So I was just thinking I got a home gym set up, and I can't really approach the bar under a power-rack as of yet...so I just clean it up over my head. I was interested in doing a back squat.

But this got me thinking - I know it's much easier to unrack the bar from a standing position, but would there be any benefit to having your starting position being at the bottom?

I think it would help activate your glutes and really force you to use those muscles and really "find" your hole...

What do you guys think? Any benefit? Any negatives? Other than the trouble with unracking the weight in a hole?

Thanks in advance!

  • It would help you train some explosiveness out of the bottom but beyond that I doubt it will help you put up a higher number on the squat. Commented May 10, 2014 at 0:30

3 Answers 3


Starting from the bottom position is quite differen from 'normal' squats, as you're not using the stretch-shortening cycle. This means your muscles and tendons are not already pre-loaded when you're going up, which will result in the getting up being much harder than it normally would be.

The main benefit of starting from the bottom position is that you'll be forced to 'get out of the hole' without the stretch-reflex. So if the bottom position is your weak spot when squatting, this would be a good way to train that exact portion of the squat

The only negative I can think of is that you won't be able to use as much weight, when starting from the bottom position.

In general, starting from the bottom position is a very specialized variant of the squat that is commonly used by advanced lifters to adress a specific weak spot.

  • 1
    Very good answer. Another variant is to start from the standing position, squat down for an isometric squat for 1-3s and then up. This method also does not utilize the stretch-shortening cycle (a lot less at least; the longer you pause, the less it is activated). Furthermore, in order to do several reps, you must apply this principle as well. By simply starting from the bottom position, and doing several reps, there is only one quality rep (the first), with respect to your goal of improving your bottom position. Commented May 10, 2014 at 10:56
  • Bottom up squats and pause squats are very useful at building squat strength and correcting form problems. Big thing is to make sure you get a deep breath and brace before standing up if you start at the bottom position. If you don't you risk injury from not starting in a strong braced position. That's the primary reason I would recommend bottoms up for intermediate or advanced lifters. Commented May 10, 2014 at 19:40
  • Learned something new today
    – Igbanam
    Commented May 13, 2014 at 17:51

Funny I thought muscles were required to produce movement from a dead stop, pre stretched position. Now it is obvious that starting from the top is easier and if your sport is setup that way then only a fool goes against what's easier. Actually it would be like competing natural and without gear against guys on the sauce who use gear. Anyway starting from the hole is much safer. Either you can lift it or you can't but squats from the top give little info on what's going on as leverage decreases and muscle force must increase. Although man has found ways to cheat gravity with a power rack or mono lifting man is built to use raw starting strength. Hence rate of muscle fibre recruitment is a lifters measure of force development. All lifts are safest when started from full stretch rising to full flexion or started from a point in the lift that is below full contraction. It's the only way to ensure the muscle can't rebound off the myotatic reflex essentially each muscle must lift like a deadlift. The pause must be greater than 2 seconds actually resetting each rep is best to prevent sudden jerks. I want to be sure I am not trying to go up while my body is still heading down so I must disconnect between reps and reset. Very important never to get winded during any set or rush because I am strength building not stretch reflex building. Lastly the energy wasted holding weight during a up/down continuous set can be applied to the drive from a full or partial depth. A muscle is best developed when trained from at least two but preferably 3 depths. Starting from the shortest depth and increasing the depth. This is super loading and allows greater loads to be used as range of motion is increased. Basically raises the tension in the fast twitch fibres and stresses the skeleton to increase in density. The skeleton often is under stressed in training with only full range of motion loads. Partials depths allow the skeleton to strengthen and that allows the tendons to be stressed enough for the Golgi tendon to be trained to reduce inhibition of shutting off a muscles max force or sub max force. Read power by DR squat Fred Hatfield he recommended ballistic deadlifting using super max loads and jerking the weight 1-2 inches off the floor to train the Golgi tendon. First man to squat 4 times BW without today's gear. 1016lbs@254lbs belt and knee wraps only with a walk out. Powerlifting uses speed and reflex actions in squatting and benching. Hatfield used to jump before performing deadlift attempts on the platform to initiate the stretch reflex. Remember as I said earlier the sports allow for modified staring positions. Ground based pulls still and will always be a test of true starting strength. Hole squats and hole benches are not ego lifts they are pure starting strength lifts. Torque gets you going horse power keeps you going. Takes more guts to get under 500lbs in the hole then staring from the top. All jumping movements and running uses stretch reflex but in partial depths. In full range that is just dangerous and stupid. Why do you think power lifters squat breaking parallel? To activate a stronger stretch reflex in a partial position and that is all the depth the sport requires. Always remember we ask our body to do all sorts of funky movements but the funny thing about compound movements in weight training is they are actually designed to be started from stretched to full contraction back to stretched 1 rep. Now my muscles will need to produce more torque to create acceleration on a dead weight but while lowering a weight I am always producing less force than what is on the bar otherwise I have a static hold. Force X leverage = % of muscle fibre requirement. That gave birth to nautilus equipment, band and chain training to combat the advantages of leverage. However one must be as explosive as they can while gaining leverage or they become slower. Bands especially and chains to a point compensate for compensatory acceleration by working with it to make the movement yield more overall results. Read articles or watch videos by Louie Simmons from westside barbell on bands and chain training, Arthur Jones on nautilus equipment training and Fred Hatfield's book Power. Happy safe training!

  • 7
    Please write with paragraphs.
    – gwaigh
    Commented Apr 18, 2016 at 3:34

I don't think there are any benefits. The up and down cycle is still being performed. I think it is advisable to unrack the weights from a standing position. That way, you can make sure you have a right and stable posture before starting

  • 1
    Actually, yes, there are benefits that you won't get with regular squats (see my answer).
    – user8119
    Commented May 10, 2014 at 9:30

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