Leg Press

How about belt squats?

I would suggest deadlifts, too, either trap deads or straight bar. I have had back problems but never had a problem with deadlifts. Reverse hypers and glute/ham raises are good, too. Don’t care much for the leg press. If you do the deadlifts, put some platforms on the sides where the plates can rest, so you don’t have to pull from too low a position where you might involve your back too much. Depending on how large the plates are, you can block it up about 6 to 8 inches.

You’re talking about rack deadlifts. While I think they are great, I don’t see that they can be considered a substitute for squats.

Ok, you have talked me into it! I will give them another try.

To give you an idea of my proportions, I have a similar build to the kid in this video (although I am a tad shorter & heavier):

Do you have any tips on form when using box squats for sport, rather than for powerlifting?

Powerlifters seem to keep their shins perpendicular to the floor, whereas the kid in the video is letting his knees shoot forward. This allows him to stay more upright. Which style would you recomend I use?

It looks like a great exercise, but unfortunately my gym doesn’t have the equipment for it.

Yeah, I like regular deadlifts, but I feel like I am weak in my quads and already relatively strong in my lower back.

When I used to do squats, I could do RDL’s for reps with significantly more weight than my squat 1RM.

Since you’re using box squats as a max strength exercise, there is no reason, at least, initially, to mimic a powerlifter stance. Remember, not all powerlifters lift with really wide stances.

Read some articles by Dave Tate. He has some good ones on the box squat. Initially, squat light and a little high. Once you find your groove, slowly increase weight while maintaining proper form. Then drop the weight and lower the box. In fairly short order, you will find your groove.

Trap Bar DL is key- do it.

I agree that box squats are a really great lift. Don’t believe me? Go over to the westside barbell site, or their videos on youtube. They almost always train with boxes and those guys move some serious weight.

You said you were a tall football player-- like me. I have the exact same lower back issues, which i was always told it was just a hamstring tightness problem. My advice to you, stretch those hamstrings and squat on a box!

Dont just touch and go on the box, Sit completely down on the box and use a wide stance. Check out westside barbell, and they’ll teach you how to do them.

Yeah, I would prefer to start out with a high box and work my way down. Unfortunately though, my gym doesn’t have any suitable boxes, so I have to do them onto a low bench which is a few inches below paralell for me.

I did some last night with a pretty light weight and my glutes are pretty sore today.

could you please elaborate on that statement?

Did stretching your hamstrings actually fix the issue for you?

In my case, I feel that I can get into the correct position for squats, but due to my height / proportions there is more emphasis shifted towards the lower back than for someone with shorter femurs.

Point your toes out slightly more and widen your stance.This will allow you to sit back more and shift more to the hips away from the back. It won’t happen instantly…give it some time and stick with it.

In a trap bar deadlift your legs are going through about a 1/4 squat. Compare this to the ROM your back is going through…your entire back is going to much more of a limiting factor.

You’re giving conflicting advice. Telling him to sit far back and remain upright is a nice way to fall over backwards. What kind of squat allows you to remain the most upright? An olympic, which is the squat you sit back the least. What kind of squat do you lean most forward? An equipped powerlifting squat, which is the squat you sit back the most. The more they sit back / lean forward the more they get out of their gear.

The only reason the kid in the video seems upright is because he is rocking on the box. Take the box away from him, or take away his relaxing on the box and use of momentum, and he won’t be as upright.

This makes no sense.

A great lift for whom? Everyone? Or geared powerlifters, which is all of Westside.

Stretching the hamstrings is unlikely to correct any lower back issues. But it is likely to cause even greater issues.

From what I’ve read, it doesn’t seem like you have any lower back issue. The real issue seems you are afraid to lean forward while squatting. Just because you lean forward more than most while squatting, because of your proportions, doesn’t mean your lower back is at greater risk for injury nor does it mean your lower back is what’s limiting you in the exercise.

I just don’t understand all the negativity towards Westside? While I do agree that sprinters need to focus on sprinting, the fact remains that high level sprinters should AT LEAST handle 2x their body weight in the basic lifts, and with that said, I can’t think of a better system then Westside to teach youngsters how to handle heavy weight safely.

It’s safe because they use things like box squats which forces you to have good technique and trap bar dead lifts which are not as demanding as regular deadlifts and much safer for tall long limed athletes. It’s also safe because they frequently rotate basic lifts which allows you to avoid boredom and over use injuries of the same muscle groups.

There are many sub 10 people who didn’t squat 2x bodyweight. Westside may be okay, but any form of progressive overload will teach someone how to handle plenty of weight for anything that isn’t powerlifting or weightlifting.

It’s safe because they use things like box squats which forces you to have good technique and trap bar dead lifts which are not as demanding as regular deadlifts and much safer for tall long limed athletes. It’s also safe because they frequently rotate basic lifts which allows you to avoid boredom and over use injuries of the same muscle groups.

Box squats are only safe if done correctly, just like any other lift. Plenty of people do a terrible job dropping down and bouncing off of boxes, just as plenty of people that abort many other lifts. Rotating lifts isn’t necessarily good for a sprinter and most people think you shouldn’t…

Me personally I only use the leg press for unilateral hypertrophy work. Regardless, I don’t like to use it for much else because the the way the machine is built it does most of the work for you which is why Body builders can stack the weight full AND have their friends stand on it and do that for reps/sets!


Make no mistake. Ronnie Coleman, despite his hilarious weight room antics, is incredibly strong. My estimate based on the angle of the leg press in that video, is that there is about 1200lbs of force required to keep that that weight moving. Obviously this amount cannot be compared to other lifts, but it is a lot.

Yeah I noticed the rocking, but the fact that he allows his knees to travel forward also allowed him to stay more upright than if his shins were kept perpendicular to the floor.

That’s why I posted the video. I wanted to know if I should allow my knees to move forward when doing box squats.


I’m not a sprinter, but I don’t like the idea of rotating lifts. Changing lifts regularly would cause soreness which would affect my skills training / running etc.