Question: “What do you think of pause squats? I’ve heard that they force proper form, strengthen weak positions, and increase explosiveness.”

Answer: “I’m not against pause squats, but I don’t recommend them either.

Force proper form? They tend to produce more depth, because the lifter sinks down a little while they pause. But depth and form are two very different things. There is no reason a person who has bad squat form would have better form in a pause squat.

Strengthen weak positions? Yeah, sure. That’s pretty much what any kind of squat does. That’s basically what all strength training is about. Put yourself in a weak position, so you have to generate a lot of tension to get out of it.

Increase explosiveness? Pause squats achieve the same thing box squats do but to a lesser extent. Both techniques make the ascent more difficult. Hopefully you use 100% effort in any type of squat, but let’s say making it more difficult forces you to put in more effort. More effort = more explosiveness. Box squats achieve this better than pause squats, because tension drops down to almost nothing when you sit on the box, whereas pause squats still require a lot of isometric tension at the bottom. But the explosiveness discussion is worthless anyway, because you can’t develop explosiveness for jumping by doing squats. Does a box squat or pause squat train explosiveness a little bit more than a regular squat? Maybe. But it doesn’t matter, because they’re all slow and long anyway.

I think the more accurate reason to do pause squats or any other intentionally slow lifting tempo is just to increase time under tension. The idea is to create some fatigue and stimulate some hypertrophy. Give the muscles a buffer of structural strength and ATP replenishing ability before really going after neural strength with heavy reps. Of course the same thing can be achieved by simply doing high volume.

There is certainly nothing wrong with pause lifts. Feel free to try them and see what you think.”