Ask any trainer or guy in the gym about squatting and they will say something like, “ass to the ground when squatting!” There are the legendary pictures of Tom Platz who had the best legs in bodybuilding in the rock bottom position of the squat, so deep squatting is the only way to squat right? Well, not according to a new research study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. The purpose of the study was to examine the effects of 2 different training methods on dynamic and isometric measures of maximal strength. Seventeen recreationally trained men were assigned to 2 groups: full range of motion squats and full ROM with partial ROM squat for the 7-week training intervention.
At the end of seven weeks, both groups significantly increased 1RM squat over the 7-week protocol, with the full squat group improving by 5.1% and the mixed squat group improving by 8.2%. The results of the study did favor the combo squat group on an absolute basis for both 1RM squat and 1RM partial squat, indicating a possible positive effect of combining full and partial range movements. However, for those who seek to maximize strength – particularly those competing in powerlifting or other strength-related endeavors – it would seem to be best to use a combination of partials and full squats.
The researchers findings suggest that partial ROM squats in conjunction with full ROM squats may be an effective training method for improving maximal strength and early force-time curve characteristics in men with previous strength training experience. Practically, partial squats may be beneficial for strength and power athletes during a strength-speed mesocycle while peaking for competition.
Bazyler CD, Sato K, Wassinger CA, Lamont HS, Stone MH. The efficacy of incorporating partial squats in maximal strength training. J Strength Cond Res. 2014 Nov;28(11):3024-32.