Look we know you don’t enjoy squats – particularly pushing out of the bottom. Most people mess up the squat at this point and it’s when we feel the most weak or uncomfortable.
So why are we suggesting all of a sudden that you should stay in the bottom of the squat longer?
Pausing at the bottom of a squat requires you to come to a full stop at the lowest part of the rep. As we mentioned earlier, it’s also the part where most guys are the weaker. So by spending more time at the bottom, you accomplish several things.
First, you strengthen that portion of the lift which helps deal with plateaus. Second, you get more comfortable when in that position which in turn improves your confidence.
Finally, you increase the time under tension which as we know is crucial for the hypertrophy process.
To perform one of these lower yourself slowly as you would in a normal squat and once you reach the bottom of the movement stay still for 1 to 3 seconds.
However, feel free to stay down there a bit longer if you want to challenge yourself. Now, just because you are pausing at the bottom doesn’t mean you can relax- you should make sure that your muscles are still working rather than shifting the pressure to your tendons and ligaments. Squeeze your hamstrings, quads, glutes, core etc.
If you find your lower back is sore after doing these it’s because you didn’t tense your muscles enough.
When you unrack the weight take a deep breath and fill yourself with air. Lock your lower back in place and maintain tension throughout the lower body. Squat down between your heels and pause for two seconds at the bottom of the lift, working your way up to 5 seconds over time. In terms of weight, stick to 60-70% of your 1 rep max for 5 to 6 reps of 3 to 6 sets.
This should give you plenty of room to experiment and figure out what rep and set combination yields the best results for you.