How to Do It: Squat as you normally would — bar tight across your back, brace abs, push hips back, and descend — but when you reach the bottom, pause for two to six seconds. If you really want to challenge yourself, pause for up to ten seconds. Hold the position with your thighs parallel to the floor or slightly below. Avoid sitting down onto your calves and losing tension. Once the pause has concluded, explode back to the top and repeat.
The Benefit: By pausing a movement, you’re increasing time under tension for the muscle fibers involved. By increasing the time under tension in a squat, the quads, glutes, lower back, and abdominals will all be working overtime to stay in the squat. The longer the tension, the more damage done to these fibers, the more muscle hypertrophy — in other words, your muscles will grow. Plus, that long pause means you’re forced to stay in a good position, reinforcing the emphasis on proper squat technique.