Tired of not being able to stand up a heavy clean or squat?  “Bottom Up” Squats are a great addition to your training program.

Unlike in traditional squats where you unrack the weight from a standing position, each rep of the bottom up squat (a front squat variation is shown in the video above.  This can also be done from the high bar position.) starts in the bottom of the squat.

Why You Need Them
*Disclaimer: this variation is a better choice for folks with the requisite mobility to get into the bottom of a deep squat.  Can’t get low enough and in this position?  I’d recommend you continue to work on improving hip and hamstring strength and range of motion.

Bottom up squats help address a couple of weaknesses and errors.

  1.  Not enough tension throughout the body at the start of a rep.
    1. During a regular squat you can generate tension during the descent that can help assist during the ascent. Bottom ups teach you to create loads of tension prior to applying the force into the barbell.
  2. Excessive forward lean during the ascent.
    1. Piggy backing off the aforementioned point, tension is important towards any strength lift.  Strong legs are super important to big squats, but leg strength won’t be able to truly express itself without a properly aligned torso.  If the torso inclines forward, the weight moves away from the center of mass, loading the back and hamstrings, without help from the core and the leg extensors (quads).  Bottom ups develop the necessary core strength to maintain a more vertically aligned torso and therefore keep the weight closer to your center of mass.
  3. Weak hips/glutes
    1. From such a deep starting positions, the hips and glutes are responsible for moving first.  While the core helps stabilize the torso, if the hips and glutes aren’t strong enough, the leg extensors will take over and contribute to the aforementioned forward lean.
    2. Train this variation long enough and buns of steel are sure to follow!

Bottom ups are a great accessory squat movement that when implemented into a training program correctly pay big dividends.  On average, I would recommend at the start of a block to try 3 sets of 5, making sure to pause 2 seconds and unload the weight between each rep. 2-3 minutes rest between sets.

Happy Squatting!

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