Box Squat and Piriformis Mumbo Jumbo
Written on October 29, 2008 at 9:00 am, by Eric Cressey
Q: A lot of strength coaches and athletes (myself included) utilize variations of the box squat. I’ve heard other strength coaches (one in particular) indicate that it does not fully stimulate/activate the piriformis.
What are your thoughts on the issue of the box vs. free squat in terms of advantages and disadvantages? I currently utilize both variations however it would be nice to be able to articulate to an individual the pros/cons.
A: I don’t buy it. For one, the piriformis is a tiny muscle that is typically very overused. I wish we could get more people to calm it down and used their glutes for the majority of the work!
Second, box squats are one tool in your toolbox; we use them in addition to a lot of other lower extremity exercises. In fact, they’re an integral part of the Maximum Strength program. Nobody ever criticized chin-ups because they don’t target the gastrocnemius – but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t useful for what they’re intended.
Additionally, I haven’t seen any EMG studies to show the piriformis argument is legit.