Squat Physiology - a Brief Discussion Essay

1906 Words Jun 14th, 2008 8 Pages
This report will attempt to define the sports skill ‘the squat’ by describing the associated physiology in its performance. Topics of discussion will include: Mobility and Stability; Development of Force; Coordination of movement; Delivery of Energy; Maintenance of Working Muscles; Integration of Systems and Functions.

Often named “The King of all Exercises”, the squat is a complex movement which targets the Quadriceps, Hamstrings and the Gluteus Maximus muscles, amongst others. It is an exercise which Physiologists, Sports Scientists and Personal Trainers will all agree is a necessary component of any weight lifting or rehabilitation program. "[the squat] is capable of inducing more and faster muscle growth
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Also, the hamstrings are isometrically contracted to stabilise the legs. The first movement is flexion at the hips. Secondly, the knee joint flexes. During this phase, the quadriceps are not exerting maximally. It is mostly the antagonist and synergists, i.e. hamstring and gluteus maximus. Once the thigh is parallel to the floor (or lower), the upward phase can begin. Firstly, the hips extend and the pelvis is subsequently pushed forward. Secondly, the gluteus maximus contracts which provides the first upward thrust. Finally, the quadriceps provides the final necessary force to drive the subject to the starting position. Throughout the whole exercise, the core and lower back stay tight. In fact, these are forcefully kept tight automatically by the body.

The force-velocity relationship can be applied to the squat. Obviously, the heavier the weight, the slower the subject will lift it. The optimum ratio is to use 1/3 of both maximum force and velocity to generate the most power in a given movement. However, with emphasis on either force or velocity, this ratio can change. Similarly, it can differ between individuals.

Also, the length-tension relationship in muscles can be highlighted by the squat. The optimum length of a muscle to deliver maximum tension is slightly greater than the resting length of the muscle. This can be related back to the discussion earlier. Many people do not squat deep enough because the length of their muscles is allowing them to

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