Activation of the VMO and VL during dynamic mini-squat exercises with and without isometric hip adduction

J Electromyogr Kinesiol. 2001 Dec;11(6):381-6. doi: 10.1016/s1050-6411(01)00024-4.


Objective: the purpose of this study was to compare vastus medialis obliquus (VMO) and vastus lateralis (VL) activity while performing a mini-squat with and without isometric hip adduction.

Design and setting: a repeated measures within subjects design was used. Subjects performed two sets of three repetitions of a traditional mini-squat and a mini-squat with concurrent hip adduction (squeeze).

Subjects: 20 recreationally active subjects (10 men, 10 women age=28.10+/-5.91 years, height=170.94+/-11.03 cm, mass=72.32+/-16.66 kg) with no history of patellofemoral pain (PFP), quadriceps injury, or other knee injury participated in the study.

Measurements: the EMG signal of the VMO and VL was recorded bilaterally during both exercises. EMG data were normalized to the maximal voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC) of the quadriceps produced during seated, isometric knee extension.

Results: results of repeated measures ANOVA's revealed that the squeeze squat produced significantly greater VMO and VL activity than the traditional squat (p=0.02). For both the traditional and squeeze squats, intrasession reliability from the first to the second set was calculated using intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) formula (3:1) bilaterally for both the VMO and the VL. All ICC values were greater than 0.9.

Conclusion: combining isometric hip adduction with a mini-squat exercise significantly increases the activity of the quadriceps. Performing mini-squats with isometric hip adduction will be beneficial to patellofemoral patients as they increase quadriceps activity, however, based on our data we cannot conclude that this exercise preferentially recruits the VMO. Further research is needed to determine the exact mechanism by which quadriceps function is altered.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Electromyography
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Hip Joint / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Isometric Contraction / physiology
  • Male
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*