Trunk muscle activity during different types of low weighted squat exercises in normal and forefoot standing conditions.J Sports Sci. 2020 Dec; 38(24):2774-2781.JS
Squats are considered a useful basic exercise for trunk muscle activation. To gain knowledge about trunk muscle activity patterns depending on the barbell position in beginners, we examined squats with low weights in the back, front, and overhead position.
Twelve healthy adults (6 women/6 men, age: 29.1 (SD 8.0) y, height: 173.4 (6.9) cm, body mass: 70.1 (9.1) kg) randomly performed the three barbell squats in normal and in forefoot standing. Surface electromyography from external (EO) and internal oblique, rectus abdominis, and erector spinae (ES) was recorded. The centre of pressure path length (CoP) and the motion of the lumbar spine were captured.
The overhead squat revealed the highest percent muscle activity, where EO (p = 0.009) and ES (p = 0.03) showed the greatest activity. Forefoot standing did not change overall trunk muscle activities (.05< Hedges' g <.29, 0.17 < p < 0.95) although longer CoP path length (.45 < g < 1.3, p < 0.05) was measured.
Squat exercises with low weight are useful to activate trunk muscles. Activity increases with the difficulty of the squat by frontal or overhead loading, but not by standing on the forefoot. The low weighted squat can target well core muscle activity in training with beginners or in rehabilitation.