The effect of altering knee position and squat depth on VMO : VL EMG ratio during squat exercises Academic Article uri icon


  • Patellofemoral pain syndrome is an extremely common condition, believed to be caused by altered activation of vastus medialis obliquus (VMO), leading to maltracking of the patella.This study aimed to investigate the effect of altering knee movement and squat depth on the ratio of VMO and vastus lateralis (VMO : VL) during squat exercises.Eighteen (7 male and 11 female) healthy, asymptomatic participants performed semi-squat exercises with three squat depths (20°, 50° and 80° of knee flexion) while following three knee movement paths (neutral, varus or valgus). Normalized VMO : VL ratio from linear envelope surface electromyography was analysed.No significant effect was found for gender (p = 0.87), leg dominance (p = 0.99) or knee position (p = 0.44). A significant effect was found for squat depth (p < 0.001) with both the 50° and 80° squats showing increases in VMO : VL ratio (p = 0.031 and p = 0.028), respectively. The VMO : VL ratio was not influenced by gender, leg dominance or knee position in semi-squat exercises.Increases in relative VMO activation did occur in 'deeper' squat depths (50° and 80° knee flexion) compared with the 20° condition. Further research is needed in this area concerning the effects of such exercise modifications on a symptomatic patellofemoral pain syndrome population. Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

publication date

  • 2016