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Effect of Back Squat Depth on Lower-Body Postactivation Potentiation

Esformes, Joseph I.1; Bampouras, Theodoros M.2

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: November 2013 - Volume 27 - Issue 11 - p 2997–3000
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31828d4465
Original Research

Esformes, JI and Bampouras, TM. Effect of back squat depth on lower-body postactivation potentiation. J Strength Cond Res 27(11): 2997–3000, 2013—Postactivation potentiation (PAP) refers to increased muscular force generation after previous muscular activity. Various studies have used different squat variations as a PAP stimulus; however, different squat depths can have different mechanical and physiological demands that could yield different PAP levels and subsequent performance. The study aimed to compare the effects of the parallel (PS) and quarter (QS) squat on PAP. Twenty-seven, semiprofessional, male rugby union players (mean ± SD, 18 ± 2 years, 87.2 ± 5.4 kg, 180.7 ± 5.1 cm) performed a countermovement jump (BL-CMJ) followed by a 10-minute rest. Subsequently, they performed 3 PS or QS, at each squat’s respective 3-repetition maximum load, in a randomized counterbalanced order. After a 5-minute rest, another countermovement jump (CMJ) was performed (POST-CMJ). Countermovement jump height (JH), peak power (PP), impulse (I), and flight time (FT) were recorded using a contact mat. BL-CMJ and POST-CMJ pairwise comparisons for all variables were conducted for each squat type to examine performance changes. Delta values were compared to examine whether one squat produced better CMJ results. Both squats induced PAP for all the variables (p < 0.05), although PS produced better results than QS (p < 0.05; JH, 4.6 ± 2 vs. 3.5 ± 2 cm; I, 15 ± 6 vs. 12 ± 5 N&middot;s; PP, 285 ± 109 vs. 215 ± 96 W; FT, 34 ± 23 vs. 26 ± 11 milliseconds for PS vs. QS). This is the first study to demonstrate that different squat types can induce PAP and that PS is more beneficial for subsequent CMJ performance compared with QS. It is suggested that the deeper depth of PS, which increases gluteus maximum activation and work produced, is responsible for the increased CMJ performance.

1Cardiff School of Sport, Cardiff Metropolitan University, Cardiff, United Kingdom; and

2Faculty of Health and Wellbeing, Sport and Physical Activity, University of Cumbria, Lancaster, United Kingdom

Address correspondence to Dr. Joseph I. Esformes,

Copyright © 2013 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.