Tempo Squats To Improve Bracing
In my top 3 favorite squat variations video, one noticeable snub was the tempo squat. Like with many accessories, as my ideas and systems change and progress, how and why I implement certain variations changes as well. With tempo squats, that is probably one of the variations I have changed how I program, maybe the most. It used to be my go to variation for technique correction, but as discussed in posts/videos I have made about pause squats, my one issue is the difficulty in translating back to normal descent speed after a long bout of tempos. For me, I find it is much easier to transition from pause squats to regular competition squats, and @lift_ng did a great write up on that very topic in his most recent post that I’d recommend checking out (CLICK HERE).
But I still very much like tempo squats and utilize them. They do have a great self limiting aspect, they reduce the rebound forces at the bottom of the squat, and they can be instrumental in teaching and improving bracing mechanics. And that final point is what I really want to touch on, as I think that is where I have seen the most benefit from implementing tempo squats lately. A common issue people have is they inhale, they brace, and then that’s the last they ever think about bracing. Bracing is a constant action through the entirety of the squat. If the first thing we see as someone initiates the squat is their abdominals lengthening, that’s an immediate sign they have lost that initial brace. Now as it becomes habitual, it shouldn’t take voluntary effort at all times to think about squeezing and bracing. But, for those who struggle with immediately losing their brace as they initiate the descent, or they lose tightness and stop bracing as they try to rebound out of the bottom, tempo squats are my go to for this issue. Because of the slowed eccentric portion, you are forced to maintain that initial brace, or there is immediate negative feedback. As can be seen with Autumm (CLICK HERE), she noticeably improves her bracing when adding the tempo. Can we cue certain bracing patterns to accomplish the same thing? Yes, but not everyone is able to conceptualize that without first “feeling” what constant bracing and maintaining position throughout the descent feels like. And with adding the tempo, it typically forces a lifter into correct bracing patterns just due to the inherent difficulty it poses if they do not.