West had an article about box squats. First it was called power rack box squats. After Bill had gotten hurt walking out 900 pounds and found himself in the hospital, he came up with the wide rack front to back idea. Back then, most racks were only 12-inch inside to inside. The back for safety with the pins he could train alone without a spotter. He would use two box heights—18-inch and 12-inch.
He would sit on the box in a somewhat bent over position. He would lift the bar off the pin after fully sitting on the box by rolling back to relax and contracting the glutes and hips and then standing up. Next came the assistant box squat:
An assistant would help with the largest weight by getting in position and “bear hugging” the lifter to help him stand up for the first rep. Then, all of the other reps were unassisted.
At 180 bodyweight the author walked out 800 and did a box squat on a 17-inch box, then lowered the bar to the safety pins. After box squatting for 12 weeks, I made a 450-pound squat and in six months I did my first 500-pound squat. In 1978, after getting a 565-pound squat at 172 bodyweight , a 630-pound squat was done in a meet as well as pushing a deadlift up from 525 pounds to 630 pounds to cap off a 1655 total at 180 bodyweight. I had finally moved past that 410-pound squat.
Those were the days of no gear at all with a weightlifting belt and a two-hour weigh-in. Back then the author used four boxes in one workout. Working up to a single on first a 17-inch then a 15–inch box along with two sets of 10 reps on a 10-inch box.
We would add weight each week working up to a meet using the gradual overload system. West and Frenn were far ahead of their time in not only the squat training, but also in the deadlift.
Bill Starr, a very good weight and powerlifter wrote an article entitled something like “Raising your deadlift without deadlifting.” It was right out of the Culver City, Westside system.
High pulls, snatch and clean grips were used. Goodmornings, back extensions were executed by Joe DiMarco. Standing on a two-inch or four-inch box were some of the special exercises used along with calf work, side bends and lots of lat work.