Speed Drill of the Day: Get a Quicker First Step with Pause Squats

Use Pause Squats to build a quick, powerful first step to help you blow by opponents and make plays all over the field.

One of the most important traits of an athlete is his or her first-step quickness and acceleration. How fast can you explode out of a static position and reach your top speed? A quick, powerful first step can help you blow by your opponents and make plays all over the field.

Pause Squats, a variation of traditional Squats, can really help your acceleration and first-step explosiveness. By forcing you to pause at the bottom of the movement, Pause Squats work on exploding out of a static athletic position, which forces you to generate as much power as you can in a short period of time.

Pause Squats are especially great for football linemen. If a lineman can fire off the ball explosively, he's got a great shot at shocking his opponent and executing his assignment. That's why programs like Cal Football include Pause Squats in their routines.

How to Perform Pause Squats

  • Start with a light weight that will allow you to move the bar quickly.
  • Begin the exercise as if you were performing a traditional Squat, placing your feet slightly wider than hip-width.
  • Lower yourself as you would for a traditional Squat, keeping your chest up and your knees behind your toes.
  • Once the top of your thighs are parallel to the ground, hold that position for two seconds.
  • Explosively drive back up into the starting position as quickly as possible.

Sets/Reps: 3x6-8 reps

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