High- and low-bar squatting techniques during weight-training

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1996 Feb;28(2):218-24. doi: 10.1097/00005768-199602000-00010.


Eight Swedish national class weightlifters performed "high-bar" squats and six national class powerlifters performed "low-bar" squats, with a barbell weight of 65% of their 1 RM, and to parallel- and a deep-squatting depth. Ground reaction forces were measured with a Kistler piezo-electric force platform and motion was analyzed from a video record of the squats. A computer program based on free-body mechanics was designed to calculate moments of force about the hip and knee joints. EMG from vastus lateralis, rectus femoris, and biceps femoris was recorded and normalized. The peak moments of force were flexing both for the hip and the knee. The mean peak moments of force at the hip were for the weightlifters 230 Nm (deep) and 216 Nm (parallel), and for the powerlifters 324 Nm (deep), and 309 Nm (parallel). At the knee the mean peak moments for the weightlifters were 191 Nm (deep) and 131 Nm (parallel), and for the powerlifters 139 Nm (deep) and 92 Nm (parallel). The weightlifters had the load more equally distributed between hip and knee, whereas the powerlifters put relatively more load on the hip joint. The thigh muscular activity was slightly higher for the powerlifters.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Electromyography
  • Hip Joint / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint / physiology*
  • Male
  • Weight Lifting / physiology*