T Nation

Full vs Parallel Squats, Vertical


My question is which would increase vertical leap more, parallel squats or full squats and how so?


Full Squats, because they work EVERY muscle that is of some importance for your vertical.


Full Squats. You might THINK it makes more sense to train your jump from a range of motion that's closer to jumping. But you really need to train through the full range of a squat in order to get the extra edge in the explosive partial movement that jumping is.


Cleans and snatches will bring up your vert more than squats.


well im already doing cleans snatchs jump squats etc,step ups,lungles,but im talking just full squats in comparison with parallel.




Might wanna consider bands too


I believe Kelly Bagget has a good article on jumping.



Not necessarily. If an athlete's limit strength is the main thing holding him back, squats and deadlifts will be more productive. Plus, not everyone wants to spend six weeks learning something that deadlifts, box squats, and reactive work will do just as well.


shut up and squat


As far as what helps your vert most, that depends. Some people need limit strength development, and squats/DL will benefit them most. Some people need quickness/reactive strength, and things like plyometrics and OL's will benefit them most.

But regarding full versus parallel, definitely go full squats. I used to do parallel all the time. I switched permanently to full squats, and had the humbling reduction in amount of weight I could lift versus parallel squats.

After only a month of doing full squats, I had noticable improvements in my VMO development. Also, when I played basketball for the first time after starting full squats, I had very noticable increases in feeling of power and explosivenesss when jumping.

I also probably gained 2 inches in my jumping ability, as I could previously only dunk with one hand, but after that month I was finally able to dunk with two hands. The full squats seemed to give me just enough height to get that two handed dunk.

Granted, these weren't vert testing numbers, these were dynamic jumps on a basketball court, but it was very measurable to me in terms of how much height I was able to add relative to a basketball rim.


Would anyone venture to say that Box Squats with Bands are the best for building the muscles you jump with?


I say use both. You need to work full ROM to work all the muscles, and you can lift heavier parallels (even quarter squats) to make you stronger in the ROM that you use for jumping.


I think he was referring to power cleans and power snatches, a lot easier to learn than reguler oly lifts (you only need 10 minutes). Power jerks are also great in that regard.


They're great, but most people probably don't need to bother with bands until they can squat around 2.25 - 2.5x bodyweight or so, or have a pretty good vertical (~28 inches+).


There's still a significant skill component to these lifts, and the time it takes you to work up to poundages that will actually provide some benefit is time you could be spending doing things that will help.

Not that I'm trying to discourage Olympic lifting. If you want to, go right ahead, but it seems like some people endow them with magical attributes and treat them as an athletic cure-all when they should be treated like everything else: useful tools with their own set of benefits and drawbacks.


Well said. One should still do regular strength stuff in conjunction with oly lifts to maximize gains.


Research supports the fact that greater squat depths lead to greater muscle activation as measured by EMG.

Caterisano, A., Ross, M.F., Pellinger, T.K., Woodruff, K., Lewis, V.C, Booth, W., and Kahdra, T. The effect of back squat depth on the EMG activity of 4 superficial hip and thigh muscles. J. Strength Cond. Res. 16: 428-432. 2002.

EMG was measured at "partial, parallel, and full squat" depth. A 34.5% increase in activity of the glute maximus was observed at full squat depth. If you want to jump higher, and maximal strength is your limiting factor you definitely want to increase the strength of your hip extensors (glutes and hammies). Go to full depth.


Good post. Going all the way down definitely calls upon the glutes way more than parallel or partial squats.


I agree with StonesAreFun that cleans and snatches will bring up your vert more than squats. However if I had to choose, full squats simply because they fire a larger number of motor neurons and recruit more muscle fibres.