Exercise Library
Parallel Back Squat

AKA Half squat, partial squat
The parallel back squat is an abbreviated back squat, used in weightlifting to strengthen the sticking point of the squat, and often as the only back squat variation in strength & conditioning programs for other athletes.
Perform a back squat, but stop the descent when the thighs are horizontal.
For a lot more information on the squat in general, see the following articles:  
This variation places more strain on the knees than full-depth squats, so only use it if you have healthy knees and plan to take care of yourself.
The parallel back squat forces the lifter to stop and change directions at the most mechanically disadvantaged point in the movement, where the leverage is the worst. This will build strength in this position, which can help lifters improve their ability to drive through the sticking points of their cleans and squats.
There are a number of possibilities when it comes to programming the parallel back squat. Most common will be sets of 3-6 reps and using this variation as one of 2-3 or more squat sessions each week. It can also be used for back-off sets following sets of full-depth back squats.  
The parallel back squat can be performed as a pause squat or with prescribed tempos (usually slow eccentric movement).

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