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Do You Know Squat About Box Squats?

The box squat is widely considered the best exercise for building strength and size. Why? Because the move adds stress to virtually your entire body as well as promotes mobility and balance. Squat variations include the hack squat, sumo squat, front squat, Jefferson squat, and box squat. All are useful moves that promote building strength, and switching styles can prevent you from hitting sticking points and shift focus to different areas of different muscles.

The box squat — where you pause by sitting on a box or bench during the descent of the movement — has proven beneficial for many reasons. For one, it forces you to focus on your form. Two, the pause at the bottom of the rep enables you to recruit more muscle fibers when it’s time to explode back up to the start position. In short, more muscle fibers recruited translates to more strength being gained.

Another benefit: the technique places more emphasis on the hamstrings and glutes. In sports that explosiveness comes in handy when you want to beat someone off of the line, make a quick cut, or jump up for a rebound.

Here are some tips for performing box squats:

• Begin by using a higher box to get used to the movement before increasing the weight.

• Vary your stance from shoulder-width to narrow to wider-than-shoulder-width if you routinely work these into your training program.

• Brace your core throughout the movement.

• Look forward or slightly upward; do not stare at your feet (doing so may cause you to bend your back, which can lead to injury).

• Fuel up wisely beforehand. Any squat done properly and with enough intensity will leave your muscles exhausted. Pre-workout, drink P4’s workout supplement Pre Game Formula or Energy Formula, which will provide a monster energy boost that’ll help carry you through to the very last rep. Both sports supplements are NSF Certified for Sport, which means they don’t contain any banned substances that appear on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s lengthy list.