Monthly Archives: June 2014

How to Improve Your Squat: Paused Squats and Pin Squats

Technique in the squat is critical, so you will want to practice squatting frequently. Look to improve your form on the squat before you look to fix a particular weakness. What many people consider to be a muscular weakness is often an imperfection in their technique.

With that said, most raw lifters are still going to be weakest right out of the hole. Here are two exercises to help improve strength out of the hole.

Pin Squats

When doing pin squats, place the safety pins so that when you are just above parallel in the squat, the barbell is resting on them. Squat down to the safety pins, let the weight come to a complete stop, then squat it. The stretch reflex will be greatly diminished, removing the rebound out of the hole. I prefer beginning this movement from the top position just like you would a competition squat. It will feel more natural, and have more transference. The problem with starting this exercise from the bottom position is lifters often don’t start in their natural bottom position, thus diminishing the effectiveness of the exercise.

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Emotional State of Lifting

Emotional State of Lifting

Often people ask me why I look so calm going before I do a max lift. It is important to understand how your psychology will play an important role in the gym. Here are 3 reasons why I like to stay calm:

1) I like to think about what I have to do during each lift. I have a mental checklist I perform before I go into a lift. If I’m busy yelling, getting slapped in the face, or snorting ammonia, I get distracted from what I have to do. My focus shifts from the lift, to psyching myself up for the lift. This increases the likelihood you’ll experience a breakdown in form and miss the lift.

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