Squat Variations For Increased Performance

The old saying by powerlifters is: if you want to squat more then you have to squat more.  No this doesn’t mean get on the Smolov program right away, but adding different squat variations are guaranteed to help.  I’m a very big advocate of training weak points, and using a lot of accessory work to do so.  The squat is a lift I have struggled with for a very long time, and simply just squatting every week wasn’t helping me very much.  When I began powerlifting, my first few meets were only push/pull, so I was able to avoid squatting, but I knew this would only hurt me in the long run.  When I signed up for my first full power meet I knew I had to get my ass in gear, and put some serious weight on my back.  My plan was simple: I would hit heavy doubles and triples each week, progressively adding weight.  For all of my training days I have a compound exercise that is my priority, followed by accessory work to strengthen the movement further.  For the squat I used a lot of variations to get stronger, and even improve my form.

Pause Squats

Pause squats are my absolute favorite to perform, following my heavier sets.  If you have read any of my articles, before I also like rotating specialty bars here. I have tight shoulders that can cause me problems from squatting low bar constantly.  I prefer the safety bar for this movement as it is easier on my shoulders, but also it is far more difficult to stay upright with.  The safety bar wants to pull you down, so you have to fight it on the way up to not fall forward.  If you do not have access to a safety bar this is perfectly ok to do a normal barbell paused squat.  Personally I am a much better squatter in a wider stance; it’s where I’m strongest and most comfortable.  To perform my accessory work, I choose what I am weaker at, so pause squats for me are with a high bar position, and a narrow stance.  Most squats fail when the lifter falls forward out of the hole, and this is where pause squats can correct a weakness.  There are a couple r