T Nation

Partial Squats for Strength


#1

Would like to hear about anyone's experiences using partial squats to develop strength / a bigger squat.

Your favorite depths?
Rep Schemes?
Lifting to pins vs using a box (which could be used just for height or to perform the movement in the westside box squat style -- I'm not implying either)
Did you change up any positioning from your normal squat style?
Mistakes/regrets?

I'm gonna try them out a couple times over the next week or so. I wanna hear other peoples' experiences for some pointers I could watch out for.


#2

All of my squats are partials. The only time I perform a squat “to depth” is in competitions. This approach has been pretty crucial to my success. I was stuck in a squat plateau for years while squatting full ROM, and once I stopped things finally took off.

I use a variety of squat ROMs via ROM progression, and for my squatting assistance work, I squat to about an inch or two above depth.

Box squats and pin squats did not work for me. Pin squats are tough to wiggle under, and I kept getting stapled to the box. I do much better suspending the bar with chains in thr rack and squatting bottom up.

Rep schemes are everywhere.


#3

I’ve been using high box squats (about 2 inches above my normal depth) at about 80-85% of my wrapped max for triples and it seems to have helped a bit. I don’t change much except for maybe a more vertical shin angle but that’s about it. Higher reps of full ROM squats at higher loads and/or with pauses has helped more IMO. Bear in mind for me ‘higher’ means more than three over 80%.

All that being said, I don’t think I’m strong enough to really need much beyond full ROM squats yet.


#4

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
All of my squats are partials. The only time I perform a squat “to depth” is in competitions. This approach has been pretty crucial to my success. I was stuck in a squat plateau for years while squatting full ROM, and once I stopped things finally took off.[/quote]

Said nobody with an impressive squat EVER. A quick look at your toob channel confirms that.

OP: Don’t bother with it. Nobody does it. Think about it. Why would you want to specifically train the most advantageous bio-mechanical position of a lift? Reducing the moment arm of the quads (the primary/limiting muscle group of a proper squat) on purpose is stupid. Doing the opposite would make more sense (paused squats etc.), but then again full squats don’t leave anything out really.


#5

[quote]infinite_shore wrote:

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
All of my squats are partials. The only time I perform a squat “to depth” is in competitions. This approach has been pretty crucial to my success. I was stuck in a squat plateau for years while squatting full ROM, and once I stopped things finally took off.[/quote]

Said nobody with an impressive squat EVER. A quick look at your toob channel confirms that.

OP: Don’t bother with it. Nobody does it. Think about it. Why would you want to specifically train the most advantageous bio-mechanical position of a lift? Reducing the moment arm of the quads (the primary/limiting muscle group of a proper squat) on purpose is stupid. Doing the opposite would make more sense (paused squats etc.), but then again full squats don’t leave anything out really.[/quote]

I feel it would take more than a quick look, as my last recorded max squat happened in 2012, haha. Sadly, only got the second attempt on film, never got the third that day, which was when I finally broke that plateau and hit 500 at 181. Thanks for viewing my channel!


#6

[quote]infinite_shore wrote:

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
All of my squats are partials. The only time I perform a squat “to depth” is in competitions. This approach has been pretty crucial to my success. I was stuck in a squat plateau for years while squatting full ROM, and once I stopped things finally took off.[/quote]

Said nobody with an impressive squat EVER. A quick look at your toob channel confirms that.

OP: Don’t bother with it. Nobody does it. Think about it. Why would you want to specifically train the most advantageous bio-mechanical position of a lift? Reducing the moment arm of the quads (the primary/limiting muscle group of a proper squat) on purpose is stupid. Doing the opposite would make more sense (paused squats etc.), but then again full squats don’t leave anything out really.[/quote]

I wouldn’t go quite that far.


#7

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:

[quote]infinite_shore wrote:

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
All of my squats are partials. The only time I perform a squat “to depth” is in competitions. This approach has been pretty crucial to my success. I was stuck in a squat plateau for years while squatting full ROM, and once I stopped things finally took off.[/quote]

Said nobody with an impressive squat EVER. A quick look at your toob channel confirms that.

OP: Don’t bother with it. Nobody does it. Think about it. Why would you want to specifically train the most advantageous bio-mechanical position of a lift? Reducing the moment arm of the quads (the primary/limiting muscle group of a proper squat) on purpose is stupid. Doing the opposite would make more sense (paused squats etc.), but then again full squats don’t leave anything out really.[/quote]

I feel it would take more than a quick look, as my last recorded max squat happened in 2012, haha. Sadly, only got the second attempt on film, never got the third that day, which was when I finally broke that plateau and hit 500 at 181. Thanks for viewing my channel!
[/quote]

So why is there no video of your current squats, if your approach works so damn well and you are in the habit to post videos of your training anyway? Only recent “squat” video I saw was some abortion of a fugly wrapped safety bar quarter “squat”.

I mean if someone says that fullrom squats are “not working” well, they better have something impressive to show for it…tis all I’m saying.


#8

[quote]usmccds423 wrote:

[quote]infinite_shore wrote:

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
All of my squats are partials. The only time I perform a squat “to depth” is in competitions. This approach has been pretty crucial to my success. I was stuck in a squat plateau for years while squatting full ROM, and once I stopped things finally took off.[/quote]

Said nobody with an impressive squat EVER. A quick look at your toob channel confirms that.

OP: Don’t bother with it. Nobody does it. Think about it. Why would you want to specifically train the most advantageous bio-mechanical position of a lift? Reducing the moment arm of the quads (the primary/limiting muscle group of a proper squat) on purpose is stupid. Doing the opposite would make more sense (paused squats etc.), but then again full squats don’t leave anything out really.[/quote]

I wouldn’t go quite that far. [/quote]

haha, quality post.

You should give it a try then. Maybe you will hit that amazing 405 squat you are after.

Or maybe have a peek at the “What training” thread.


#9

There’s also Brian Shwab (The Minimilist Method), PL multi World Record holder. He uses progressive ROM too. He usually talks about how he believes it helps him avoid injuries, and stay in the sport for the long haul.

I think the key is PROGRESSING how far you move the bar. Increase ROM over time. Just like you would increase weight, sets or reps. Don’t just move big weights through 2 inch paths and expect to become Superman.

Also, like anything else in the weightroom, its going to work great for some people and not so great for others. Its kind of a long term approach, so maybe its best for those who super-love a detailed, multi- month plan?


#10

[quote]infinite_shore wrote:

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:

[quote]infinite_shore wrote:

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
All of my squats are partials. The only time I perform a squat “to depth” is in competitions. This approach has been pretty crucial to my success. I was stuck in a squat plateau for years while squatting full ROM, and once I stopped things finally took off.[/quote]

Said nobody with an impressive squat EVER. A quick look at your toob channel confirms that.

OP: Don’t bother with it. Nobody does it. Think about it. Why would you want to specifically train the most advantageous bio-mechanical position of a lift? Reducing the moment arm of the quads (the primary/limiting muscle group of a proper squat) on purpose is stupid. Doing the opposite would make more sense (paused squats etc.), but then again full squats don’t leave anything out really.[/quote]

I feel it would take more than a quick look, as my last recorded max squat happened in 2012, haha. Sadly, only got the second attempt on film, never got the third that day, which was when I finally broke that plateau and hit 500 at 181. Thanks for viewing my channel!
[/quote]

So why is there no video of your current squats, if your approach works so damn well and you are in the habit to post videos of your training anyway? Only recent “squat” video I saw was some abortion of a fugly wrapped safety bar quarter “squat”.

I mean if someone says that fullrom squats are “not working” well, they better have something impressive to show for it…tis all I’m saying.[/quote]

Great question! After transitioning from powerlifting to strongman, I havr primarily been recording events training as a means to assess progress and find weaknesses. Since the 1rm squat is rarely ever featured in a comp, I don’t train it, so I have nothing to video. The SSB video in fact was shot for this site to explain my approach to training.

I did hit a tire squat for reps in my last comp. That was a blast. First time on a mastodon bar too, it was intense, haha.

Thanks for asking!


#11

I feel like barely parallel (like when using wider stance squats) is halfsquats already since it’s possible to go Pretty much ATG with closer stance, or frontsquats, or zercher…

All these fit together imo

The only time I’ve seen people use 1/4 squats a lot is when I trained with triple jump athletes that did these in a very specific, sport related way.
Thibaudeau also advocates them as a way to getting used to heavy weights, maybe for the trunk stability?


#12

[quote]infinite_shore wrote:

[quote]usmccds423 wrote:

[quote]infinite_shore wrote:

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
All of my squats are partials. The only time I perform a squat “to depth” is in competitions. This approach has been pretty crucial to my success. I was stuck in a squat plateau for years while squatting full ROM, and once I stopped things finally took off.[/quote]

Said nobody with an impressive squat EVER. A quick look at your toob channel confirms that.

OP: Don’t bother with it. Nobody does it. Think about it. Why would you want to specifically train the most advantageous bio-mechanical position of a lift? Reducing the moment arm of the quads (the primary/limiting muscle group of a proper squat) on purpose is stupid. Doing the opposite would make more sense (paused squats etc.), but then again full squats don’t leave anything out really.[/quote]

I wouldn’t go quite that far. [/quote]

haha, quality post.

You should give it a try then. Maybe you will hit that amazing 405 squat you are after.

Or maybe have a peek at the “What training” thread.[/quote]

Perhaps I will.


#13

Thought this merited an explanation

[quote]infinite_shore wrote:

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
All of my squats are partials. The only time I perform a squat “to depth” is in competitions. This approach has been pretty crucial to my success. I was stuck in a squat plateau for years while squatting full ROM, and once I stopped things finally took off.[/quote]

Said nobody with an impressive squat EVER. A quick look at your toob channel confirms that.

OP: Don’t bother with it. Nobody does it. Think about it. Why would you want to specifically train the most advantageous bio-mechanical position of a lift? Reducing the moment arm of the quads (the primary/limiting muscle group of a proper squat) on purpose is stupid. Doing the opposite would make more sense (paused squats etc.), but then again full squats don’t leave anything out really.[/quote]

If I had to describe my squat, it would be close to an Oly style / dive bomb looking squat. My quads grow very easily and are pretty large for my small body weight.

I’m pretty bad at holding tension in the squat and also at sitting back (the typical PL squat). My thoughts for the partials were to (1) have some heavier sets and do some overload (2) have some sets practicing holding tension and sitting back, focusing on the hams and glutes (3) practicing some squats from a deadstop


#14

[quote]Sutebun wrote:
Thought this merited an explanation

[quote]infinite_shore wrote:

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
All of my squats are partials. The only time I perform a squat “to depth” is in competitions. This approach has been pretty crucial to my success. I was stuck in a squat plateau for years while squatting full ROM, and once I stopped things finally took off.[/quote]

Said nobody with an impressive squat EVER. A quick look at your toob channel confirms that.

OP: Don’t bother with it. Nobody does it. Think about it. Why would you want to specifically train the most advantageous bio-mechanical position of a lift? Reducing the moment arm of the quads (the primary/limiting muscle group of a proper squat) on purpose is stupid. Doing the opposite would make more sense (paused squats etc.), but then again full squats don’t leave anything out really.[/quote]

If I had to describe my squat, it would be close to an Oly style / dive bomb looking squat. My quads grow very easily and are pretty large for my small body weight.

I’m pretty bad at holding tension in the squat and also at sitting back (the typical PL squat). My thoughts for the partials were to (1) have some heavier sets and do some overload (2) have some sets practicing holding tension and sitting back, focusing on the hams and glutes (3) practicing some squats from a deadstop
[/quote]

I think you are falling into a trap a lot of lifters (myself included) fall into. I also squat Oly style and if I want to (and I do) want to get better at squatting to parallel then I need to actually do the lift I want to get better at. Trying to do something else is a waste of time when you could just actually do the movement you are trying to get better at. Using other movements as main exercises might be an option after you have mastered the new technique, TBH I never actually got better at a lift by not doing it or doing it less in favor of another lift, but more advanced lifters than myself might disagree.


#15

I only used overloaded partial squats for a small part of my training, but my conclusion was that they are useful for getting your mind and body “used to” a heavier weight. Having 1.5x or 2x or more of your 1RM on your back will cause some adaptations that you won’t get with only using 90% of your 1RM. Most of that will be back strength and shoulder and ribcage stability, rather than hips or legs. At least that was my experience.


#16

CT has partial movements built into the 915 program. OP you might want to check it out.


#17

Jamie Lewis does partials occasionally.

…every day.