Published on Enhanced Fitness and Performance (http://www.enhancedfp.com)

3 Squat Variations For Football Speed And Strength by Steve Morris

By DMorgan
Created 05/21/2011 - 4:11pm

Squat Variations for Football Speed, Strength and Awesomeness


1. Bottoms Up Squats (Front and Back)

Starting speed is almost never addressed by most football strength and speed programs…at least not consciously. Most programs base their leg work around normal squats and cleans. But real world starting strength (better known as explosiveness) is rarely covered.

bottoms up front squat for high school football [1]

Bottoms Up Front Squats, with Chains

Football is a game based on starting strength. If you can’t turn it all on quickly, the rest of your speed is wasted. Trust me. I personally went through this early in my career. I’d run decent tests, but only because I got fast AFTER a few steps…that meant I was slow off the ball, never a good thing. When I fixed it, my game changed completely.
Jumping, firing off the line, starting a pass route, and jumping a pass route for a defensive back are all based on your ability to fire all the muscle fibers in a hurry. One of the best ways to do this is with bottoms up squats and front squats. Basically, this is setting the bar on the pins in the rack at various heights, usually the bottom, mid-point, or in a quarter squat position. Then you wedge yourself underneath, get tight, and explode.
Now ‘explode’ is the appropriate term. If you don’t move your butt quickly, the bar just won’t move. You quickly learn what kind of leg power you have when doing these. And once you get good at them, you can add bands or chains to make sure you’re exploding through the entire range of motion.

Remember to LESSEN the weight when you first start.

If your regular Front Squat is 250, you will NOT be doing Your bottom’s up front squats with that much. You can try…if you do, please video it for me and send it over =)


2. Box Squat

More programs need to include Box Squats. While they’ve become much more popular, they’re still underutilized.
Why Box Squat?
Several reasons. First, there is an intense pre-stretch of the hamstrings when sitting back on the box. This helps build strength and explosivness in the legs which is ultra important for football speed (and the ability to block, run, tackle, etc)
Second, you are performing Static Overcome by Dynamic strength work. By pre stretching, then sitting on the Box, relaxing the hip flexors then exploding up, you are building a tremenous amount of starting strength. Far too many players lack starting strength. They’re fast after a 5-yard build up, but, they can’t fire off the line to save their lives! If this is you, fix it now. Football is about explosiveness…those who can’t turn it on quickly tend to get their asses kicked.



Use the Box Squat as either as a Heavy, Max Effort Exercise. Work up to heavy single, double, triple or 4. Or, use multiple sets of low reps. You can also use them as a Dynamic Effort movement, using about 50% bar weight plus bands or chains.


3. Pause Squats


I’ll warn you, these suck. There’s no way around it…they hurt like hell and they hurt like more hell the next day.

But…they’re great for increasing strength in the bottom position (useful for increasing your Squat and blasting people on the field)

These are quite easy…Do a Back Squat but, instead of simply coming out of the hole at the bottom, you pause for 2-seconds on each rep at the bottom. It’s best to have a coach or partner count for you as guys tend to get a little fancy with how long they think 2-seconds is.

Squat, pause, explode. It’s that simple.

Do these as a Sub Maximal exercise…on a day where you don’t have it in you to do a full-on Max in the Squat. Also, do these anytime you or your coach feels that you aren’t coming out of the bottom of the Squat explosively! Go with 3 – 5 sets of 3 – 5 reps.

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