Lower extremity biomechanics during a regular and counterbalanced squat.J Strength Cond Res. 2012 Sep; 26(9):2417-25.JS
If the efficiency of human movement patterns could be improved using exercise, this could lead to more effective musculoskeletal disease-injury prevention and rehabilitation programs. It has been suggested that an efficient squat movement pattern emphasizes the use of the large hip extensors instead of the smaller knee extensors. The purpose of this study was to determine whether a counterbalanced squat (CBS) could produce a more hip-dominant and less knee-dominant squat movement pattern as compared with a regular squat (RS). There were 31 recreationally trained college-aged participants (15 male, 16 female) who performed 10 squats (5 CBS and 5 RS), while segment kinematics, ground reaction forces, and muscle (gluteus maximus [GM], quadriceps, hamstrings) electromyographic (EMG) activations were recorded. Peak sagittal plane net joint moments and joint ranges of motion at the hip, knee, and ankle joints along with peak and integrated EMG activation levels for all 3 muscles were compared using analysis of variance (squat type × sex). The results revealed that the CBS increased the hip joint moment and GM activation, while it decreased the knee joint moment and quadriceps activation as compared with the RS. Therefore, the CBS produces a more hip-dominant and less knee-dominant squat movement pattern and could be used in exercise programs aimed at producing more hip-dominant movement patterns.