Gym Shorts: The Pin Squat

New to the pin squat or looking for a quick technique tutorial? Learn correct form in one short video.

The Pin Squat

Gym Shorts videos provide short video demonstrations of correct form for various exercises.

Follow these steps:

  • Set up
    • Bar on rear delts
    • Same setup as regular squat
    • Big breath
    • Pins set at parallel
  • Descent
    • Go slow
    • Knees out & hips back
    • Maintain midfoot balance
    • Reach hips back
  • Ascent
    • Fire hips up
  • Bottom
    • Gently touch pins
    • Maintain held breath
    • Keep weight on back not pins

The pin squat is a supplemental squat that slows down the squat descent–like a tempo squat–and breaks up the stretch reflex out of the bottom–like a paused squat or box squat.

Pin squats require the lifter to slow the descent, in part because we want the bar to touch the pins at the same time. This requires and slow descent and can help show a lifter that the bar is not parallel to the ground if one side consistently touches before the other.

In the bottom, you stay tight, continue to hold your breath, and then fire up. Because of the lack of stretch reflex, you’ll do less weight in the pin squat than your normal squat. This squat essentially increases volume or time under tension by both increasing the descent time, eliminating the stretch reflex, and increasing time in the bottom where you have to stay tight.

We tend to add these to intermediate lifters’ programs when they’re ready for a supplemental variant. This variant can help emphasize midfoot balance, bar placement, and simply be a good variation on the normal squat.

Because of the increase descent time and time in the bottom, we tend to program these for slightly lower reps than a normal squat–3s are common–but more reps can certainly be programmed.

Consider the pin squat to help address squat errors and strengthen your squat.

Click HERE to watch a longer video on the pin squat, and HERE to learn about fixing the dreaded good morning squat.




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