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The Process of the Squat

Dominic Esposito

Before these parts are explained. Gracilis and the Sartorius are the main knee flexors. and Vastus Intermedius) muscles function is knee extension. which lies under the Rectus Femoris). Semimembranosus. The Quadriceps (Rectus Femoris. A brief description of some the anatomical movements and their movers are:  Knee Extension: Straightening of the lower leg so that the lower portion of the leg moves away from the back of the thigh.  Knee Flexion: Bending of the lower leg so that the lower leg moves toward the back of the thigh. Squats are a very functional and natural human movement. With this being said. which involves muscles from the entire body. The squat is broken down into five parts:  The starting position  The descending position  The bottom position  The ascending position  The ending position. a few basic muscle groups and their actions need to be discussed. Vastus Lateralis.Introduction The average extent of the general public’s knowledge of squats is that they “use the legs”. Bicep Femoris). Calf (Gastrocnemius). The Hamstrings (Semitendinosus. These muscles can be located in the chart highlighted in green. What does this even mean though? Could it be that squats use more than just the “legs”? The answer is yes. Basic Muscular Anatomy and Muscular Actions Squats require a great deal of movement throughout the whole body to perform. Vastus Medialis. this document will explain the process of a squat and how the muscles are able to perform the movement. 2 . These muscles are highlighted in yellow in the chart on page 4 (except for the Vastus Intermedius.

Psoas. These muscles are highlighted in blue on the anatomy chart. Pectineus. These muscles are highlighted in red on the anatomy chart. and the Gluteus Maximus. Gracilis. Hip Flexion: Movement of the thigh towards the front of the body about the hip joint. Sartorius. The muscles that cause hip flexion include the Rectus Femoris. These four movements are the main movements used in a squat.  Hip Extension: Movement of the thigh towards the back of the body about the hip joint. Many of the muscles previously stated are core muscles. such as Psoas. etc. and Illiacus are all deep muscles and do not show up on the anatomical chart on page 4. Illiacus. Tensor Fasciae Latae. which work to stabilize the body. Psoas. Adductor Brevis. At the bottom of this page is a chart of the deep muscles of the hip and lower back. There are many other muscles used during the squat. such as the core muscles. The Adductor Longus. The main hip extensors are the Hamstrings. 3 . and Adductor Brevis. Gluteus Maximus. Adductor Longus.

Basic Anatomical Muscular Chart * Knee Extensor Knee Flexor Hip Flexor Hip Extensor * The Rectus Femoris. They are highlighted in several colors to represent this. 4 . Gracilis. and the Hamstrings serve multiple functions. Sartorius.

5 . The hip flexors also activate to control the descent of the weight and to assist the body in being in a natural position. this allows for optimal stability. The hip extensors also contracted to allow for increased stability of the back and hips. The core muscles also contract to increase stability and to protect the spine from injury. Starting Position The starting position for a squat is in the upright standing position. 2. The knee extensors and flexors both contract to allow for a controlled descent of the weight and body. shoulders. At this point and in every other point in the lift.The Squatting Process 1. and elbows will be used for stability so that the weight is able to stay firmly on the lifter’s shoulders. Descending Position The descending portion of the squat involves hip and knee extension and flexion to provide stabilization. ankle. the core muscles as well as the knee.

4. seated position. and hip flexors are all also contracting to allow for a stable. flexors. The knee extensors pull on the lower leg so that the thigh is able to move out of the seated position and the lifter is than able to begin to stand up.3. and allowing them to provide more stabilization. The hip extensors also pull on the thighs to allow the hip and back to come to a more erect position. since the hip flexors and knee flexors are still contracting for stability and since the seated position forces the lifter in a forward hip position. It can be seen that the lower leg is moving away from the body just like the illustration of knee extension on page 1. This forces the hip extensors to activate more since they are becoming lengthened. the extensors must overcome the flexors in order to properly erect the body. the hip joint is lower then the knees as seen in the illustration above. Bottom Position During the seated or bottom position of the squat. Ascending Position From the seated position. This is also seen on page 1 where the thigh moves away from the body. the lifter must overcome the force of gravity to push the weight and upward. The knee extensors. Consequently though. 6 . The core muscles continue to contract during all of this as well.

Ending Position The squat ends in the same position as the exercise started. Knee and hip flexion and extension are involved in order to move the body through a squat. The core muscles are contracting for stability of the hip and spine. the lifter goes into the seated position where the flexors and extensors contract for optimal stability. The squat starts off in the standing position where the core muscles as well as many other joints in the body remain in a stable position. Conclusion Squats are a more complex movement than most people understand. 7 . The lifter ends in the standing position where the core muscles are constantly contracting to allow for a stable hip and spine.5. The lifter then contracts the knee and hip flexors and extensors to contract to push the body upwards. After the descent is completed. The individual then moves to the descending position where the knee and hip extensors and flexors contract to allow for a controlled descent.

fitnwell.ca/Injuries-Conditions/Hip/Exercises/Standing-hipExtension/a~1101/article. <http://learning.References "Physical Training and Fitness.d. 2013.com/2013/08/>. 8 Oct. "Quad Strengthening. 12 Oct. 16 Oct.com/injuries/le/quad_strengthening. Web.net/exercises.fitnwell. 14 Oct. 8 . 2013. 2013.htm>. Crossfit Foggy Bottom. "Standing Hip Extension." Fitnwell.d." Crossfit Foggy Bottom.d. <http://www.net. <http://www. David Edell. Summit.htm>. n. n. <http://crossfitfoggybottom. Web. Web. "Squat Depth Check Time. n.summitrehab.html>.d. Web. n. 2013." Athletic Advisor.athleticadvisor." Summit Sport Physiotherapy.