Video Demonstration

Today's article will cover everything you need to know for adding the Anderson Squat (also referred to as the reverse squat) into your training routine.

This article will include video, image and a written step by step description on how to do this exercise.

Its difficulty level, the equipment you need to do it. The different muscle groups that get worked when you use this exercise.

The benefits you get when adding it to your training routine. Also, some different training cues to use when you are performing it.

The Anderson Squat gets its name after Paul Anderson, the inventor of this form of squatting. He was a top weightlifter, Strongman, Powerlifter, Olympic gold medalist, World Champion and two-time National Champion in Olympic weightlifting in the 1950s.

Since the equipment was more limited at the time, he would dig a hole to stand in and have a loaded barbell at or above ground level and perform his squatting routine. He used this lift to help build amazing strength on his squats.

Anderson Squat How to Guide

Image Example

how to perform paul anderson squats

Step by Step Description

Step 1: Set the pins on the squat rack to the desired height. It should be set low enough, so the crease of your hips is in line with your knees. Move under the bar and place it on your back in the bottom squat position, now unrack the barbell.

Step 2: Press through your heels, press your chest out and tighten your core and lift yourself up to the standing squat position.

Step 3: Now you are going to return to the lower squat position. Push your hips back and bend at the knees slowly lowering the weight back down onto the pins. Use a slow and controlled movement do not allow the barbell to just fall toward the pins.

Step 4: When the bar is on the pins you want to completely de-load the weight. Lower your body an extra half inch or so to completely de-load the weight.

Step 5: Now come back into contact with the barbell. Brace your core, drive your heels into the floor and accelerate the barbell upwards again to perform the next repetition.

Difficulty Level

This lift gets rated at an intermediate dfficulty level. Before using this lift, you should be able to perform the traditional barbell squat with proper technique.

Many people find that the Anderson Squat is more awkward to get in the starting position.

Equipment Required

To perform this lift, you will need multiple pieces of equipment.

A Power rack with pins, a Barbell and weight plates are all needed before you can begin using this exercise.

Muscles Worked

The Primary muscles worked when you are performing this lift is your Quadriceps and Outer Thighs.

The Secondary muscles involved are your Lower Back, Groin, Glutes, Hip Flexors, Hamstrings, and the Calves.

To place more focus on the Quads use the Anderson Squat when you are performing your front Squats.

To maximize focus on your Hamstrings, you should use a wider stance.

Benefits From the Anderson Squat

Since you begin in the bottom position, it is harder to cheat on the Anderson Squat compared to the Traditional Squat. When you start in the bottom position, you remove any momentum/bounce you would typically build up.

It helps you to develop better control at depth. Also increases your starting strength, the rate of force development, and your overall performance.

When you hit a plateau on the traditional squat, you can use this lift to increase your strength and power output helping you to blast through your plateau sticking point.

Performing the Anderson Squat can help you to improve your hips mobility. Since you are getting into the proper position without the weight moving you into it, your hips are freed up.

If you have a lot more explosive power than you are strong, this lift will help you to develop your contractile strength instead of relying on stretch reflex to move the weight. The contractile force also has a high crossover to helping you to increase your deadlift. Deadlifts remove the stretch reflex that can be used on squats to move the weight. Since you are building your contractile strength, your deadlift numbers will also increase.

This lift is great for training how to drive your back into the bar. Many people think of squatting as only a lower body exercise. Using this exercise will help you to learn how to bring your upper back into your squats as well. Remember the upper back is one of the most massive muscles on your body. Learning how to utilize it in your squats will help you make the weight fly up.

Training Tips

After each rep, you need to set the bar on the squat rack. Starting from a dead start will ensure you do not use any momentum from the last rep to assist with the next one.

Keep your core tight the entire time you are under the weight and be as explosive with lifting the weight as you can.

It is important not to lose form when you go into the bottom position when you de-load the weight between reps. Remember the goal is to remove all momentum you would normally build with squats.

You can use this lift with either the front or back squat and with a narrow (higher focus on quads) or wide stance (more focus on your hamstrings).

Use the same breathing pattern used with traditional squatting.

When you move under the bar, your goal is to drive your back into the bar. As a queue, pretend that you are trying to bend the bar across your back. Doing this will help you to engage your upper back into the lift fully.

In Closing

The Anderson Squat gets commonly used to teach lifters proper alignment and tension at specific points in a squatting movement. It is also used to address different angle/depth sticking points. Just set the barbell height at or just below the sticking point.

If you have never done this exercise before you should add it to your routine for at least a few months to see for yourself all the benefits it has to offer.

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