Rack Squats: Touch Pins or Not?

In Dinosaur Training, Brooks Kubik recommends actually touching the safety pins with the barbell at the bottom of the squat. What are the advantages and disadvantages of doing this instead of setting the pins just below your maximum depth and not actually touching them?

I’m asking because I’m currently touching the pins at the moment, but have found that it’s sometimes harder to get out the hole that way, like the bar just goes dead.

This is because you take out the element of momentum.
Of course it depends on your goals, and the tempo you are using.
Now, I’m no strength guru, but if I were training for strength, I would stop on the pins. Why? Because without your momentum it requires greater strength from the bottom, which is where you would be exploding from in a real world scenario. However, considering this is a bodybuilding forum, I would recommend tapping the bars just to make sure you have control over the weight. Again, if you are using a fast cadence, don’t touch the bar, tap it. If you are using a slower tempo, what’s it hurt to pause at the bottom? This is akin to benching, you can pause right above your chest for a second to take the variable of “bouncing” off your chest, or using your momentum to get a cheat rep. This is just because with heavier loads, especially squatting and benching, once you get near that area of weakness, it’s common to literally drop the weight that last millimeter to instantly recruit fibers to fire the weight backup, obviously depending on your program and goals, that is not always a smart thing to do.

[quote]wsk wrote:
I’m asking because I’m currently touching the pins at the moment, but have found that it’s sometimes harder to get out the hole that way, like the bar just goes dead.[/quote]

That’s because you’re weak.

You’re supposed to do it that way, or even pause on the pins! Better yet, try doing deadstop squats where you start the squat with the bar [b]resting on the pins[/b] for each rep (it’s also called a concentric squat). These will make you strong out of the hole and give you the starting strength you need so you’re not a weak little girl anymore.

Nate Dogg, that’s what I’ve been doing - starting the squat from the bottom like Kubik says to do. I’m going to print out your post and stick on on my power rack because it pisses me off so much. Just what I needed. I won’t be stuck at 330lbx5 for much longer.

Perfect! I thought you were starting from the normal position and only coming down to the pins and pausing and then going back up! If you’re starting from a deadstop position, you’re doing them right!

I looked around for the reason they’re more difficult like this and, as wildshoe says, it’s because the ‘elastic energy’ is removed - it’s all muscle power rather than kinetic energy in the joints, tendons and ligaments or whatever. No momentum, just muscle. Similar to starting each rep on chins from a dead hang.

I say don’t touch the pins ever. This is because I always put my hands right where the pins would touch.

If you want to build your squat, you’d better squat both ways. Low pin squats will build your start, but they also teach you to descend without storing tension. They also will not punish you if you slack in the hole so long as you tighten up before pushing.

So squat both ways, and make sure you know how to stay tight under the bar, with a stomach full of air.