Remember that where the head goes, the body will follow. Note: Always push the feet out to the sides, not directly down. Chuck Taylors are the best shoes for squatting. This was tested at Ball State University in lab conditions. Box squats have tremendous advantages over regular squats. These are as follows. You do not get as sore from a box squat workout, and you can recover much faster. If the box that you are squatting on is below parallel and you do a thousand squats, they will all be below parallel, regardless of the weight. This is important because when many lifters warm up, they cannot break parallel with light weight, or as the weight nears a max, many will cut depth. However, with a box to sit on, you will always break parallel, or any depth desired. Box squats can increase flexibility. When monitoring flexibility, you should be able to break parallel with your competition stance. If this is not possible, sit on a box about 2 inches above parallel.
After mastering that height, reduce the box height by half an inch. The easiest way is to remove a 1/2 inch rubber mat. Then sit on the box at that new height until comfortable. Reduce the height half an inch again. Continue this until you are not only at parallel but below. Start with a shoulder-width stance. Then widen your stance by an inch or two each time until a very wide stance is achieved. John Stafford has sat on a 6 inch box; he is 6 feet tall, 285 pounds. I am always concerned when a coach asks how low can we squat, referring to Olympic squats. A very close squat stance makes no sense. Look at a pyramid; the wider the base, the greater the pyramid. I guess if my only claim to fame was bouncing my ass off my heels with 315, I would ask that question myself. Box squatting with a slow count is a form of PNF (propriceptive neuromuscular facilitation), commonly used in clinical settings. This type of stretch involves a maximum precontraction of the muscle groups to undergo elongation.
As the box is lowered to an extreme for your range of motion, a box squat can become a safe ballistic stretch method. This will not only increase your range of motion in the muscle groups but also increase joint mobility. Box squats also resemble CRAC (contract relax agonist contract), a form of stretching. This information can be found in `! Strength and Power in Sport`! (1991). If you lower to the box slowly and widen your stance slowly, more muscle flexibility and joint mobility can be achieved. A lighter weight can achieve a bigger squat with box squatting. By training at 50-60% of your 1-rep max in a 3-week wave, a large squat can be developed.