Pause Back Squat
AKA Stop Squat
The pause back squat can be used to improve postural strength and acceleration.
Perform a normal back squat descent but stop and hold in the bottom. Let the legs relax as much as possible while continuing to brace the trunk forcefully—there should be no change in the trunk position or back extension.
After a minimum of 2-3 seconds to eliminate any stretch reflex, drive aggressively up directly from the pause position—that is, don’t sneak in a small bounce or rocking motion for assistance. Accelerate maximally all the way back up to standing.
You can release a small amount of air during the pause if needed, and again as you recover, but maintain forceful bracing of the trunk.
A pause of 2-3 seconds is adequate to eliminate the stretch-shortening reflex entirely. Longer holds can be done for additional posture strength work (i.e. trunk strength), but will not increase the effect on rate of force development.
The pause back squat can serve a few purposes. First, it helps train rate of force development in the squat by eliminating the stretch-shortening reflex that normally occurs and helps the muscles generate more force and momentum to recover through the sticking point of the squat. It will also improve trunk strength and postural strength, improve flexibility and comfort in the bottom of the squat, and help correct improper movement in the squat such as leading with the hips.
Pause back squats can be programmed in the same way as back squats, although usually reps above 5 are not recommended. Most common are sets of 2-3 reps. Pauses can be used for the first 1-3 reps of higher-rep sets as well.