One of the reasons why the box squat is so effective is because it forces you to use many major muscle groups all in one motion. When you squat, you engage the hamstrings, glutes, abs, and quads — a massive muscle output which results in massive calorie and fat-burn.
So HOW can you start incorporating this secret weapon into your workout routine?
Well, I’m about to show you…
Most people’s squat form sucks. As a result they don’t work their hamstrings at all, and they stress their knees way too much. A proper squat places the knee at about vertical with your big toe like the picture below.
Most people don’t know how to use their hamstrings during the lift, and as a result they lean way too far forward. This prevents your butt from getting a workout, and strains your knees instead.
I’ve noticed that beginning women have a lot of trouble figuring out how to “sit back” during the squat due to weaker hamstrings. The best way to work on this is to do a solid 2 – 3 months of box squats. They are fun, easy to work on and really help you learn how to squat with proper form.
To start, get a bench and a pair of 10 pound dumb bells. I don’t care how in-shape you are, if you just jump to the 45 pound bar you won’t be able to do the exercise correctly. Give it a week or two before you transition to the bar.
As shown in my box squatting video below, you basically stand a foot or so in front of the bench with your feet a little bit wider than shoulder width. Then hold the dumb bells up like you would if you were holding a bar, try to pinch your elbows together (so your chest sticks out a little), squeeze your stomach, and slowly SIT BACK on the bench. Watch the video:
When you do it correctly, your knees will actually finish behind your shins. To stand up, keep a nice tight arch in your back and drive your chest up first, followed by your lower body. You should feel the muscles fire mostly in your BUTT, not in your quads.
At first you might feel like you are going to fall backwards – this means you are doing it right, and that is why we have the bench there! Sit way back and try to fire your hamstrings. In my video I purposely fell on the bench a little heavy to show you what I mean – it is safe and it means you are doing it correctly. Eventually you will be able to lower with confidence and control. Now get off your butt, and go try them for yourself!
Click here to get a complete workout and nutrition guide for women that incorporates all of these principles. Each workout in the guide has main and supplementary exercises that will help ease you into weightlifting in a way that is safe, fun and very effective!