Half Squat targets the top part of the quadriceps muscles with secondary emphasis on the hamstrings and gluteus muscles.

This is an effective variation of the Barbell Full Squat for those who have limited hip flexibility and knee problems.

Runners can add the Half Squat as part of their Strength and Conditioning program to prevent “Runner’s Knee” a condition brought on by normal wear and tear from running.

Basketball and football players can use the Half Squat to improve positioning strength and their standing vertical jump.

Half Squats How To

  • Position yourself under a squat rack and place the barbell on your upper traps.
  • Keep your core tight, inhale then un- rack the weight. Move one step back and assume the standard squat position, feet at shoulder width distance. Angle your feet outward.
  • Keep your core tight, look straight ahead, take a deep breath then initiate the squat by bending at the hips and flexing the knees.
  • Descend until you reach a depth that is above that of a full squat or before the top of your thighs are parallel to the floor, hold the position for a count of “one”.
  • Keep your core tight, exhale then squat up by extending the hip and the knee.
  • At the top position, do not lock out your knee. Maintain a slight bend to prevent shearing forces.
  • Repeat the movement until you have completed the targeted number of reps.

Form and Technique

You can switch between a High Bar Squat or Low Bar Squat position when doing Half Squats. It would depend on what your goals are.

If you want to strengthen the area above your knees for running then a High Bar Squat position would be better as it will keep your body in a more upright stance.

If you want to build more hip and leg strength for football, rugby or basketball, a Low Bar Squat position would be more suited as you can load up more weight.

Because the depth is not as low as the Full Squat, you use heavy weights more safely with the Half Squat.

VariationsZercher Squat

Routine for Strength: 3 sets x 12-15 reps

Routine for Muscle Gains: 4-5 sets x 6-8 reps

Half Squat

How To Do Half Squat