Best Exercises to Run Faster and Jump Higher

This research is given to us by the strengthandconditioningresearch.com. It is good information if you are writing programming or if you are an athlete trying to write your own program and decide what’s the best way to increase your vertical and/or your speed. So they took 28 college-aged athletes and separated ’em into three groups. They made some groups do a full squat, the other groups did a half squat and a quarter squat. All other exercises were the same. They did a pre- and post-measurement of their 40-yard dash and vertical jump, and their workouts consisted of four workouts a week, two upper body and two lower body. The lower body workouts consisted of squats, power cleans, lunges, leg curls, and step ups. The squats were the only variable, once again, covering the core, half or full squats. There’s a couple graphs we’re gonna post so that you could see the results and we’ll talk about them.

Okay, so here’s the first graph and this just makes sense. If the person was training in the quarter squat, their greatest increase in strength for a one rep max after the 16 weeks of training was in the quarter squat. Likewise, if they did the half squat, their greatest increase in strength is in the half squat one rep max test at the end, and the full squat, the one rep max increase was greatest for that one. Okay, and here’s the second graph. This shows what the difference in vertical height in 40-yard sprint time was after 16 weeks of training in quarter, full, and half squat.

This is where you see the quarter squat gaining about 15% increase of vertical jump height, and the half squat was the second best with about a 7% increase. Full squat, only about 1%. 40-yard dash was also improved. Remember, a decrease is better for running, so the quarter squat showed a decrease of 2% versus the half squat being a little less than 1, and the full squat being roughly the same speed beginning and after training. So in order to understand why strength, or squat strength is very joint-specific and translates well to certain things like jumping and running better, let’s look at some pictures of a sprinter and a person doing a vertical jump.

Okay, in this picture we see Usain Bolt and Justin Gatlin in a track meet. Keep in mind, you’re talking about when the foot is on the floor, that’s when you’re having your drive and your power, not the right leg of Usain Bolt that’s just pulling through. So, look at the joint angle, the knee, for all the sprinters and the study did the quarter squat from 55 to 65 degrees of deflection. That falls right in the range of what angle these gentlemen have while sprinting. And remember, specificity of the squat strength said that you are stronger in the area that you would challenge yourself, so the quarter squat yielded a higher result of strength in a one rep max lighter of quarter squats. So, it would make sense that when you’re sprinting, if you train doing quarter squats, it would increase your speed. Here we see an athlete preparing to do a vertical jump.

Notice there at the bottom of the position, that looks like a quarter squat, it’s pretty close to the degree of deflection that the study had performed for their athletes. And remember, in that study, if the athletes were exercising in the quarter squat, they became strongest in the quarter squat, so they yielded the best results during the quarter squat, so it would make sense for vertical jumps. Also, if you are trying to increase your vertical jump that you would try to do exercises that would involve a quarter squat. So, in summary, if you’re trying to increase your vertical height jump or increase your speed for sprinting, quarter squats might be best.

There are some studies that contradict the information about vertical jumps, but there isn’t much information about different depths of squat in sprinting, so this is one of the few studies out there. So, if you’re writing programming and/or trying to train yourself to increase your ability to jump and/or have better speed, take this into consideration.






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