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This is an excerpt from Exercise Technique Manual for Resistance Training-3rd Edition With Online Video by NSCA -National Strength & Conditioning Association.

The box used for this exercise should have a top surface area that allows the lifter’s whole foot (shoe) to fit with extra space behind the heel and ahead of the toe. The box should be 12 to 18 inches (30 to 46 cm) high, or high enough to create a 90-degree angle at the knee and hip joints when the lead foot is on the box. Also, the box should be placed on a nonslip floor and have a nonslip top surface. Note: To allow an optimal view of the exercise technique, a power or squat rack is not shown.


Starting Position: Lifter

  • With the bar positioned at approximately armpit height on the outside of a power or squat rack, move toward the bar and position the base of the neck (or upper midback) and the hips and feet directly under the bar.
  • Place the bar evenly above the posterior deltoids at the base of the neck (as seen in the high bar position in the back squat exercise).
  • Grasp the bar evenly with a closed and pronated grip, slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • Raise the elbows to create a shelf with the upper back and shoulder muscles for the bar to rest on (a high elbow position also allows the arms to maintain pressure on the bar to prevent it from sliding down the back).
  • Signal the spotter for assistance and then extend the hips and knees to lift the bar off the supporting pins or ledge. Move to a spot near the front of the box.
  • Place the feet hip-width apart with the toes pointed ahead.
  • All repetitions begin from this position.


Starting Position: Spotter

  • Stand erect and close behind the lifter (but not so close as to be a distraction).
  • Place the feet shoulder-width apart with the knees slightly flexed.
  • At the lifter’s signal, assist with lifting and balancing the bar as it is moved out of the rack.
  • Move in unison with the lifter as the lifter moves to the starting position.
  • After the lifter is in position, assume a hip-width stance with the knees slightly flexed and the torso erect.
  • Position the hands near the lifter’s hips, waist, or torso.


Upward Movement: Lifter

  • Begin the exercise by stepping up with one leg (the lead leg). The initial contact of the lead foot with the top of the box must be made by the entire foot; do not allow the heel to hang off the edge of the box.
  • Keep the torso erect; do not lean forward.
  • Keep the trailing foot in the starting position, but shift the body’s weight to the lead leg.
  • Forcefully extend the lead hip and knee to move the body up and on top of the box; do not push off or hop up with the trailing leg or foot.
  • As the hip and knee of the lead leg fully extend to a standing position on top of the box, bring the trailing foot up and place it next to the lead foot.
  • At the highest position, stand erect and pause before beginning the downward movement.


Starting positions
Starting positions


Initial contact of lead foot with top of box
Initial contact of lead foot with top of box

Additional content for this exercise available in Exercise Technique Manual for Resistance Training-3rd Edition With Online Video.