Tempo Squats

Manwell with the 10 second pause at the bottom.

It’s no secret that we incorporate either back or front squats for strength every week. Whether the rep scheme calls for 7’s, 5’s, across, or ascending sets we all agree that these are a foundation in our programming. For this post, I wanted to add another dimension to your squatting repertoire. Tempo Squats!

If you’ve been consistently making it to our weekly squat sessions and want to mix things up a bit, give some tempo squats a try! There are a ton of variations, in terms of tempo, that you can use! Let’s take a look at 4-4-4 scheme. This would mean you would descend for 4 seconds, hold the bottom position for 4 seconds, and rise for 4 seconds. Another example we can look at is 3-2-1. In this case you would descend for 3 seconds, hold the bottom position for 2, and rise for 1 second. The variations are essentially limitless! Now, why would we even do those?!

4-4-4. I like to use this scheme to really build awareness in my squat. It’s a great way to break down your mechanics and find places throughout the range of motion where you can improve upon. For beginners, this is a great tool as well! 12 seconds for 1 rep means more time for our body and brain to really “learn” and “feel” the movement. Be cautious about losing tension at the bottom here though. Those of you who have a legit bottom position and where mobility isn’t a problem, you may be tempted to just “sit” down there. In fact, in doing so there is more risk of injury since we have load on our backs and our midline isn’t active. So just remember, maintain tension even while holding the bottom position of the squat.

3-0-1. Ever feel like you’re moving in slow motion out of the bottom of a squat? Or maybe you feel slow coming out of the hole in a clean or snatch. Sometimes when all we do are 5×3’s or 4×7’s or even 5×5’s the body gets too accustomed to moving slow. Heavy weight doesn’t move fast, simple! This is why I like the 0 second hold at the bottom and 1 second rise scheme. Essentially, we are teaching our bodies to be explosive! This is similar to catching a clean or snatch at the bottom and exploding out of the hole as fast as possible. Keep in mind here that if the weight is too heavy for you to rise in 1 second or less, then it’s too heavy. The goal here is to teach the body to become explosive!

Those are just a couple variances to tempo squats, all of which help build your overall strength! If you’re interested in trying them out, you’re more than welcome to give them a go during your next squat session. Feel free to ask one of your coaches on what time domain would work best with your goals.

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