Quarter vs half vs full squats: Which one improves sprint speed and vertical jump the most?
Research reviewed: Joint-Angle Specific Strength Adaptations Influence Improvements in Power in Highly Trained Athletes (Rhea et al; Human movement, March 2016)
This week’s research paper examined whether the depth of a squat - quarter, half, full - influenced greater improvements instrength, sprint speed, or vertical jump height.
In other words, more generally, the researchers were investigating whether training at different ranges of motions of a squat influences joint-angle specific strength adaptations.
28 male college athletes - each of whom had a minimum of two years of consistent year-round training and a minimum parallel squat 1RM of at least 1.5 times bodyweight - were randomly assigned to one of three training groups, differing only in the depth of the squat performed (quarter, half, full) over the course of a 16-week training program.
Each participant undertook strength tests at all three squat depths along with 40-yard sprint and vertical jump tests, at pre-, mid-, and post-training.
Participants in the quarter and full squat training groups improved significantly more at the specific depth they trained compared to half squats.
Further, although jump height and sprint speed improved in all three groups. the quarter squat had the greatest transfer and increases.
The key takeaway here is that if you’re trying to get faster and/or jump higher, you need to be incorporating the quarter squat into your training program.