I wrote the following article about dead stop squats back in February. It just never got posted. Since writing this article I have gone on to kill a 160 from bottom position. Check out that video on my YouTube Playlist! And continue reading to hear my thoughts about them...
What do I think about dead stop squats (DSSs)? I love them! Granted, I’ve only done partials from the #12 pin, but I’m excited to venture into bottom position DSSs next.
I’ve been doing heavy traditional squats for a year and a half. Well, heavy for me... I am a 5’4”, 115 pound, 34 year old mom. When I reached 140 pound singles I stalled out at that weight. I could feel in my body that I had the power in my legs and low back to keep progressing but I felt that my upper body wasn’t strong enough. I knew this was my weak point so we thought doing some overloads would help get me past that plateau. That is when I began doing DSS partials. They were exactly what I needed!
After eight weeks of training these one night a week I am at a 295 single partial. I’ve seen a beneficial carry-over; I added 25 pounds to my traditional squat in that eight week time. I feel so much stronger, precise, and controlled. ...more capable at my full-range squats now. DSS partials have helped mentally, too… after I had just been under a bar that’s over 2.5 times my bodyweight it was easy to decide that 165 pounds wasn’t going to be so challenging. And it wasn’t. 165 felt ‘lighter.’ ...to my body ….and my mind.
It was an obvious and fun difference on the mental side. With the partials, I rapidly progressed in a new way. It was the opposite from having it already in your mind that the added weight you’re about to attempt (on full range squats for example)... should be a challenge. With the quick progression of partials, my mind didn’t have any blockages. No pre-conceived notions. It’s just what I was going to do.
I’m going to be honest and admit that, until neurological fatigue set in from the 295, I was on a natural high for a day and a half! It was crazy. Ask my husband. I experienced a level of energy I’ve never quite reached before. And every breath I took in that day and a half was clear, clean and always reached the ‘top’ as I’m constantly striving for. However, I will also admit that in the subsequent 24 hours after that ‘high,’ I could really feel it in my body that I’d just had close to 300 pounds on it… I had to power down and recover for a day. But it didn’t knock me out like some might expect. I wasn’t sore at all, just fatigued. And I’m excited as hell to go out the next time and do it again!! Because within 2 weeks of that 295 I WILL do a 315 pound DSS partial! It’s gonna happen.
Dead stop squats just make sense. To summarize Bud Jeffries’ words, the DSS is the truly functional way to do the squat. There’s not really a scenario in real life where you start from a standing position, squat down with the weight, and use a rebound to stand back up. Generally, lifting is done from a dead stop position.
No matter your take on DSSs, I know, for me, that I’ve accomplished a lot after doing them. Having 295 pounds on my back is doing something. I can feel that. I see the carry-over effects. I am going to keep doing them, keep progressing and adding weight and also add the bottom position into my training as well. At the end of the day, they’re fun… that’s reason enough for me.
I am a wife, mom to two and teacher. I have a lot of things I'd like to go after in this lifetime!