Move of the Week: Pause Back Squat

Today, we are going to introduce the first installment of a continuous series here on the Halevy Life blog. In these posts, we’ll discuss one of the many exercises that we utilize with our club members and why we do so. Here’s the first installment! 

THE MOVE: Pause Back Squat

MOVEMENT PATTERN AND MUSCLES WORKED: Squat pattern; quads, glutes, hamstrings, upper back.

WHY DO IT: The squat is often seen as the king of all exercise. I tend to stay away from absolutes, but it is not hard to see why. The squat definitely works the muscles of the legs, but it is in fact a full body exercise that requires movement, strength and coordination across multiple joints. In addition to the legs, it requires proper core and upper back stabilization in order to maintain the structural integrity of the torso throughout the exercise, especially with a loaded barbell racked across your shoulders.

The pause back squat shown here is an excellent variation that keeps people honest. This pause increases your time under tension, and adds a degree of difficulty to the exercise by eliminating the stretch reflex that allows you to “bounce” out of the bottom of the rep. By eliminating the momentum of the stretch reflex, the pause helps you build better starting strength out of the bottom.

HOW TO DO IT: We are looking to build pure strength here, so 3-5 sets of 4-6 reps would suffice for this exercise. Not to mention, doing any more with the pause would be torturous!

As in a normal back squat, set the bar across your upper back and pull the bar into your body to set your torso tight. Walk the bar out, set your feet, and brace your core. Spread the floor as you descend as low as your mobility and stability will allow, and hold that bottom position for a 2-second count. Finish the rep by driving up through the heels and fully lock out the hips at the very top. Enjoy, and let us know what you think!

by Jeremy Lau

Jeremy Lau

Jeremy Lau Halevy Life Staff CoachJeremy Lau is a Staff Coach at Halevy Life.

Jeremy graduated cum laude from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a BSc. in Biomedical Engineering and is currently pursuing his M.Ed. in Exercise Physiology at Columbia University. In addition to his academic accolades, Jeremy is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS).

Prior to joining the team at Halevy Life, Jeremy completed a coaching internship at Cressey Sports Performance, where he coached both amateur and professional athletes, among whom were many professional MLB baseball players.

As an athlete, Jeremy has played baseball competitively for most of his life.