Paused Back Squats With MMA fighter Sean Carter

Below Lightweight MMA Fighter Sean Carter (the TUF and Cage warriors vet fighter not the rapper) performing paused (isometric) squats with 150kg (330lbs). Paused squatting is very effective at building leg strength by removing the contribution of the “bounce/stretch reflex” you get at the bottom of your squat. I don’t see many novel squat variations performed by fighters so I thought I would share what we get up to in the gym.
In this squat I’m encouraging Sean to stay very tight and maintain good position underload, keep complete tension rather than just “hanging out” in the position. This type of squatting can be great for those that don’t feel comfortable in the bottom of the squat, with submaximal loads it can be used to build comfort in an otherwise stressful position. We can also use near or supramaximal loads provided I spot Sean out of the hole. Here we perform 3×3 with 80-87.5% of Sean’s max as per triphasic training layout.
This stress position leads to tissue adaptations particularly in the tendons. It also improves motor unit recruitment providing an increase the number of muscles fibers that fire. And rate coding which gives an increase the rate at which each fiber fires, which increases muscular tension. More subtle is need for torso stiffness, holding is just as hard as lifting, so it quite common to really “feel” your abs the next day. If you are going to do these I suggest below 80% for 3 reps with 2-3 second pause.

If you have ever grappled or wrestled you rapidly appreciate the benefit Isometric strength offers not just, in just a position specific strength applications, but through bracing, tightness and need for a little grit that matches well for combat sports.


With 140kg 1st week With 150kg 3rd week
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