Hip and Knee Extensor Activation During the Hip Thrust and Rear-Foot-Elevated Split Squat in Trained Females

J Strength Cond Res. 2021 May 1;35(5):1201-1207. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000004035.


McCurdy, K, Walker, J, Kelly, C, and Polinski, M. Hip and knee extensor activation during the hip thrust and rear-foot-elevated split squat in trained females. J Strength Cond Res 35(5): 1201-1207, 2021-The aim of the study was to compare hip and knee extensor muscle activation between the hip thrust (HT) and rear-foot-elevated split squat (RFESS) within different depths and the entire range of motion. Twenty, young adult female subjects (age, 20.9 ± 1.3 years; height, 164.6 ± 7.5 cm; mass 63.2 ± 8.8 kg) with an intermediate level of resistance training experience completed the study. Three repetitions were completed at 80% of the 1-repetition maximum. Gluteus maximus, vastus lateralis, and the medial (semitendinosus and semimembranosus) and lateral (biceps femoris) hamstrings electromyographic data were compared at the top, middle, and bottom one-third of the hip range of motion and for the entire repetition. A repeated-measures analysis of variance was used to test significance set at p ≤ 0.05. All 4 muscles revealed higher (p < 0.001) activation at the top position of the HT compared with the middle and bottom, whereas higher scores (p < 0.001) were found in the bottom position during the RFESS. The HT revealed greater activity (p < 0.001) than the RFESS in all muscles at the top, whereas the RFESS showed higher scores (p < 0.001) than the HT in all muscles in the bottom position. For the entire repetition, the RFESS produce significantly greater vastus lateralis activation (59.4 vs 43.6%). The data indicate that the greatest effect for the HT is demonstrated in the top position and at the bottom for the RFESS. Thus, we recommend to implement both exercises in a training program to maximize gluteus maximus and hamstring activation across the full range of motion. For the greatest vastus lateralis activation, the RFESS is recommended.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Electromyography
  • Female
  • Hamstring Muscles*
  • Humans
  • Muscle, Skeletal
  • Quadriceps Muscle
  • Resistance Training*
  • Young Adult