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PHYSIOLOGICAL AREA   

Medicina dello Sport 2022 June;75(2):187-97

DOI: 10.23736/S0025-7826.22.03858-3

Copyright © 2022 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English, Italian

Engagement of abdominal muscles during variations of squats

Rodrigo R. BINI

La Trobe Rural Health School, La Trobe University Bendigo, Bendigo, Australia


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BACKGROUND: Even though the contribution of core muscles during exercise has been acknowledged, this study addresses a gap in comparing the engagement of the transverse abdominis (TrA), external (EO) and internal oblique (IO) during variations of squats (i.e. double leg, single leg, trap bar, safety bar) and during loaded squats.
METHODS: Fourteen participants performed prone planks, double leg (DL squat with and without external load) and single leg squats (SL squat with and without external load), trap bar deadlifts and safety bar squats in one session. Ultrasound images of the abdominal wall and full body motion were captured to determine muscle thickness and length.
RESULTS: EO muscle thickness was larger for the prone plank compared to the DL unloaded (P=0.02, d=1.87), DL squats with 25% (P=0.02, d=1.13) and 50% (P=0.01, d=0.95) of body mass, safety bar squat (P<0.01, d=1.40) and trap bar deadlift (P=0.01, d=1.93). No main effects were observed for the TrA (P=0.06) or for the IO (P=0.51).
CONCLUSIONS: TrA and IO did not differ between variations of the squat and had a similar engagement to the prone plank. For the EO, only the SL loaded squat resulted in similar thickness to the prone plank, with other exercises resulting in reduced engagement. Abdominal muscle engagement is similar during squats than during a prone plank, except for the EO.


KEY WORDS: Ultrasonography; Resistance training; Abdominal muscles; Abdominal oblique muscles

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