Support moment distribution and induced acceleration analysis of the barbell back squat

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Education, Health & Human Development


The barbell squat exercise is performed in settings ranging from rehabilitation through to developing muscle size, strength and power. Unfortunately, the lower extremity coordination producing the squat is not clearly understood. This thesis involves two studies evaluating how lower limb joints and muscles coordinate varied squat performance. Study one included 19 females who performed squats at three randomized depths (above parallel, parallel, below parallel) and three loads (unloaded, 50%, 85% 1 repetition maximum). Inverse dynamics analysis revealed that peak hip and ankle extensor moments varied with load but not depth and were greatest when using 85% 1 repetition maximum. Within each depth, as load increased so did peak knee extensor moments. Peak knee extensor moments were greatest when squatting below parallel with load. Within each depth as load increased contribution of the hip increased whereas the knee decreased. Ankle contribution was only influenced by load. When squatting to deep depths with load, the contribution of the hip decreased while the knee increased. In study two, 13 females squatted to the same 3 depths using 85% of their 1 repetition maximum at each respective depth. Performance was evaluated by estimating the individual muscle force production and the individual muscle contribution to whole body acceleration using a musculoskeletal model. The gluteus maximus and adductors increased peak force to parallel while the hamstrings and rectus femoris increased to below parallel. At deep depths, the vasti decreased peak force while the hamstrings and rectus femoris increased peak force. The induced acceleration of the vasti at transition decreased with depth while the hamstrings and rectus femoris increased. Because muscles can instantaneously accelerate all joints in the body, it's possible that at transition the hamstrings accelerated the hip and knee into extension while the rectus femoris also accelerated the knee and hip into extension while the soleus accelerated the ankle and knee into extension. In conclusion, a complex coordination of the lower extremity is used performing the squat. Varied coordination indicates that depth and load specificity is important and should be taken into consideration when programming based on the status and goals of the individual.




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