By Nathane L. Jackson, RHN, CSCS
A pause repetition is a friend with many benefits. The two to five-second pause during the eccentric, or stretch, phase of a lift increases time under tension, which is one important aspect necessary for muscle growth.
Pause repetitions can help rectify flaws in exercise technique. For example, when performing a squat you may find it difficult to maintain spinal alignment throughout the lift. All you have to do is add a pause repetition just before you break form. This will ensure that you build strength, increase mobility, and gain confidence at the exact point of your rep that you find most challenging. The same approach can be used to bust through sticking points. Keeping with the squat example, you can benefit greatly by performing a pause rep at the weakest point within the range of motion – usually at the lowest depth – to increase strength. The result will be a stronger, more quality squat the next time you train.
Pause reps also allow for greater muscle activation, proprioception, stability, torque, and mind to muscle connection. By stopping in the middle of a rep, you can’t help but focus on the movement and your muscles won’t be able to do anything but adapt.