By Fadhil Hussain, Health Sciences; Kelsey Jones, Health Sciences; Noah Gray, Health Sciences
Advisor: Rachel Gleason
Abstract: Previous studies focus on various aspects of a squat, such as activation of trunk stabilizers, activation during different squats, and activation of lower limb muscles due to variations in foot placement and squat depth. While studies have addressed muscle activation and foot placement, it is of interest for college students to learn proper technique in order to activate certain groups of muscles. The aim of the project was to determine if variations in foot placement have an effect on gluteus medius and rectus femoris muscle activation during a barbell back squat. The population included college students from the University of Cincinnati who were free from musculoskeletal injury and had no medical condition that restricts exercise/lifting. Participants performed three sets of 8 reps, with 50% bodyweight loaded on the bar. The first set was performed with feet hip width apart, and each following set was performed with a 3 inch wider foot placement than the last. Surface EMG data was collected from the rectus femoris and gluteus medius muscles throughout the session. There were miniscule changes in muscle activation and not enough data to verify results as the project was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic, but as stance widened, gluteus medius activation decreased. This is contrary to previous literature which have observed hip muscle activation to increase with a wider foot stance. Future directions could include testing more variations of squats to determine ideal techniques for muscle activation.