Fitness Industry Madness- Squat Depth

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Alright so I saw something interesting last week and it has to do with squat depth.

You can check out the post and link to subsequent article here. 

Squat depth is arguably one of the most nauseating issues in the fitness industry. No one can get along and everyone has an opinion.

Now we have 1/4 squats entering the mix for athletes. I can only imagine the moans and groans coming from the industry.


So what the proposed research states is that 1/4 squats are better for jump and sprint performance in athletes. I can see how this works because sports are usually played in a hip hinge which is close to a 1/4 squat.

The post is also a link to an article about how partial range of motion is not effective for building muscle. Training the muscle through its full range of motion is important for developing muscular strength.

I guess it is not good enough to just let these two different goals and methods be different. Now the two get confused and all hell breaks loose.

This is also not new information. Cal Dietz spoke about using a “sport squat” in his book Triphasic Training. This was a 1/4 squat which was used in the preseason to help transfer training to sport.

But it did get me thinking. When we train athletes the goal is to improve their performance on the field. The method is not set in stone.

Why cant we have different tools for different jobs.

If we want to train the 1/4 squat/hip hinge/ sport specific pattern we should use exercises that promote that position. The hex bar deadlift, single leg squat, RDL, and step up can all train strength in that specific pattern. We can still have full range of motion exercises that train that pattern if we must.

Transfer to sport is only as effective as the engine behind that athlete. What I mean is that athletes are going to struggle to develop specific power to the sprint if they are overall weak. Here full range of motion squats and lunges can help build lower body muscular strength.

We do not train in a vacuum so we can hit on different qualities with training. The priority of the cycle or phase might be one thing but other accessory work can hit on other aspects.

Before we start worrying about what kind of squats our athletes should perform there are better things to put our effort into.

I would still like our athletes to squat to or lower than parallel depending on the individual.

I want all of our athletes to develop a strong hex bar deadlift.

I will continue to give out single leg work to complement the two above.

As far as transfer, I would like the weight room to bring the strength that an athlete needs to the turf to be able to run fast, change direction quickly, and jump high/far.

I know that athletes with strong legs run fast. Squats build strong legs. 1/4 squats might not be good for building strong legs.

The same goes for a deadlift. An athlete with a strong deadlift is going to have a better chance to learn how to properly extend the hip to develop sprinting speed.

This industry never ceases to amaze me because someone is always looking to reinvent the wheel. Every new thing that comes out has either been done before or only has a really small place in training.

The things that have always worked, still work, and will continue to work. Go with what works and don’t get caught up with minute details like squat depth and transfer vs. muscle development. No one has enough energy for that.