Muscle activation varies between high-bar and low-bar back squat.PeerJ. 2020; 8:e9256.P
Differences in the muscular activity between the high-bar back squat (HBBS) and the low-bar back squat (LBBS) on the same representative group of experienced powerlifters are still scarcely investigated. The main purpose of the study was to compare the normalized bioelectrical activity and maximal angles within single homogeneous group between the HBBS and LBBS for 60% one repetition maximum (1RM), 65% 1RM and 70% 1RM.
Twelve healthy men (age 24.3 ± 2.8 years, height 178.8 ± 5.6 cm, body mass 88.3 ± 11.5 kg), experienced in powerlifting performed HBBS and LBBS with comparable external loads equal 60% 1RM, 65% 1RM, and 70% 1RM. Electromyography (EMG) signals of muscle groups were synchronously recorded alongside kinematic data (joints angle) by means of a motion capture system.
EMG activity during eccentric phase of squat motion were significantly higher during LBBS than in HBBS for all selected muscles (60% 1RM and 65% 1RM) (p < 0.05). All examined muscles were more activated during concentric phase of the squat cycle (p < 0.05). In the concentric phase, significant differences between the loads were generally not observed between just 5% 1RM change in load level for LBBS.
Our results confirmed significant differences in muscles activation between both squat techniques. Muscle activity during eccentric phase of squat motion were significantly higher during LBBS than HBBS. The differences are crucial for posterior muscle chain during eccentric phase of squat cycle.