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Should I focus on quarter-squats to increase my vertical jump?

www.ironmanmagazine.comQ: I’m a volleyball player looking to increase my vertical jump. Wouldn’t it make sense to focus on quarter-squats so that I don’t gain any additional bodyweight that could affect my results?

A: Short answer: no. But don’t take my word for it. A German study scheduled to be published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research later this year found that full squats, both front and back, are superior to quarter-squats for improving the vertical jump. The study lasted 10 weeks and used recreational athletes; the full squat was described as reaching a point where the hamstrings covered the upper calf.

The results? The average increase in vertical jump height for the deep-squat groups was 8 percent, whereas the subjects who performed quarter-squats showed no improvement. One possible explanation is that the lower back becomes a weak link in the exercise, keeping the trainee from using enough weight on the quarter-squat to overload the legs sufficiently.

This study refutes a commonly accepted belief in my field that athletes who normally perform movements primarily through a partial range of motion in their sport need to train with partial-range movements. For athletes who want a high vertical jump, squatting low is the way to go!

Editor’s note: Charles Poliquin is recognized as one of the world’s most suc-cessful strength coaches, having coached Olympic med-alists in 12 different sports, including the U.S. women’s track-and-field team for the 2000 Olympics. He’s spent years researching European journals (he’s fluent in English, French and German) and speaking with other coaches and scientists in his quest to optimize training methods. For more on his books, seminars and methods, visit Also, see his ad on page 147.   IM

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