Activity of Lower Limb Muscles During Squat With and Without Abdominal Drawing-in and Pilates Breathing

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Abstract

Barbosa, AC, Martins, FM, Silva, AF, Coelho, AC, Intelangelo, L, and Vieira, ER. Activity of lower limb muscles during squat with and without abdominal drawing-in and Pilates breathing. J Strength Cond Res 31(11): 3018–3023, 2017—The purpose of this study was to assess the effects of abdominal drawing-in and Pilates breathing on the activity of lower limb muscles during squats. Adults (n = 13, 22 ± 3 years old) with some Pilates experience performed three 60° squats under each of the following conditions in a random order: (I) normal breathing, (II) drawing-in maneuver with normal breathing, and (III) drawing-in maneuver with Pilates breathing. Peak-normalized surface electromyography of the rectus femoris, biceps femoris, gastrocnemius medialis, and tibialis anterior during the knee flexion and extension phases of squat exercises was analyzed. There were significant differences among the conditions during the knee flexion phase for the rectus femoris (p = 0.001), biceps femoris (p = 0.038), and tibialis anterior (p = 0.001), with increasing activation from conditions I to III. For the gastrocnemius medialis, there were significant differences among the conditions during the knee extension phase (p = 0.023), with increased activity under condition I. The rectus and biceps femoris activity was higher during the extension vs. flexion phase under conditions I and II. The tibialis anterior activity was higher during the flexion compared with the extension phase under all conditions, and the medial gastrocnemius activity was higher during the extension phase under condition I. Doing squats with abdominal drawing-in and Pilates breathing resulted in increased rectus, biceps femoris, and tibialis anterior activity during the flexion phase, increasing movement stability during squat exercises.

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