External oblique activity during the unilateral and bilateral free weight squat

Academic Article


  • PURPOSE: The purpose was to compare EMG activity of the external oblique muscle in female athletes during the traditional bilateral squat and a modified unilateral squat using the same relative intensity. METHODS: Eleven Division I female athletes from a variety of sports (soccer, softball, and track) participated in this study. Three repetition maximum (3RM) tests were conducted for both exercises to determine the relative percentage performed during EMG data collection. External oblique EMG measurements were taken as the subjects completed 3 parallel repetitions at 85% of the subject's 3RM on each exercise. Mean and mean peak EMG data from the external oblique was compared between the two exercises. RESULTS: No significant differences in mean (p = 0.28) or mean peak EMG (p = 0.27) activity occurred between the bilateral and modified unilateral squat. CONCLUSION: External oblique muscle activity appears to be similar between the two types of squat exercises when performed at the same relative intensity. With a reduced frontal plane base of support in comparison to the bilateral squat, the modified unilateral squat might produce similar core musculature adaptations while using lower absolute loads on the spine.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Author List

  • McCurdy K; Kutz M; O'Kelley E; Langford G; Ernest J
  • Start Page

  • 16
  • End Page

  • 21
  • Volume

  • 64
  • Issue

  • 2