Pause Squats For Olympic Weightlifting

Pause squats are effective at building leg strength in the lowest range of motion, increasing rate of force development, strengthening the trunk and a more upright squat posture, and improving mobility. They’re a smart addition to almost any lifter’s training at least at some times.
That said, I often combine pause squats in a set with at least one normal tempo rep, especially with front squats, for a few simple reasons:
First, it allows the loading to be a little heavier while still benefitting from the pause.
Second, we still want to train the timing and neurological elements of bouncing out of the bottom, as well as condition the joints, to support the clean, which is one reason it’s more important to include normal tempo reps for the front squat than back squat.
And finally, while pause squats build basic trunk strength well, we also need to build the strength to stabilize during a more dynamic and potentially imperfect motion through the bottom. Again, this is even more true for the front squat, in which we need to be able to resist the force as we hit the bottom that’s trying to collapse the rack and trunk forward.
When you first introduce pause squats to your training, you’re likely going to have to use as much as 15-20% less weight than you would normally for a given number of reps, but with consistent training, that gap will close significantly. Make sure to pause at least 2 seconds to get the maximal benefit.
Try including pauses in one of your squat days for at least a few weeks to see how it helps.

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