Tip: Speed Squats and Pause Squats

Boost your squat numbers by learning to impart maximal velocity to the bar. Here are two ways to do it.

Speed Squats

Speed squats – also called compensatory acceleration squats – will ingrain your technique, build your work capacity, and give you practice imparting maximal velocity to the bar. Your speed squats will be performed after your heaviest set of squats and done on controlled rest periods to improve your general fitness.

It's imperative that you always try to move the bar as fast as possible during these sets – I try to do the whole set in one breath. Take a huge breath into your belly before beginning the initial descent and hold it throughout the set.

Think about trying to perform 1 rep per second, so aim to perform a set of 4 reps in 4 seconds or under. These sets are also the best time to perfect your technique, so while speed is critical, speed with optimal technique is even more important.

One of the most common errors made by people when squatting maximal loads is lowering the bar too slowly or slower than you would during lighter sets; use these sets to become more comfortable without a quick descent.

Pause Squats

Right out of the hole is the most common place that raw lifters miss squats. To train the explosive strength qualities needed to improve this area of your squat, pause squats are a simple (but not easy) answer.

We'll do pause squats with 7, 5 and 3-second pauses in the bottom position. These long pauses will teach you to "turn it on" coming out of the hole, while building strength in the hips and back.

Paused work will also teach your body to find its strongest position and improve your ability to replicate this position during regular squatting.