A quick internet search for “soccer squats” will reveal tons of videos of players doing low or no load half squats. While half squats have a time and place in the training plan of athletes and there’s nothing wrong with bodyweight movements, the benefits of loaded, full range back squats for athletes has been validated by both research and observations of elite athletes over the years. The full range of motion (slightly below parallel) barbell back squat is perhaps my most used resistance training exercise. I believe it should be used year round with most athletes. With soccer players in particular, I believe emphasizing range of motion in squatting can be very beneficial as it helps to ensure ‘length and strength’ in the most important and most likely-to-be-injured lower extremity muscles. Here’s a video where I explain this philosophy with the North Carolina Courage.
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