Escamilla, R. A., Bonacci, L., Burnham, T., Busch, J., D'Anna, K., Edwards, B., Eliopoulos, P., MacLeod, T., Mowbray, R., Imamura, R. T., & Hreljac, A. (2006). A biomechanical analysis of squatting and lunging type exercises. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 38(5), Supplement abstract 1692.

The purpose of this study was to compare muscle activity among the wall squat, forward lunge, side lunge, and one-leg squat and between technique variations (short and long foot positions). Healthy males and females (N = 19) served as Ss. Surface electrodes were positioned in pairs over the rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, medial and lateral hamstrings, gastrocnemius, hip adductors, and gluteus maximus. Each S used 12 repetitions of maximum intensity for each exercise.

Over the knee angle range, all exercises produced high quadriceps activity, moderate hip adductor and gluteus maximus activity, and low-to-moderate hamstrings and gastrocnemius activity. The long-stride forward lunge, side lunge, and one-leg squat consistently produced significantly greater quadriceps, hamstrings, adductor, gastrocnemius, and gluteus maximus activity compared to the short-stride forward lunge, long-foot-position wall squat, and short-foot-position wall squat. All muscles, except the gluteus maximus, were significantly greater with the long-stride forward lunge compared to the short-stride forward lunge. There were no significant differences between the wall squat (feet closer to the wall) and the wall squat (feet further away from the wall).

Implication. The forward lunge (long stride), side lunge, and one-leg squat were the most effective exercises in recruiting lower extremity musculature, while the wall squat exercises (both with the feet closer and further away from the wall) were the least effective. The effect of foot position did affect muscle activity during the lunge, with a long stride lunge producing significantly greater lower extremity musculature compared to a short stride lunge. However, there were no significant differences in muscle activity for any of the tested muscles between the wall squat with the feet close to the wall and the wall squat with the feet further away from the wall. The technique change of foot position in lunging type exercises produces altered demands on the musculature, suggesting different actions (neuromuscular patterns).

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