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New Post 4/3/2007 10:21 PM
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Half Squats 

Dear Professor Verkhoshansky,

In your book "Special Strength: A practical Manual for Coaches" you recommend doing barbell back squats in the jumping force programs. How deep should they be done?Are deep squats necessary in the training for vertical jump? Dr. Bondarchuk says only half squats are necessary since athletes don't bend down into a full squat when jumping, and so does Dr. Yessis. Zatsiorsky recommends full squats in the first 3 years of training. What is your opinion?

New Post 4/3/2007 10:27 PM
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Re: Half Squats 
Sorry, in my hurry I forgot to sign my post.

Emanuel Seitinger, Austria
New Post 4/3/2007 11:29 PM
  Prof. Verkhoshansky
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Re: Half Squats 

Dear Emanuel Seitinger,

to answer appropriately about the effectiveness of a training mean it is important to know the objective for which it is used, in which period of preparation and, the last but not the least, the athlete preparation level.

As a rule, the use of strength mean (here we are talking of exercise with maximal load executed slowly) with articulation  flexion angle equal to the flexion angle of competition exercise is more effective for the development of sport result.

Nevertheless the same exercise with maximal amplitude, can assure:

  1. the increase of level of strength expression in the movements with any flexion angles used in the exercise;
  2. a more reliable strengthening, in the time, of the whole muscular chain involved in the movement .

The half squat is without doubt more specific and more effective to develop the antigravitational strength, but this exercise needs an overload greater than the overload used in complete squat.

For this reason to obtain the effectively, in the time, from the half squat you should minimize its potential risk of accidents. First of all, the athlete must strengthen the muscular chain involved in the movement of the half squat: the muscles of the back and the ligaments of the articulation knee.

The complete squat allows to enforce the muscular chain and, at the same time, to develop the antigravitational strength.

On the base of the preceding considerations, we can say that the use of complete squat is more suitable for the not high level athlete or at the beginning of training cycle of the high level athletes.

There is a basic consideration to be done about the athlete.

Usually the lanky athletes, as can be the jumpers or basket ball players, don’t have a upper body muscular structure very developed, as we can find in the throwers. For this reason, in these cases, I usually recommend the use of complete squat.

For what is in my knowledge, Bondarchuk elaborate programs only for the throwers and this could be the reason of the different approach.

In mine training programs finalized to increase the height of jump (training for vertical jump) I used the combination of both means:

-        the complete squat, executed slowly with the maximal load, as mean finalized to develop the maximal strength;

-        the half squat jump with barbell (30% of maximal load) to develop the explosive strength.

It is probable that the use of half squat in the place of the complete squat, that I suggest, could assure a better growth of the height of jump, but should be very clear to the coach that doing this he could put in high grade of risk the athlete’s back and knees integrity.


Yuri Verkhoshansky

New Post 11/21/2007 10:39 PM
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Re: Half Squats 

Dr. Verkhoshansky

I also wonder your opinion about slow-concentric squats.. (i actually wonder for all the lifts) . i usually lower in 4 seconds to develop eccentric strength in my intensification phases, i lower in 2 seconds in accumulation phases because time under tension takes too long then. i dont pause at the bottom because i am already training isometric strength by maximal isometrics. I also see world-class coaches let their clients do 3-5 second concentric even on relative strength work. I have almost never did this because i lifted as fast as i can to get maximal motor unit recruitment. Your ideas will be appreciated.


Jason Dwight

New Post 11/22/2007 9:51 PM
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Re: Half Squats 

Jason....I too have been fascinated by this leg movement.  There have been studies done in Austrailia that have shown a 14% strength carry over in the range of motion in terms of strength gains.  In other words IF you are squatting down to 90-degree's there is a stength gain acturally down too 76%.

We have done some anecdotal testing with a Tendo Unit which measure bar speed in meters -per-second and wattage .  Some intresting data:  doing a pause squat (sitting back on an infalted Bosu Ball) and holding this for 4-seconds to lose the stretch-reflex with just 40% of max on the bar ...slows the movement down considerably because there is NO stretch shortning ect.. 


At the other end....having 40% of max on the bar and  ADDING wt-releasers (up too 120% of max ) and  of the wt comes OFF the bar....there is almost a turbo affect on the up movment.  


This is being accomplished with athletes with a training age of 5-6 years by the way.

Have a GREAT Day ! mac~

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