What Are The Benefits? Why Not Box Squats?
Alec Enkiri | 6/13/22
I've been experimenting with a variety of these lately. But what is the benefit of this? And why not just do a box squat?
Firstly, where raw squatting is concerned a box squat fundamentally alters the movement pattern. You simply cannot sit down onto a box in the same way that you sit down into a free squat. However, the mechanics of squatting down onto the pins are exactly the same as the mechanics of squatting down free. Because of this specificity aspect some people may find better transfer from pin variations into free variations.
The pins also break up the eccentric and the concentric phases, remove most of the stretch reflex, and force you to learn how to explode from a dead stop position. They also accomplish this while completely deloading you from the weight. In a box squat you are still under load at the bottom of the movement. In a pin squat you are not.
This means that in order to be successful your body must learn how to brace maximally and instantaneously. If not, then any explosive drive through the legs will be for naught as the force will fail to be transferred through the torso and upper body. Positioning will most likely also be lost as well. Imo, this tool is probably one of the best out there for ingraining proper drive out of the hole of a free squat. A lot of people struggle with their hips popping up and the pins really force you to counteract that.
Lastly, since the weight is deloaded off of you at the very bottom of the movement there is far less stress on the hips and knees in that deep squat position that can be uncomfortable for some people. There is also no stretch reflex coming out of the bottom. Together these aspects make the pin movements a bit easier on the joints even while still going heavy. For older folks or people who are a bit more banged up this may be a good option for helping them get in quality heavy work without discomfort. It can also be used as a way of increasing total training volume with less of a whammy effect on the hips & knees.
Happy pin squatting, guys!