Getting out of the hole

Hanging out with MMA beast Philip Fortuna yesterday, made me realize something – I haven’t done a blog post on one of my favorite lifts. You could argue that it’s not really a lift but more of a variation – a tempo manipulation or whatever – I don’t really care.


Dig yourself out of the hole!

This exercise will help you:

  • Build power out of the hole in squat.
  • Improve positioning and tightness in the hole
  • Build glutes of doom!

You’ve probably figured out by now – I’m talking about the paused squat. Done with a 1-3 second pause at the botttom, the squat becomes an entirely different animal. Obviously, they can be done with even longer pauses, but that’s incredibly nasty.

Back to yesterday’s session – Philip has recently started all over on his squatting, to get better depth. Because of this, he has some issues finding a good bottom position. While slower eccentrics would also help accomplish this, it’s my experience that they (especially for an athlete) cause way too much soreness compared to paused squats.

Sitting in the hole with a big weight on your shoulders is a humbling experience and you’ll notice that just a second will feel like a lifetime. I have a love/hate relationship with this exercise – simply because I love the results.

I’ve found it works great at pretty much any level, to enforce a good strong and tight bottom position and give some lighter form work. Doing them as back-off volume is what I’d recommend.

What you DO NOT want to do, is do all your squatting paused. You want to do some kind of squats where you don’t break up the movement. This is a supportive exercise, not a main lift – treat it as such.

Key form pointers:

  • Big breath of air – stay super tight while pausing.
  • Keep chest up and upper back tight.
  • Explode (try to) out of the bottom – lead with the chest – not the ass.
  • Drop down into your bottom position and stay TIGHT – don’t wobble around and don’t cut the lift short so you can get a bounce after the pause.

Go dig yourself out of that hole!


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