A simple but super effective way to improve your squat!
Taking your regular squat set up, squat down until you’re just below parallel (powerlifting depth) or until your glutes and hamstrings touch your calves (weightlifting depth). From there, pause anywhere from 1-7 seconds and then forcefully push the floor down and stand up as aggressively as possible.
*Holding this position longer won’t necessarily have more benefits except making this exercise tougher. As long as the momentum is removed, the pause squat will be effective!*
You MUST remember to remain braced as you sink down, and continue to hold your breath in the bottom position to help keep you tight!
– Develops drive out of the bottom position referred to as the “hole”. By removing the bounce (stretch reflex) your legs have to work extra hard to generate force and allow you to stand up. This increased time under tension allows for greater muscle fibre recruitment which over time will make you stronger!
– Drills technique! As well as the obvious queues like keeping your chest high and your knees out, by descending under control and remaining tight at the bottom, you have to ensure you keep the weight evenly distributed on your feet and keep the bar over your center of gravity.
– In weightlifting, it improves your ability to stand up from a heavy clean that would normally bury you.
– Helps with confidence issues. How many times have you seen someone squat fine with a light weight but attempting a slightly heavier weight they struggle to make depth… At just above parallel they decide they can’t go any lower? Holding depth in the paused squat and being able to stand up again is going to help you get mentally stronger being uncomfortable!
– Can assist with other sports that require explosive starts from a dead stop. Think of sprinting from blocks, pushing in a scrum or waiting to jump in volleyball. All of these positions will be enhanced if your ability to generate power has increased
Use 3-5 sets of 3-5 reps of 1-7 seconds with 50-80% of 1RM when working with paused squats.