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Anderson Squats as an Assistance Lift?

I’m starting 5/3/1 for powerlifting with the SST template in a few weeks. Was just wondering if anyone has used Anderson squats as the main assistive lift on squat day or even in other programs etc.

Does it have a strong carry over to the back squat?


I think, for the vast majority of people, these are pretty worthless with minimal carryover to a “normal” squat. I mention this in the new book about supplemental work - the answer to getting stronger is rarely a magical movement. It is usually something horribly simple that you are lacking.

I’ve tried these numerous times and while they may be fun to do - I wish I had that time back. HOWEVER, if you wish to try them, use it as a supplemental lift and use it at a time when the training “doesn’t matter” and you want to experiment. Generally, these would be used in a Leader program and kept explosive and the reps kept at 5 or under.

I’ve tried them, not much help.
I did find static holds for 5-10+ seconds helpful. I would do them at the end , unrack, walk out and get set to squat and hold. I would use near and over what I thought my max squat was. 3-5 what would be a rep

Thanks Jim! Greatly appreciate your advice.

Since I don’t keep compete, any time is a good time for me I suppose so Ill give them a shot as a supplemental exercise as you said.



It depends on what you define as “Anderson squats”. Paul Anderson lowered the bar each week to get used to whatever weight he was able to use from a half squat position. Not many people have had success with that method. However, bottom-up squats with the pins set just above parallel (or slightly higher if you are well over 6ft), aka dead squats, have worked for lots of people. Chad Wesley Smith has credited this exercise with getting his squat from 800 to 900.

Unless you are extremely tall, set the pins so that you are jut above parallel (where the stretch reflex wears off) and do single reps. Start with 60-70% for 6-8 singles - after actual squatting - and keep rest period short, 90-120 seconds. Add weight (5-15lbs.) each week, reduce sets if you are about to fail. Whatever you do, don’t max out on your first day - if ever.


When I said Anderson Squats I meant starting from the bottom with the barbell sitting on a pin that would put the squatter at or around parallel.

I was thinking about incorporating Anderson squats to help with my sticking point: about a third of the way up in squat.

I will probably still do Anderson squats but as an accessory/supplementary movement as opposed my assistive (secondary) lift of the day (like Jim advised) in the Simplest Strength Template. For my assistive lift I may do SLDLs or Box Squats.

Did you watch the video I posted? For some reason only the link appeared, so I will post it again. Anyway, what you are talking about is referred to as a dead squat these days. It can and does work but is better to do for multiple singles. Reps will build a stretch reflex (like in regular squatting) that makes the bottom of the lift easier and it just becomes a pause squat from the pins.

I don’t know what’s going on but I can’t put the actual video in the post, click on the youtube link in my previous reply.

Yes I watched the video, but honestly I’m really not seeing much a difference between “dead squats” and “Anderson squats”. Both begin at the bottom with the bar suspended on pins placing the lifter at parallel. The only difference i see is a slightly longer pause between reps (I wouldn’t call those reps in video singles) allowing for a reset of the starting position. That and the use of a safety bar. Am I missing something here?


As far as I know, Anderson squats involve starting with a weight well above your 1rm and squatting from the pins set around maybe a half squat level, then lowering the pins each week and eventually squatting the weight top-down.

The video is a demonstration of the exercise, do you want to wait 90-120 seconds for him to do another rep? Notice there is no weight on the bar. You can watch some of Josh Bryant’s other videos, he discusses this exercise in his books as well. You are supposed to squat, lower the weight back to the pins, stand up and wait a minute or two, and then set up again and do another rep. The point of using the SSB is that it is easier to set up under it than a straight bar.

I’m starting to think you should follow Wendler’s advice and just not do them. I regret responding.

Sorry if my earlier response came off as offensive in anyway - not intended whatsoever; I was just making genuine observations and asking for clarification.

To me “dead squats” and “anderson squats” look like the same movement, though I was not aware Andersons require super heavy weight to be considered an Anderson squat (wasn’t aware any exercise had a weight requirement for that matter lol).


If it breaks your heart so, then don’t respond cupcake. Pin squats, bottom up squats, dead start squats, you’re arguing over semantics here.

If you actually had any experience in what you were talking about, other than reading a bunch of articles, you would know they’re actually not, for having to shift the weight forward and tilting the handles up just to be able to get under the bar to begin with.

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The point of what Paul Anderson did with his squats from rack pins is to lift more than he would be able to otherwise and get used to heavier weight. You can’t perform and overload movement if it’s not overloading.

I’m just annoyed at having to explain every detail. Look for some of Josh Bryant’s articles, most links get taken down on here.

Listen, asshole, there are different way of performing similar exercises for different purposes and different results.

Why are you even talking then?

I own a safety squat bar. I did dead squats last week and I am doing them again tomorrow. You obviously know nothing.

I’ve used them in the past almost exclusively for quite a period of time as a max effort movement from varied heights. Will they carry over to your squat? They will if they don’t jack your shit up first. If you can manage keeping your technique perfect, then they are fine, but it’s easy to hyperextend the spine, compressing discs. They were also harder on the hip flexors for me. I still use them, just not for maximal intensities anymore.

I just wanted to say I had a lot of luck using ROM progression Anderson squats.

That said, I’ve never known Anderson squats to imply ROM progression. Anderson squats have always been bottom up squats, while ROM progression was a method Paul Anderson used that he learned from Bob Peoples (who, in turn, used it on the deadlift).

EDIT: Oh yeah, and pins are for chumps. Suspend the bar with chains. Far easier to set up.

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I’m a fan of Josh Bryant’s work myself, have read quite a bit of it and I’m also sure we’re all quite capable of a Google search. Also, just the act of performing the squat from a dead start without the assist of the stretch reflex is a form of overload, just as increasing volume, intensity or reducing rest isn’t it? I got that the OP wasn’t talking about progressive ROM from the get go, as it seems everyone else did as well. Why can’t you?

Figured I’d oblige the opportunity to fling a little shit back at the monkey.

Kill it hero! Sundays are my MEL as well. Looks like Anderson Squats are on the menu. For old times sake.

Thanks for the positive input concerning my initial question re: the value of anderson squats. I think I will try them as a supplemental lift like Jim advised. Thanks!

No. Overload is this case means lifting weights above your max, or perhaps weights close to your max for higher reps. Like benching 90% for 12 reps with a slingshot, for example. Progressive overload is something else, and if you aren’t doing it you won’t see any results.

There is no point in doing squats starting from the pins if you are going to do reps. It would be much easier to just walk the bar out and pause on the pins. That can work too, but it’s nothing more than a pause squat on the pins and forces you to slow down your descent (unless you already descend ridiculously slow) so that the bar doesn’t bounce or shift when you hit the pins. Pause squats are better. With Josh Bryant’s version, you get used to producing higher than usual force at the bottom end of the squat where you would normally get a boost from the stretch reflex. The end result is a stronger and more explosive squat.