Quarter squats are often misunderstood as half reps, but they are one of the best tools you can use to improve maximum speed.
Lots of people encourage going as deep as you can into a squat to get the full range of motion for maximum benefits, but it’s not always the best way forward.
There are a number of benefits to using a quarter squat, which is essentially a squat with a quarter of the range of movement, to improve explosive power.
Here’s why you should be using it if you want to accelerate quicker and outsprint your competitors.
The Evidence Behind Quarter Squats
There’s some considerable research that shows the benefits of quarter squats. An American study published in a journal called Human Movement looked at using the exercise to improve speed over 40 yards and vertical height jump.
These two measurements give a good indication of the raw power an athlete possesses.
A group of college athletes carried out a 16-week strength training routine involving for sessions a week.
The athletes were split into three groups, each of which performed a different type of squat in two of the sessions - quarter squats, half squats or full squats.
Athletes who did the quarter squat improved their 40-yard dash time by approximately four times more than the athletes doing full squats and approximately twice as much as athletes on half squats.
They also improved their vertical jump height by more than half an inch in comparison to less than 0.3 of an inch in the half squats and less than 0.1 of an inch in the full squats.
Why Are Quarter Squats Better For Sprint Speed?
There are many potential reasons quarter squats are so much more effective for improving your sprint speed, but there are two standout factors.
The first is that you can lift a heavier load. If you aren’t going as deep into the squat, it’s far easier to shift much higher weights.
The second is that it’s a much more specific movement to sprinting. When you run, your knee doesn’t bend further than 45 degrees. The movement pattern is much more similar to that of a quarter squat than a full squat.
Making your strength training more specific to the exercise in which you’re trying to improve performance is often an effective way of reaching your desired outcome.