Differences in kinematics and electromyographic activity between men and women during the single-legged squat

Brian L. Zeller, Jean L. McCrory, W. Ben Kibler, Timothy L. Uhl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

329 Scopus citations


Background: Numerous factors have been identified as potentially increasing the risk of anterior cruciate ligament injury in the female athlete. However, differences between the sexes in lower extremity coordination, particularly hip control, are only minimally understood. Hypothesis: There is no difference in kinematic or electromyographic data during the single-legged squat between men and women. Study Design: Descriptive comparison study. Methods: We kinematically and electromyographically analyzed the single-legged squat in 18 intercollegiate athletes (9 male, 9 female). Subjects performed five single-legged squats on their dominant leg, lowering themselves as far as possible and then returning to a standing position without losing balance. Results: Women demonstrated significantly more ankle dorsiflexion, ankle pronation, hip adduction, hip flexion, hip external rotation, and less trunk lateral flexion than men. These factors were associated with a decreased ability of the women to maintain a varus knee position during the squat as compared with the men. Analysis of all eight tested muscles demonstrated that women had greater muscle activation compared with men. When each muscle was analyzed separately, the rectus femoris muscle activation was found to be statistically greater in women in both the area under the linear envelope and maximal activation data. Conclusions: Under a physiologic load in a position commonly assumed in sports, women tend to position their entire lower extremity and activate muscles in a manner that could increase strain on the anterior cruciate ligament.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)449-456
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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