Pulse and Pause Squats


by Becca Egan, BS, NASM-CPT

Exercise: Pulsing and Pausing squats

Muscle Groups Targeted: All muscle groups in a squat - squats, hamstrings, glutes, core

Importance: Adds variety to the standard squat

Proper Form:

Re-inform yourself with the proper standard squat form here!

Pulse Squat

  • Stand in your squat stance
  • Lower yourself into the bottom of your squat
  • Once you're there, slightly pulse 2-4 inches from the bottom of your squat
  • Make sure you are using your glutes here! It is very easy to "quad out" and get mostly a quad workout.
  • Keep your body straight, core tight, chest up, shoulders back

Pause Squat

  • Similar to the start of the squat or pulse squat: start in squat stance, lower yourself into the bottom of your squat
  • Once at the bottom, make sure to NOTICEABLY pause for 1-3 seconds
  • After you have paused, squeeze your glutes and go about half way up. Pause at the halfway mark for 1-3 seconds
  • After your mid way pause, lower yourself back down to the bottom of your squat and pause again for 1-3 seconds.
  • After the pause, squeeze your glutes and come all the way to the top (standing position). That's one rep.

Reps: Pulse squats - do anywhere from 10-50 pulses depending on level of fitness


For pause squats, make sure your are not just gliding through the mid way and bottom parts of the squat. Make sure there is a noticeable pause at the bottom, middle, and bottom again.

Sample Workout:

  • 5 pulse squats (with 10 pulses)
  • 10 core rows (total)
  • 5 pause squats
  • 10 plank jacks
  • 5 squat jumps
  • 10 bent over rows
  • 5 squats
  • 10 TRX tricep extensions

Complete 3-5 rounds OR as many rounds in 25 minutes.

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