Barbell back squat to box

The barbell back squat to box is a popular version of a classic lower-body exercise that utilizes a box at the bottom position of the movement. This allows the lifter to customize the depth of the squat, as well as limit the stretch reflex at the bottom of the squat. The movement targets the quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings. The squat to box can be performed for low reps to build strength or power, or for higher reps to build muscle.


  1. Allows for a customizable squat depth
  2. Encourages squatting rearward rather than downward, targeting the glutes
  3. Works well with accommodating resistance like bands and chains
  4. Effective substitute for back squats in any program

Barbell back squat to box Images


Barbell back squat to box Instructions

Barbell back squat to box muscle diagram
  1. The box squat allows you to squat to desired depth and develop explosive strength in the squat movement. Begin in a power rack with a box at the appropriate height behind you. Typically, you would aim for a box height that brings you to a parallel squat, but you can train higher or lower if desired.
  2. Begin by stepping under the bar and placing it across the back of the shoulders. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and rotate your elbows forward, attempting to bend the bar across your shoulders. Remove the bar from the rack, creating a tight arch in your lower back, and step back into position. Place your feet wider for more emphasis on the back, glutes, adductors, and hamstrings, or closer together for more quad development. Keep your head facing forward.
  3. With your back, shoulders, and core tight, push your knees and butt out and you begin your descent. Sit back with your hips until you are seated on the box. Ideally, your shins should be perpendicular to the ground. Pause when you reach the box, and relax the hip flexors. Never bounce off of a box.
  4. Keeping the weight on your heels and pushing your feet and knees out, drive upward off of the box as you lead the movement with your head. Continue upward, maintaining tightness head to toe.