Petrella, J. K., Groussard, T. G., Towns, J. R., Hensarling, R. W., & Jung, A. P. (2012). Differences in electromyography activity of five lower limb muscles during one-legged and two-legged squats. Presentation 1857 at the 59th Annual Meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine, San Francisco, California; May 29-June 2, 2012.

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This study examined the electrical activity of the quadriceps, hamstrings, adductors, gastrocnemius, and tibialis anterior during a single-leg and double-leg squat in male collegiate athletes (N = 11). Electromography of the muscle groups was recorded during five repetitions of dual-legged squats and single-leg squats. Ss performed the squat in time with a metronome such that each complete squat occurred in two seconds resulting in total of 10 seconds of activity for each trial. For the dual-leg movement, Ss were instructed to squat until the thigh was parallel to the ground and then return to a standing position. Ss then recovered for 3-5 minutes and then with the dominant leg performed five single-legged squats which were completed while standing on a 17-inch high bench. Ss were instructed to lower themselves until their non-dominant leg touched the floor, then return to a standing position. This movement was repeated five times at a cadence of two seconds per single-leg squat.

Mean RMS EMG activity for the hamstring and gastrocnemius was significantly higher during the single-leg squat compared to the dual-leg squat. No significant differences were detected in adductor activity, tibialis anterior activity, or quadriceps activation.

Implication. Single-leg squats result in greater lower limb activation for the same number of repetitions when compared to dual-leg squats. Same leg activity in two supposedly similar actions produces different muscle activation levels.

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