Are squats wearing you out and affecting your ability to practice?
A couple months ago I was feeling the same way you may be.
Heavy squats were taking their toll and affecting my ability to practice and get better.
But rather that drop them from my program, I just used some of the principles I covered in my post Getting Stronger Without Gaining Weight.
And here’s what I came up with:
…That’s my buddy and gym member, Kyle Kappler, at the end. He can’t resist an opportunity to make inappropriate noises or comments.
Benefits of Pause Squatting
1. I’m able to work a full range of motion on each rep.
As a result I’m able to build strength across a full range of motion. In wrestling there are many times in a match when you reach very disadvantageous joint angles.
For instance, when you’re in on a deep shot and your opponent sprawls…
Or when you’re trying to get off the bottom…
Take note of the joint angles in the hip, knee, and ankle and compare them to the bottom of a Pause Squat.
See what I mean?
Anyway, training your body to produce force in this range of motion will optimally prepare your legs to fire on all cylinders when you’re jammed up in situations like the ones above.
Additionally, by training in this full range of motion, you get regular feedback on how your mobility.
If you’re able to hit a full range of motion squat like this it tells me that your ankles, knees, and hips are all very flexible/mobile.
On top of that it also shows that your balance and stability in such a compromising position is sufficient.
Having a system of being able to measure the progress of your training is crucial.
If you’re winning matches guess what? You’re practicing appropriately and putting in quality work.
If you’re squatting this low without issues guess what? You have a pretty flexible lower body and should just focus on maintaining your flexibility. This may free up time that you were using to stretch for other things- studying tape, visualization, etc.
2. The weight is kept in check.
Being a former powerlifter I know the feeling of having 600+ pounds on your back and the satisfaction it can give you.
However, you’re not a powerlifter.
You’re a wrestler.
So while increasing your squat is important, having a lot of weight on your back on a regular basis may end up wearing you out. If that’s the case, using both a full range of motion and a pause are two effective ways to take some pounds off the bar.
Don’t get me wrong, you can still work up to strenuous sets.
The total load on your body will just be less.
By decreasing total load on your body, you’re also decreasing the total amount of stress on your body.
A decrease in total stress may lead to an increase in energy.
Increased energy = better practices = better level of preparedness = better performances on the mat.
3. Static to dynamic contraction.
This was one of the things that first attracted me to Box Squats.
In wrestling there are tons of static (no motion) to dynamic (motion) situations. The 3 most common I usually reference are:
1. Getting off the bottom.
2. Overcoming a stalemate situation when you’re in on a shot and your opponent sprawls.
3. Overcoming someone you’ve sprawled on in order to score a go behind.
Obviously these 3 situations can be a make or break moment in a close match.
So training your muscles to produce maximal force from a static/stalemate situation is going to have you better prepared to win these mini-battles in a match.
By the way, another way to incorporate the static to dynamic methodology is with Anderson Squats.
Based on my experience, I definitely think Pause Squats will be a welcome addition to your program.
So try them out and let me know how it goes. If you have any questions on how to work them in, how to develop the flexibility to get that low, etc. leave me a comment below.