Jessica Buettner certainly knows how to leave an impression in the gym. On April 7, 2022, the powerlifter made her presence felt again when she crushed a 212.5-kilogram squat (469 pounds). Buettner followed that staggering lift with a 230-kilogram deadlift (507 pounds) for six reps, and a 183.7-kilogram paused squat (405 pounds) for four reps.
Check out Buettner’s lifts below, courtesy of her Instagram profile:
Eye on the Prize
According to Buettner, her traditional squat in training was a mere five kilograms (11 pounds) off her PR. Notably, while unofficial, it also eclipses her all-time competition best of 210.4 kilograms (464 pounds). Meanwhile, the six-rep deadlift is only 17.5 kilograms (38.5 pounds) away from the current International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) world record – which belongs to Buettner.
- Deadlift – 247.5 kilograms (545.6 pounds)
- Squat – 210.5 kilograms (461.4 pounds)
- Total – 563 kilograms (1,241 pound2)
The last time Buettner lost in a powerlifting competition was the year 2019. Here are some of the notable results of the Canadian-born athlete’s career:
- Canadian Powerlifting Union (CPU) Nationals – 1st overall | 2015, 2019-2020
- IPF World Classic Powerlifting Championships – 1st overall | Juniors: 2016, 2018; Open: 2019-2020
- 2019 CPU National Championship – 1st overall
- 2019 Commonwealth Powerlifting Federation Commonwealth Championships – 1st overall
Benefits of the Paused Squat
A traditional squat with a loaded barbell is challenging enough for any athlete. The pause offers another distinctive element.
An athlete will usually come to a complete stop at the bottom of their squat rep in a paused squat. That’s in contrast to the traditional squat, where an athlete hits at least the 90-degree parallel and immediately drives back up. Note: Some people might elect to pause halfway between the top and the parallel, but a pause at the bottom is more common.
While in the hole (or the lowest position of the squat), the athlete will hold that position for at least a couple of seconds. The timing can vary, often depending on personal preference and training regimen. Finally, they’ll explode up to lock out the rep. The pause does not necessarily change the tempo of the overall squat rep itself. An athlete can elect to go down slower, too.
One of the more notable benefits of the pause is that a powerlifter puts their legs under increased tensionleading to improved strength and hypertrophy (or muscle growth). The more an athlete places their muscles in isometric contraction (or keeping their muscles in a stable contracted position), the more gains they might see. One recent study found that women who performed pauses squats instead of the traditional variation saw greater hypertrophy. (1)
The paused squat will ask more of an athlete’s quad muscles and knees, too.
Like the traditional variation, the paused squat still works the glutes, hamstrings, calves, and overall core, but demands more of the quads because of the extended time in the hole. That slower movement will give an athlete larger and stronger quads. (2) Plus, because the pause keeps an athlete’s knees flexed for longer while bearing their squat weight, it might also improve their knee extension strength.
By training with a paused squat, Buettner is potentially increasing her squat capacity and improving her overall leg strength simultaneously.
The IPF Worlds Are Next
In what appears to be a confirmation in her Instagram post, Buettner says she will compete in the 2022 IPF World Classic Powerlifting Championships. We’ll see if she can continue her recent hot streak there.
The event will be on June 6-12, 2022, in Sun City, South Africa.
- Korak, JA, Paquette, MR, Fuller, DK, Caputo, JL, Coons, JM (2018). Effect of a rest-pause vs. traditional squat on electromyography and lifting volume in trained women. European Journal of Applied Physiology, Jul. 2018; 118 (7), 1309–1314.
- Usui, S., Maeo, S., Tayashiki, K., Nakatani, M., Kanehisa, H. (2016). Low-load Slow Movement Squat Training Increases Muscle Size and Strength but Not Power. International Journal of Sports Medicine, Apr. 2016; 37 (4), 305–312.
Featured image: @djessicabuettner on Instagram