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Appears in Collections:Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Impact of resistance training status on trunk muscle activation in a fatiguing set of heavy back squats
Author(s): Clark, David R
Lambert, Michael I
Grigson, Chris
Hunter, Angus M
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Keywords: Back squat
Strength training
Trunk stabilizers
Issue Date: 18-Nov-2020
Citation: Clark DR, Lambert MI, Grigson C & Hunter AM (2020) Impact of resistance training status on trunk muscle activation in a fatiguing set of heavy back squats. European Journal of Applied Physiology.
Abstract: Purpose In this study we measured neural activation (EMG) in four trunk stabilizer muscles and vastus lateralis (VL) in trained and novice participants during a set of squat repetitions to volitional fatigue at 85% 1RM. Methods Forty males were recruited into two groups, novice (NG: n = 21) and experienced (EG: n = 19), according to relative squat 1RM. Participants were tested twice to: (1) determine squat 1RM, and (2) complete a single set of repetitions to volitional fatigue at 85% 1RM. Relative squat 1RM; NG  160% body mass. Neuromuscular activation was measured by EMG for the following: rectus abdominus (RA), external oblique (EO), lumbar sacral erector spinae (LSES), upper lumbar erector spinae (ULES) and VL in eccentric and concentric phase. Completed repetitions, RPE and EMG in repetition 1 and at 20, 40, 60, 80 and 100% of completed repetitions were analysed. Results No group differences were found between number repetitions completed and RPE in repetitions to volitional fatigue at 85% 1RM. Neuromuscular activation increased significantly in all muscle groups in eccentric and concentric phase apart from RA in the eccentric phase. Trunk neuromuscular activation was higher in NG compared to EG and this was significant in EO, LSES and ULES in eccentric phase and LSES in the concentric phase. VL activation increased in both phases with no group differences. Conclusion Trunk neuromuscular activation increases in a fatiguing set of heavy squats regardless of training status. Increased back squat strength through training results in lower neuromuscular activation despite greater absolute external squat loads.
DOI Link: 10.1007/s00421-020-04540-0
Rights: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit
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