Box Deadlift: Learn How to Perform This Exercise Properly

Box deadlifts are one of the most popular exercises for athletes and lifters looking to increase their strength and power. Many people have heard of the box deadlift, but not everyone understands what it is and how to do it. If you’re looking for an overview of box deadlifts, the benefits of including them in your workout, the common mistakes to avoid, and which muscles the exercise works, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll also go over how to increase the weight on your box deadlifts, what kind of variations you can do with the exercise, and how to adjust your diet to support your box deadlift goals. Press on to learn all about box deadlifts!

Table of Contents

What is a Box Deadlift?

A box deadlift, sometimes referred to as a box squat, is an advanced form of basic deadlifting that relies on an elevated platform or box to help lifters ensure proper form and technique during their exercises. In this exercise, lifters typically stand in front of a box which is typically set between a few inches and a few feet off the ground, with the height based on the user’s level of experience and exercise needs.

Benefits of Performing the Exercise

The box deadlift is a great exercise to add to any weight lifting routine. Not only does it help maximize the effectiveness of a traditional deadlift, but it also improves posture and form. With an elevated platform to stand on as you perform the exercise, you can ensure that you are lifting the bar with proper form and technique every time. This can make lifting easier on your body, decreasing your risk of injury and improving your results. Additionally, box deadlifts can help increase the amount of weight you can lift and make other deadlift variations easier to perform.

How to Execute the Exercise Properly

When performing the box deadlift, correct positioning of your feet, the proper gripping of the bar, and proper lifting and lowering techniques are all important.

Positioning of Feet

To begin, you should set your feet shoulder-width apart and make sure your toes are slightly pointed outward. Once you’re in this stance, position the box directly in front of you and adjust the height to match your experience level and exercise needs.

Grasping the Bar

When you are ready, approach the bar and grasp it with an overhand grip, keeping your arms slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and slightly tuck your chin in.

Lifting the Bar

To lift the bar, bend your knees slightly and thrust your hips forward while simultaneously pulling the bar upwards. As you do this, focus on maintaining your position with your feet and hands and engage your core at all times.

Lowering the Bar

It’s important to lower the bar in the same manner you lifted it, with your hips still thrusting forward and keeping your core engaged. When the bar is at the same height as your knees, push your hips back and then lower the bar to the ground.

Example: Jim’s Story

An excellent example of a lifter effectively using the box deadlift is Jim. Jim hadn’t been strength training for long when he came across the box deadlift. He was amazed by the sheer amount of weight he was able to lift just from using this technique, and it quickly became one of his favorite exercises.

How Jim Learned the Box Deadlift

Jim learned how to perform the box deadlift from watching instructional videos online and practicing with lighter weights. From there, he continued to practice and increase the weight as he felt more comfortable with the form and technique.

Jim’s Experience with Box Deadlift

Jim found that he was able to lift more weight than ever before with far better form than with his traditional deadlift. He also found that he was able to perform other deadlift variations easier and quicker, thanks to the box deadlift being a great way to build up his technique and strength.

Tips for Beginners

If you are just starting out with box deadlifts, there are a few tips and strategies you can use to make sure you are performing the exercise safely and getting the most out of your workout.

Proper Form

Focus on maintaining proper form throughout the entire exercise. Ensure that your feet are correctly placed and that you maintain proper grip and technique when lifting and lowering the bar. Always be mindful of your form and don’t attempt to lift more than you can handle.

Building Up Strength

It’s important to note that box deadlifts require quite a bit of strength, so it’s best to approach them gradually. Start by using lighter weights and practicing the form until you feel more comfortable. From there, you can start adding weight as you build up strength.

Adjusting the Height of Box

Depending on your level of experience and the weight you are lifting, it can be helpful to adjust the height of the box. Beginners should start with a low box and increase the height as they become more comfortable. Expert lifters can use higher boxes as they lift heavier weights.

box deadlift

Benefits of Doing Box Deadlifts

Few exercises target the muscles of your lower body like the box deadlift. Not only does it benefit your strength and power, but this exercise also helps to improve posture, mobility, flexibility, balance, and reduce the risk of injury. Let’s explore the specific benefits of box deadlifts and why you should be doing them.

Improve Posture

Box deadlifts are a great way to improve posture, as they help to strengthen the muscles that hold your body in proper alignment. This exercise requires you to keep your hips over your feet and your back straight with each rep. Doing box deadlifts regularly will help to train your body to maintain better posture.

Increased Strength

Box deadlifts are one of the most effective ways to increase strength and muscle size in the hamstrings, glutes, core, and lower body. When doing box deadlifts with lighter weight, you are increasing stability, balance, and flexibility. If you use heavier weights, you will experience greater muscle tension, leading to greater strength gains.

Improved Mobility

Box deadlifts are a compound exercise, meaning they work several parts of the body at once. Doing this move regularly can increase mobility, flexibility, and range-of-motion in the hips, thighs, and lower body. This can help to make everyday activities, such as walking, running, and balancing, easier to do.

Sharpen Mind-Muscle Connection

Using correct form while performing the box deadlift requires you to have both a physical and mental focus. You need to think about where to move your body and how much weight to lift. Doing box deadlifts regularly will help sharpen the mind-muscle connection, allowing you to execute the exercise with precision.

Improve Balance

When doing the box deadlift, you have to use your core muscles, glutes, and hamstrings to balance and stabilize your body as you lift the weight. This helps to increase balance and coordination, and allows you to do the exercise properly.

Reduce Injury Risk

Having proper form and control when doing box deadlifts helps to reduce the risk of injury compared to traditional deadlifts, where you often lift a lot more weight and do not maintain the same support for your lower body. Doing box deadlifts with lighter weight and proper form will help you stay injury free.

Woman Lifting a Dumbbell

Step-By-Step Guide on How to Do a Box Deadlift

This article is a step-by-step guide to the box deadlift exercise. As a strengthening exercise, the box deadlift is great for activating and building your glutes and core muscles. This guide will provide an in-depth explanation for each step in the exercise, as well as tips for good form and proper execution.

Step 1: Stand Up Straight and Ready

To begin the exercise, start by standing directly in front of the box with your feet hip-width apart. Make sure your feet are grounded and your body is in good posture. Your chest should be up, your shoulders back, and your head held high.

Step 2: Reach Down and Prepare to Step Back

Keeping your core tight, bend down and reach for the bar. Grip the bar just outside of your legs and tighten your shoulder blades. It’s very important to keep your core tight throughout the movement. This will help you maintain balance and control while deadlifting.

Step 3: Raise the Bar and Stand Up Tall

Engage your core and glutes and lift the bar off the ground. Keep a tight grip on the bar and keep your core engaged as you lift, making sure to keep your back straight and your shoulders back.

When the bar is above your knees, take a big step back with one foot. Shift your feet back and stand tall, arms extended and core engaged. Make sure to keep your posture straight and your chest up.

Step 4: Return to the Starting Position

Lower the bar back to the floor, keeping a smooth and controlled motion throughout the exercise. There should be a pause at the bottom of the movement before you begin the next repetition. This pause helps to ensure proper form, which is important to target the correct muscles and prevent injury.

Step 5: Repeat for Sets and Reps

Aim for 3-4 sets of 8-10 repetition. Make sure to pay extra attention to your form throughout each repetition. If you feel like your form is slipping, it’s best to reduce the weight and focus on perfecting your technique.

Tips and Variations to Change Things Up

To vary your routine, try using different width stances or using dumbbells instead of the bar. Remember, if done incorrectly you run the risk of getting injured. And when first starting out, stick with lighter weights and focus on perfecting your technique.

Box deadlifts are an excellent way to target and strengthen your glutes and core muscles. As long as you practice proper form and practice regularly, you can expect to see and feel the benefits of this exercise in no time.

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Common Mistakes When Doing Box Deadlifts

I’m a big believer in using proper form and technique when performing a strength exercise. Box deadlifts require extra attention to detail when lifting, as improper form can cause injury. Here are some common mistakes to avoid when doing box deadlifts.

Not Enough Warm-up/ Pre- Activation

I know that the heavy weights can be tempting, but proper warm-up and pre-activation are essential to getting the most out of your lifts and avoiding injury. Dynamic stretching before you start is the best way to warm-up and prime your body for the exercise. Additionally, performing basic lifts, like squats and rows, can help build your technique as well.

Too Heavy Loads

It’s important to start off light and gradually build up your strength. Trying to lift too much weight, too soon, can lead to form breakdown and create stress on your lower back muscles. That’s why it’s important to dial-in your technique and build your strength, before progressing to heavier lifts.

Not Using a Bench

Aside from providing a stable platform to lift off, using a bench also helps improve balance during the lift. Ensure that the bench is placed close enough to the box, so it’s easy for your feet to remain in contact with the box and maintain balance.

Placing Feet Too Far Out

If your feet are too far out when lifting, it will cause your knees to end up in front of the bar, leading to a potential injury. Keeping your feet close to the box will also help with your balance, so make sure you position your feet correctly.

Bad Form

It’s vitally important to keep your lower back straight while performing the lift. As tempting as it may be to arch your back and use momentum, it can put excess stress on your spine, and lead to a lower back injury. Additionally, you’ll want to ensure that your shoulder blades remain in contact with the bench while performing the lift.

Rushing the Exercise

I get it, there’s nothing worse than struggling with a lift, and being tempted to rush the movement. But when it comes to box deadlifts, you’ll want to ensure that you take your time and confirm that your form is correct. Rushing can lead to inefficiency and the potential risk of injury.

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Tips For Improving Form During Box Deadlifts

As you prepare to do box deadlifts, your form is essential for gaining the maximum benefit from the exercise. Proper form will maximize your progress and ensure you don’t suffer any unnecessary injuries.

Warm Up With Light Weights

It’s important to start with a light weight for a few warm up lifts to engage the right muscles and make sure you maintain the proper form throughout the exercise. This will also help avoid overworking your muscles and help get you ready to take on the next lift.

Brace Your Core

Before beginning the lift, make sure to brace your core muscles and push your rib cage down. This will help improve your form and ensure you are able to maintain the correct position throughout the lift.

Drive Through Your Hips

When you start standing up from the box, make sure you strongly push through your hips. It’s important to avoid any early arm extension to help you finish the lift correctly.

Use A Full Range Of Motion

To get the most benefit from the box deadlift, you should complete the full range of motion. The bar should go all the way down to the floor before arising. By completing this full range of motion, you are sure to get the most out of your exercises.

Increase Your Weight Gradually

Unless you feel it absolutely necessary, it is best to start light and gradually increase the weight. This will help avoid any unnecessary injuries and will help you steadily work your way up to heavier weights.

Stay Tight

For the duration of the exercise, it is important to stay tight and maintain the core engaged and the chest up. This form of safety will give you the best chance at improving your form and avoiding any accidents.

Move with Control

To ensure you are performing the lift correctly, focus on keeping the movement in a slow, controlled manner. This will help you stay on top of the proper running of the lift and complete the exercise with form and safety.

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Which Muscles Are Used in Box Deadlifts?

The box deadlift is an effective exercise that strengthens and tones the legs, glutes, hamstrings, trapezius, and biceps. Here we will explain how these muscles are used and the importance of proper form to ensure the desired results.


The quadriceps are used when you extend the legs to lift the weight off the box. Doing this correctly will ensure that you get the most benefit from the exercise and that you don’t injure your legs.


Your gluteus provide stability and power when you push the weight off the box. This also helps to ensure that you don’t injure your back when executing the deadlift. It’s important to ensure that your back is in proper alignment with the box.


The hamstrings are important for maintaining your balance as you lift the weight from the box. Make sure to keep your weight evenly distributed in order to get the most out of the exercise.


The trapezius muscles are also important for this exercise. When you lift the weight off the box, your upper body should not move up or down too much. Make sure to keep your trapezius activated, as this will help to keep you in the correct stance.


Finally, your biceps are used to help stabilize your arms while you are raising the weight. This can help to prevent injury and ensure that you don’t fatigue too quickly.

The Importance of Proper Form

Using the right muscles properly can lead to successful box deadlifts. It’s important to ensure that your back is in the proper alignment and that your legs, glutes, and trapezius are engaged. Keeping your weight evenly distributed and keeping your arms in the right position will help you to perform the exercise in the correct form.

Examples of Proper Form

When doing a box deadlift, it’s important to keep your feet hip-width apart and parallel to the box. Make sure that your weight is evenly distributed, and your back is in the proper alignment with the box. When you start to lift, it’s important to keep your arms straight and your head forward. As you lift the weight, make sure to keep your lower back straight and your legs bent. Once you have lifted the weight as high as you can, slowly lower it back down to the box.

It’s important to take your time and focus on form. Make sure to use the correct muscles and execute the exercise in the proper form. This can help to prevent injury and ensure that you are performing the exercise correctly.

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Safety Tips for Performing Box Deadlifts

Box deadlifts are a great addition to any weightlifting routine. They focus on strengthening the core muscles and challenging your lifting abilities. However, as with any exercise, there are some important safety tips to keep in mind to ensure you’re preventing potential injury. Here are some safety tips to consider when performing box deadlifts.

Warm up Prior to Exercise

One of the most important safety tips is to take the time to warm-up properly prior to exercising. This will help reduce stiffness, loosen up the muscles and joints, and help to reduce the risk of potential injury. Dynamic stretches like leg swings and arm rotate stretches are great examples to include in your warm-up routine.

Proper Form and Posture

Maintaining proper form and posture is crucial when performing any exercise, especially one such as the box deadlift. Sitting onto and lifting off the box with a straight spine and neutral posture will ensure optimal results and minimize your risk of injury. Keep your head and spine in a neutral position, with your feet flat on the ground and your chest up and open.

Engage Core Muscles

It’s important to engage your core muscles during each rep. Properly engaging your core muscles by bracing your abs and keeping your body in an upright position will help you keep your back in a safe position, protect your spine and lift the weight in a safe and effective manner.

Slow But Controlled Movement

The speed and control you use when performing a box deadlift is just as important as maintaining proper form and posture. Keeping controlled and steady throughout the movement will help you keep proper form and reduce the risk of potential injuries or strains.

Use Appropriate Weight

Using the appropriate weight is one of the most important safety tips for any weightlifting exercise. Be sure to choose a weight that’s challenging but not too heavy for your skill level. If you’re just starting out, you can begin with a lighter weight and gradually increase it over time. Doing this will allow you to build strength and reduce the risk of potentially causing an injury.

Listen to Your Body

Listening to your body and being aware of any discomfort or pain is key when lifting weights. Stopping or avoiding any type of pain or strain is the best way to stay safe and prevent injuries. If you start to feel any pain while performing the exercise, stop immediately and take the necessary steps to ensure your safety.

Monitor Your Progress

Monitoring your progress is another key point when performing box deadlifts. It’ll help you stay up to date on your fitness journey and will allow you to stay motivated. Tracking your workouts, setting goals, and measuring your progress are all great ways to keep you on the right track.

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When To Add More Weight To Your Box Deadlifts

When it comes to weightlifting, there’s a time and a place for everything. When it comes to box deadlifts, it’s time to start thinking about adding more weight when you are comfortable and ready to challenge yourself.

Gaining Strength

One of the key benefits to weightlifting is the ability to increase strength over time. To do this, you need to gradually push yourself to increase the weight when you are feeling ready and comfortable doing so. The most effective way to build strength when weightlifting is to start light and then increase the weight in small increments over time.


When starting out, you will want to ensure you select a weight that is an appropriate amount of challenge; it should be tough but not exhaust you. As you become comfortable with the weight, it’s time to start thinking about progressing. Make sure you are maintaining perfect form with the current weight before progressing. It’s important to remain patient, taking your time and ensuring your body is ready for more weight.

Adequate Challenge

When it comes to box deadlifts, it’s important to ensure you are providing enough of a challenge for yourself. You should strive for sets that fatigue your muscle groups without completely exhausting you. If you are looking for ways to make the box deadlift more challenging, try adding as little as five pounds. This can help to provide the adequate challenge while still allowing you to maintain perfect form.

Form & Technique

Possibly one of the most important factors of weightlifting is the form and technique in which it is performed. Even when increasing the weight, it’s important to still maintain perfect form throughout the exercise. If you are struggling to find your form, start with a lighter weight and work back up to your current weight. This can help you feel comfortable and ensure your safety and good form.


If you find yourself in a weightlifting—or form—plateau, then there are various strategies to help you progress. A great strategy to break the plateau is to increase the weight by a tiny amount; adding five pounds can be enough to shake things up. This can help to provide an adequate challenge and help you to progress.


I experienced this firsthand recently when I was weightlifting. I was finding myself in a plateau, and I was struggling to progress. Aware of the strategies, I tried adding five pounds to my box deadlifting, and I instantly felt the challenge. I was able to push myself further without it reducing my technique. Taking that small step felt like a big success, and I’m now on a path to finding my strength.

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Variations of Box Deadlifts

Box deadlifts are a great way to help you increase your power, muscle activation and improve your posture. There are two main types of box deadlifts: the barbell box deadlift, and the kettlebell box deadlift. Each type of box deadlift has its own unique benefits and uses, so it’s important to understand the differences between them.

The barbell box deadlift is an incredibly popular exercise that is often used to increase power and strength. It is performed by setting up a bench or box in front of the barbell. The lifter then picks up the barbell, maintaining a flat back, and sets it down onto the box. From here, the lifter stands up and then lowers the barbell back down to the floor.

The kettlebell box deadlift is a slightly different exercise that is used to target more of the muscles in the posterior chain. It is performed by placing a kettlebell on the ground and then standing up, keeping your chest and head up as you do so. The lifter then picks up the kettlebell with both hands and sets it down onto a box or bench. From here, the lifter stands up and performs the exercise.

By understanding the differences between the barbell box deadlift and the kettlebell box deadlift, you can better choose the exercise that is best suited for your goals and abilities. There are also several variations of box deadlifts that can be used to increase the difficulty or use different muscles. For example, the paused box deadlift is an incredibly challenging variation of the box deadlift that requires the lifter to pause in the bottom position and focus on proper form and stability. There is also the sumo box deadlift which is a variation of the Sumo deadlift that can be used to target different areas of the lower body.

When performing any type of box deadlift, it’s important to maintain proper form. Keep your chest and head up throughout the entire exercise and focus on using your hips and glutes to drive the weight up. Additionally, be sure to set the box at a height that allows you to complete the full range of motion.

When done correctly, box deadlifts provide numerous physical and performance benefits. They are particularly effective for increasing power, as the box helps build strength and explosiveness. Box deadlifts can also help to increase muscle activation, improve posture, and increase flexibility in the hips, glutes and hamstrings.

Box deadlifts can be useful for athletes of almost any skill level and can be used to target different muscle groups. However, it is important to note that box deadlifts can be dangerous if not done properly, so beginners should work with a qualified coach or trainer to learn how to perform the exercise correctly. Additionally, people with lower back problems may want to steer clear of this exercise, as it can place a lot of stress on the spine.

Overall, box deadlifts are a great way to build power and strength, as well as increase muscle activation and improve posture. There are plenty of variations that can be used to target different areas and make the exercise easier or more difficult depending on the individual. When done properly, the benefits of box deadlifts far outweigh the risks, making it an essential exercise for anyone looking to increase their strength and power.

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Nutrition Advice for Supporting Your Box Deadlift Goals

When pursuing your box deadlift goals, it’s important to consume the right foods at the right points throughout the day. Proper nutrition helps ensure muscles get the nutrients they need for performance and recovery.

Eating the Right Amount of Healthy Foods

My nutrition plan starts with focusing on eating the right type of foods in the right amounts. This will provide my muscles with the nutrients they need for growth and strength gains. I include lean meats, fish and legumes for my protein intake, and focus on complex carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables for sustained energy during workouts.


Staying hydrated is key to my success and, as a result, I ensure I drink plenty of water each day. I moisturized frequently during intense workouts to prevent dehydration and ensure I can perform at my best. Adequate hydration helps me stay injury-free and attain my box deadlift goals.

Supplement Intake

I’ve also incorporated several supplements into my routine to support my box deadlift goals. For example, if I am following a non-vegetarian diet, then I consume whey protein to help my muscles grow. I also supplement with creatine to help restore ATP stores in between sets, and include BCAAs for muscle recovery.

Timing of Meals

Timing of meals is essential to an effective nutrition plan. I make sure I eat meals before and after workouts, to keep my muscles fuelled and enable quick recovery. I try to eat within 30 minutes of finishing a workout, as this increases the rate of protein synthesis. Additionally, I have meals roughly 3-4 hours after a workout, to ensure my muscles get sustained fuel.

Adequate Sleep

Finally, I make sure I get enough sleep each night (7-8 hours). This helps me stay concentrated during workouts and prevents fatigue and soreness. Good sleep also impacts my performance in the gym, and has enabled me to make continual progress towards my box deadlift goals.

Black Kettle Bell Lot


The box deadlift is a great way to build strength, stability and explosiveness in your lower body. It can help you develop the endurance and power needed to excel in sports, as well as activities like carrying heavy boxes or doing other everyday tasks. Whether you are new to the box deadlift or you are an experienced lifter, following the steps and tips in this blog post can help you achieve your fitness goals safely and effectively. With practice and attention to form, you can maximize your training results and add more weight over time. Proper nutrition is also key for building strength and meeting your box deadlift goals. Ultimately, the box deadlift is an effective exercise that can help you reach new fitness levels while improving your overall well-being.

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