pause squats

has anyone every tried pause squats? i.e. you pause for 5 seconds at the bottom of the squat, and then explode up. if so what was your experience?

I have done similar but we call it a start squat and we don’t pause for that long. It’s helpful because you don’t bounce at the bottom and use that momentum on the way up. I found that it bothered my lower back.

It probably bothered your lower back because your lower back is starting to round in the bottom position. Make sure you have the necessary flexibility, mentally maintain the contraction in your legs, and pause squats will help you with the bottom range of motion (and corresponding muscle groups).


Breaks the stretch reflex.

To reduce injury risk try performing them off pins in a power rack (concentric action first)

Develops starting strength and contractile strength (reduces tendon (elastic) contribution).

NB. Muscles contract at different lengths when the SSC is removed therefore crossover to the traditional exercise may be less than optimal.

great points David W…any cues when getting under the bar (for safety)? Great stuff but many will start trying this stuff the next day without the details of what should be done!

I’ve gotten very little from pin squats in the squat. However, these did help improve my deadlift.

There are a few things you need to look out for with pin squats

  1. Starting position: It’s hard to get into a deep squat under the bar. I’ve seen more than one person turn this into a round back good morning/squat combination. To combat this, I’ve heard guys who will unrack the bar, squat it down to the pins, rest there a bit, then squat it up. This does put you in a better position.

  2. Jarring: Putting the bar down on the pin always seems to jar me a bit. Sometimes this isn’t a big deal. Sometimes it feels bad.

Don’t need to worry about spotters. You can always do a regular squat with the weight you can do with a bottom start squat.

Wouldn’t the latter be more dangerous as you are beginning the exercise without ‘prestretch?’

I have used version 1 (unrack and rest) from time to time.
In my case it hilighted a lack of use of the SSC. ie my unrack/rest was very close to my regular squat weight. From that I specifically worked and focussed on improving my SSC.

I would agree with David about the “static dynamics” as Mel Siff described them. I’ve used them quite a bit with all my college and pro FB players. The ones who struggle with their depth/form tend to benefit the most.

Typically, I put the bar pads that the girls use when their squatting and put them on the pins to reduce the klanking (yes, i’m a Texan) that irritates everyone within earshot. We complete however many full reps and rack it at the top. We don’t ever leave them at the bottom unless someone gave out. Of course, that’s what pins are for… ;o)

I usually set the pins 1 or 2 holes below their parallel depth depending on how much weight was being used. Starting strength really increases when we use this exercise (in conjunction with other ballistic exercises, of course). Gotta run to the gym…

Yes, makes it much more difficult. I suppose this takes away any cheating or even using any elastic energy within the muscle.

i believe Boldon does the hold squat and for about 5 sec i think.

In light of the crossover to traditional exercises issue, do you have a limit in mind on the use, either by phase duration or percentage of reps within the total lift numbers?