Here is some commentary from Sean Waxman, a successful coach from Southern California. My comments are in blue.
Olympic lifting bashers will proclaim the Clean and Snatch dangerous but have no problem with a box squat! Explain to me how sitting on a box while compressing ones spine from both ends and relaxing the hip-flexors is perfectly safe while... the Olympic lifts are dangerous? I'm not sure I understand this line of reasoning. While I agree with Sean and personally do not use the Box Squat (I don't like the feeling my spine gets between a heavy weight and an immovable object) I suppose it can be executed safely with proper equipment, coaching, and technique. Greg Shepard, founder of Bigger, Faster, Stronger (BFS) teaches it as a very controlled exercise to be done with weights not in excess of about 100 lb.(45 kg) or so above the athletes best full squat. However in reality, I seldom see them performed in this manner. In many weight rooms the box squat is an excuse for wannabe squatters to load way in excess of what they can squat and bounce up for reps.Again I think of Meg Ritchie's quote "There are no dangerous lifts, just dangerous coaches"
How Can Anybody Say This Is Safer Than A Power Clean!
While I agree, this is most certainly dangerous...
It is most certainly NOT OLYMPIC WEIGHTLIFTING!
The fact is, Olympic Weightlifting is the safest form of resistance training (Hamill, B. Relative Safety of Weightlifting and Weight Training. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 8(1):53-57. 1994). Coaches who proclaim otherwise DO NOT KNOW HOW TO COACH THE LIFTS PROPERLY. I cannot agree more. The lifts are not dangerous when performed properly. But what passes for the lifts in most weightrooms is certainly an injury waiting to happen.
I see very few coaches who take the time to teach first. They are usually too much in a hurry to load up the bar. "We don't have time to teach technique, we need to get strong!!" It's like being to busy chopping to sharpen the axe.As much as we like to pretend to be civilized, we're all still members of tribal units. We still divide the world up into "us" and "them." "They" want to come here and steal "our" cattle, take "our" land, and enslave "our" people. Everyone does it. We're still just as tribal as our pre-historic ancestors were. Only now we have instituted laws so that we don't take up clubs and bash each other's brains in. Really? I guess I better put my club away then. lolCoaches who are part of the "Westside/Powerlifting" tribe will always extoll the value and saftey of the Box Squat and other training means over the Snatch and Clean for athletic development. Anyone who has watched the documentary Bigger, Stronger, Faster knows that the Westside lifters are powered by more than just "conjugate training" methods. Applying this type of training to drug tested athletes in other more athletic sports is pretty iffy. While coaches who are members of the "Olympic Lifting" tribe will zealously defend the Olympic lifts as the best and safest method for athletic development.
Tribal warfare changes when one tribe develops better weaponry then the other. Olympic Weightlifting has the ultimate weapon...Its called SCIENCE! The trouble here in the U.S.A. is that much of what passes for science in the area of resistance training is garbage. University PE classes working out for 12-14 weeks does not shed much light on heavy training by high level athletes. Having said that, I agree with Sean that Weightlifting, correctly implemented, is backed up by plenty of evidence, empirical and otherwise.So the next time somebody wants to argue Olympic Weightlifting is not safe, tell them that they shouldn't bring a club to a gun fight!