Anderson Squats

An Anderson squat is a squat a squat variation that starts from the bottom. And every rep begins from a dead stop.

Some call them pin squats or bottom up squats.

Typically they’re used by powerlifters to help build strength getting out of the bottom of the squat.

Watch Greg Demonstrate the Anderson Squat

For general health and fitness Anderson Squats aren’t something you need to add to your program. Though they can help with hip mobility. For those of you with tight hips, getting into a deep squat position is a task in of itself.

They can also help your deadlift. Because you’re lifting from a dead stop there’s a good transfer to the deadlift.

“Created” or popularized by the legendary powerlifter, Olympic weightlifter, and Strongman competitor Joe Anderson. It makes sense that powerlifters and athletes get the most out of paused pin squats.

The elimination of the stretch reflex means that athletes develop more contractile strength because they don’t have the preloading of the tendons to help the lift.

The principle behind Anderson squats applies to front squats and overhead squats too. It’s also a popular bench press variation.

Muscles Worked doing Anderson Squats

It’s still a squat so the muscles used don’t change.

  • Quads
  • Glutes
  • Hip flexors
  • Adductors
  • Core
  • Spinal erectors
  • Upper back
  • Quads

How deep you set the pins changes the degree to what muscles are targeted.

Your quads work to straighten your legs by extending the knees.

Just like the quads, your gluteus maximus and medius work to extend the hips and allow the knees to track over the toes properly.

Your hamstrings and adductors aid in hip extension. While the hamstrings also help stabilize your knee.

A Word of Warning

Because you are starting unloaded in the bottom in the most difficult position, it’s essential that you generate a tight core before lifting.

For more info on squatting, check out the Athlete’s Physique’s Definitive Squat Guide.

Squat Variations


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