Deep Squats or Half Squats?

I am getting ready to design a strength-training program for a top-level 100m and 200m sprinter. What are the advantages (or disadvantages) of full range of motion squats over half squats? I would like to prescribe full range of motion, but would like to get everyone’s opinions on why or why not.

Much appreciation.


ass to calves, it develops overall hamstring development. dont worry about weight deep and bar speed.

Use the search function for the Archives,you’ll find a wealth of information on the topic!

This should be of some help!

Thanks, Nikoluski and Pakewi. That has helped. Due to my experience with malfunctioned search buttons at other forums, I have been stricken with search-button phobia. I will try to recover and use the search button in the future!

Again, thanks for your help.


I have always felt half-squats work great when they are introduced after a period of full-squats – like icing on the cake; the final touch.

If it works for you, it works!
It can be done this way, too.
You just need to know what you are doing with the load.

Full squats replicate the triple extenstion angles at the start, Quarter squats replicate the triple ext angles later on in a race; however, strength is not a concern later in race so the Quarter squats will benefit an athlete bc of the transfer over from Quarter squats to plyo’s. Strength to Power conversion.

Actually I wouldn’t use half squats but rather quarter squats. So in conclusion, full squats and quarter squats.

Strength to power conversion?

Eccentric strength is very important at MaxV.

Thanks for specifying, I meant full + quarter squats (terminology), not 90-degree half squats. The transfer to sprinting might be lesser to that of jumping (long/high/triple jump).

I would prescribe only full squats during a max. strength cycle (quarter squats are kind of redundant during this pahase). The quarter squats com into the picture during the maintenance phase, although, full squat is not forgotten; it’s there, but with reduced intensity and volume.

Some coaches don’t like using the quarter squat bc it builds up muscle strength to much greater degree then tendon/ligament strength if its the first time you have ever tried this. Secondly, the muscle will be stronger in this ROM and this will tighten it up so this may lead to injuries.

There is a similar comparison to this with sprinters not doing any cycling; moreover, the reason for this is that when you are on a stationary/non-stationary bike you work the muscles in that limited ROM without getting full ext (Mel Siff “Supertraining”). This is very bad for sprinters! I can personally say that this is the reason why my left leg got so tight on the outside muscleluture that it made my IT Band tight and the outside muscles of my leg so strong that the inside muscles shut themselves off. This is known as a protective mechanism so that my knee would not get damaged (at least that’s what the physio told me). This lead to my knee tracking improperly and my patella was getting pulled up and to the side as opposed to just being pulled up (after contracting the quads).

Getting back to the quarter squats, I would never just do quarter squats, I believe you must do full squats with them as well. In the maintenance phase you lower the volume but you can keep the intensity or just lower it to %90. I believe doing heavy quarter squats can help a sprinter with the strength they obtain in doing this exercise bc the power conversion to the track is automatic as Charlie states. Correct me if I’m wrong.

The quarter squat will also help with the myotactic stretch reflex when the athlete does depth jumps and/or plyo’s; for example, when doing plyo’s over hurdles the deepest you go in the hurdle jumps is into a quarter squat position. Therefore, quarter squats would seem like an excellent exercise selection as the competition phase approaches.

You can perform high speed motion doing half squat much more than full squat,
if you do full squat at high speeds, it´s all a question of;
how “good” is your joint genetics and how long until a knee injurie.

just a straight-forward opinion- having done half-squats at significant weight for all of HS, i moved to full squats this year in college. I developed a whole new area of muscle mass in my upper quads that i hadn’t had before, and i haven’t run slower in 3 years. I’m sure there are a lot of other factors at play, but i don’t think i get anything from full squats i wasn’t getting from halves. along with other things, they have contributed to slowing my time over 100hh by over a second.

some people im sure feel differently.

When you switched to full squats, what were your repitition and set ranges, and what kind of periodized plan were you using?


Simple, to avoid a knee injury only due the full squats in your first two sets at less than %90; i.e., %80-87.5

Secondly, do your last two sets at parallel or 90 degress; with intensities for example, at %90-100.

I would not advocate doing full squats over %90 to be on the safe side (except for testing purposes) and I also would not use any DE methods from the WSBC with full squats!

The injuries that can come from the full squat done very fast are numerous. That is why I think that a slow-controlled normal eccentric motion should be utilized; however, on the concentric contraction there is no limit to how fast you can go (i.e. as fast as you can possibly accelerate the weight).

BTW, one possible reason for injuries seen during full squats are that athletes decide to all of sudden switch from doing parallel squats to full squats with the same intensities! They then get injured and wonder why? Duh, maybe you should allow your body to adapt to the full squats in the same manner as parallel squats! In other words, the tendon/ligament strength has to built up in that ROM of the full squats in order to keep par with the muscles.

So one way of doing this is when you move to the full squat only do %70 for the first month; also, at this same time you can still do parallel squats at +%90 to keep your strength. Then in the next month you can move to %80. In the third month %85 and in the fourth %90! This is a gradual progression and each individual will be different.

The same injury types can be seen when switching from bench press to dumbell bench press; intuitively, you are likely to have an exponential increase in injury risk bc of the increased ROM in the dumbell bench press especially if you lower the dumbells beneath the level of your chest! Duh, can anyone say “Pec Tear”?

Have we learned nothing from “TUDOR O. BOMPA”! Build tendon/ligament strength first then build muscle strength!

Any indication of reverse “transfer over” from plyo’s to quarter squats that might suggest a possible use of full squats and plyos during a Max strength phase while shifting to quarter squats and plyos (possibly in reduced numbers) during a maintenance phase?

Do have actual statistics for the comments above?


For half squats I usually did 3 sets of 6-8 reps around 185. my 2-rep max was 225, for some reason i never did a 1-rep test. I never did a formal test for 1/3 squats, but in the course of doing them in a workout I was up to 250x6 fairly comfortably.

Since switching to full squats I am usually doing anywhere from 3-5 sets of 4-8 reps. Longer earlier, fewer in comp phase. They are often paired with something else, i.e. an olympic lift or a split squat depending on what kind of workout it is. After not lifting lower for all of last summer I was able to do ~145 for a full (our plates are in kgs) and during sets now i think i have done more like ~136.

currently we are doing them very light (60% effort) and fast along with snatches the day before meets. Reps has shifted to something more like 6x2 +2 heavier singles… this week we shift down even more to 4x2 +2 singles.

as for periodization, it hasn’t been easy to discern this season. Previously it had been more clearly a long to short program.

thats the best i can do to explain, hope that clarifies some things.

Nope, just what I’ve heard and read about at this site and from personal experience. It just makes commen sense that when drop the wt down very fast in a full squat position with near maximal loads, then the injury risk becomes exponentially greater. You can still do DE WSBC in the half squats with say less than %80 and be very safe (I am not sure but I think WSBC does DE at %50-70). The only problem I see when doing DE is with full squats and with loads greater than %80.

Full squats that are done with normal speed should not present a problem; however, to play it safe I think the suggestions I made in my previous post are adequate.

I am not sure of your question but what I think you are saying is that you can switch from plyo’s and full squat from the MxS phase to quarter squats and plyo’s in the maintenance phase. You can do this; however, realize that the quarter squat (in terms of power conversion) will only help you in the middle-later stages of the race when you are more upright. So eliminating full squats from the maintenance phase will hurt you start somewhat IMHO. That is why I think you should do both full squat and quarter squat in the maintenance phase; albeit, in lower volume but still at very high intensity (say %100 intensity in MxS phase is dropped to %90 in the maintenance phase).