Comparison of thigh muscle activations in single leg exercises: bench squat, step-up, airborne lunge

Keywords: electromyoraphy, fitness, kinematic, phases


Background and Study Aim. Single leg exercises have some advantages in terms of time, practice and energy costs. However, the activation values that occur in different single leg exercises can be used for training planning. The aim of this research was to examine the thigh muscle activation values during three different single leg exercises. Materials and Methods. Ten healthy male volunteers who were students of the faculty of sports sciences participated in the study. In the study, the EMG ampilitude values of the vastus medialis (VM), vastus lateralis (VL), semitendinosus (SEM) and biceps femoris (BF) muscles were examined during Step-up, Bench Squat and Airborne Lunge exercises. At the same time, Quadriceps (VM+VL): Hamstring (SEM+BF) ratios were determined. Results. Significant differences were detected in all thigh muscles in the ascent and descent phases (p<0.05). While the greatest activation for the quadriceps group was seen in the airborne lunge, the greatest activation for the hamstring group was detected in the bench squat. A statistically significant difference was found in terms of exercise practices in the quadriceps: hamstring (Q:H) ratio (F(2,18)=12.282, p=.003). It was seen that the most balanced exercise was bench squat (Q:H=2.55), and the most unbalanced exercise (agonist dominant) was airborne lunge (Q:H=5.51). Conclusions. The findings show that the exercises examined can be selected depending on the purpose of the training. While bench squats can be preferred for more balanced co-activation the airborne lunge can be preferred for dominant knee extensors.


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Author Biographies

Fahri S. Çinarli, Inonu University; Faculty of Sport Sciences, Department of Movement and Training Science, Inonu University, Malatya, Turkey.
Sena Çinarli, Inonu University; Faculty of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation, Inonu University, Malatya, Turkey.
Emin Kafkas, Inonu University; Faculty of Sport Sciences, Department of Movement and Training Science, Inonu University, Malatya, Turkey.


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How to Cite
Çinarli F, Çinarli S, Kafkas E. Comparison of thigh muscle activations in single leg exercises: bench squat, step-up, airborne lunge. Pedagogy of Physical Culture and Sports. 2021;25(6):342-8.