Tip: Anderson Squats – The Pros and Cons

Are bottom-up squats right for your goals? Find out here.

Anderson Squat

An Anderson squat is basically a squat where you start the lift from the bottom. Using the safety pins in a rack, every rep begins from a dead stop.

If your Anderson squat is significantly lower than your regular squat, you might have a problem using your hips to produce force in a squat. So by extension, doing the Anderson squat will be a huge part of the fix.

The Pros

It gets you a lot stronger out of the hole. Paused squats are okay for that purpose, but the Anderson squat is in a league of its own. It's especially effective for lifters who are more explosive than strong and tend to rely heavily on the stretch reflex instead of contractile strength to get out of the hole.

It develops the capacity to produce tension in the bottom position. Those with sub-par hip musculature will have a problem creating lots of tension in the bottom position. That decreases strength and stability while also making you more likely to lose your position when you reach the low part of a squat. This makes it hard to have a precise, repetitive technique, which can increase injury risk.

It improves hip mobility. Simply getting into the proper position without the weight "pushing you there" during the eccentric will do wonders to free-up your hips.

It has a very good transfer to the deadlift, especially if you're more explosive than you are strong. It's more specific to deadlifting because you have to create tension right from the bottom and can't use the stretch reflex, making you stronger off the floor in the deadlift.

You can do it with either a low or high-bar position depending on your preference and body type.

The Cons

It requires good hip and shoulder mobility to set up directly in the low position. It can force you to dramatically lower the weight, which can under-load the top of the range of motion.

Who It's Best For

It's rarely used as a primary squat variation, but it can be helpful for someone who's weak in the bottom position of a squat or has trouble with the first half of the deadlift.

Christian Thibaudeau specializes in building bodies that perform as well as they look. He is one of the most sought-after coaches by the world's top athletes and bodybuilders. Check out the Christian Thibaudeau Coaching Forum.