Exercise of the Week: Top Half-Squat
The STACK Exercise of the Week will help you improve your overall sports performance—including strength, speed, conditioning and flexibility. This week, we highlight the Top Half-Squat, an exercise that improves lower-body power.
Who's Doing It
- Steven Jackson, St. Louis Rams RB
- Increase lower-body strength and explosive power
Sports Performance Benefits
The Top Half-Squat is a variation of the Squat that focuses on creating explosive power from an athletic position. Holding the bottom position allows energy to be stored before it is fully transferred in the powerful upward phase. (The chains offer variable resistance throughout the movement to increase the challenge.) Perform this exercise to increase speed and overall power when running or tackling.
Top Half-Squat How-To
- Adjust squat rack safety bars to slightly above navel
- Assume athletic stance with bar on back and feet slightly wider than shoulder-width
- Keeping back straight and knees behind toes, sink hips back and slowly lower into half-squat until bar rest on safety bars
- Hold for two-second count at bottom; keep muscles engaged
- Explosively extend hips and knees to drive up out of half-squat position
- Repeat for specified reps
Top Half-Squat Coaching Points
- Perform warm-up set of lightweight squats for six to eight reps
- Keep lower-body muscles engaged throughout exercise
- Add chains for an additional challenge
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