominance and forward weight bearing.

    Yes, any sturdy surface works. I have used aerobic steps, benches, and plyo platforms all for box squats.


    Hack Squats -- I can see this being better from a safety standpoint, but the reduced range-of-motion makes me wonder. Would this be one to use wit heavier weights? Does this reduce stress of the spine? More hip-dominant? Also, would I be wise to invest in straps for this exercise?

    After hitting my one-year mark last month I decided to begin experimenting with squat variations. I just finished up 8 weeks of front squats, and absolutely loved them. I'm going to move on to Box Squats. I'm wondering if I should try Hack Squats after.

    On a side note, anyone have anything to say about Zercher Squats? The bar positioning looks very uncomfortable to me.
    Hack squats are more quad dominant. I don't see why you couldn't use heavy weights with it. Yes, shearing forces on the spine are reduced. Compressive force will still be high, but the tissues of the spine are more tolerant to this form of loading. You may want to use straps, yes, if your grip limits you in that regard.

    I like Zercher squats a lot. Yes, it is pretty uncomfortable. I used to get bruises in the antecubital space (The opposite to the elbow) all the time when I was doing them on a regular basis. Eventually you kind of get used to it, but it never ends up being very comfortable. They are more hip dominant for sure. However, it can vary pretty substantially depending on how much forward lean you use.
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    Just for fun, here's a video of an old co-worker of mine doing some pretty heavy Zerchers:

    YouTube - MikeYuhaniak's Channel
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    After checking "how-to" videos online I'm mixed: should zerchers be performed with an upright torso or bent (like in traditional squats). I tried both and straight back not only allowed me to lift more weight but I felt no toeque on my spine.

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    People say that box squats "force proper form" because you can set the box to parallel or lower to ensure that you're always hitting it. Many people have a tendency to cheat themselves but you can't cheat the box.

    As far as their differences:

    Box squats allow you to engage the glutes and hamstrings a lot and teaches you how to push out from the bottom of the squat. Powerlifters do these a lot because speed out of the hole is a key to squatting heavy.

    Hack squats involve the quads more and are much less reliant on the posterior chain.

    Full squats are my favorite and the best IMO. A lot of people like squatting off a box but for me there is nothing better than squatting through the full range of motion. Butt to the ground squats are probably the most taxing exercise I've ever done.

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    Stop dissing box squats until you use a box/thick book that is at the bottom of your range. Fuck past 90. If you even bring up 90 you suck.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CowPimp View Post
    Just for fun, here's a video of an old co-worker of mine doing some pretty heavy Zerchers:

    YouTube - MikeYuhaniak's Channel
    I haven't done those in a long time. Definitely need to put them back into my routine.

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