A. Pause back squat – 5×3@73% (increase 3% from last week). The tempo is 13X1 (3 seconds in the bottom). These will be getting quite heavy for some of you, so take an honest look at your technique, or ask your coach to do so. If you’re not getting to depth, or you’re not quite hitting that 3 second hold in the bottom, adjust your weight downward, perhaps even using the same weight as last week, and working on perfecting the details of the lift. The ability to apply power from a dead stop is an important skill to have, since we might not always be lifting an object under ideal conditions.

Why are regular squats (i.e. without a specific tempo) so much easier than pause squats? It has to do with momentum, and something called the stretch reflex. What we’re trying to do with pause squats is to take those two factors out of the equation. Lowering into a squat is kind of like pressing on a spring. You’re loading the muscles, ligaments, and tendons as you descend, and then if you immediately reverse the movement and come back up, you can use some of that stored energy because the muscles have reflexively contracted as you dropped into the squat. It’s not exactly the same as a metal spring though, because that can store energy indefinitely if held under tension. You are a biological system, not a piece of metal, so some of that “springiness” dissipates in a few seconds. Sit in the hole of a squat for 3 seconds, and it’s going to be harder to come up. That is precisely what we’re looking to train.

Pause squats also reveal any weaknesses in your position, as I’m sure some of you have noticed. Again, this is a good thing, because it allows us to work on our form.

B. 5 rounds for time, with a partner:

1 (outdoor) lap of reverse sled drag (no row) / 6 deadlifts and hold at the top until your partner returns with the sled

Switch roles.

Recommended weights – Aim for approximately 35-40% of your deadlift max. Weight on the sled should be approx. 3/4 – 1x bodyweight for men, and 1/2 – 3/4 bodyweight for women.