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The purpose of this investigation was to determine if increases in external resistance during a squat movement would be controlled by proportionally scaling the net joint moment work or average net joint moment (NJM) at the hip, knee, and ankle. Eighteen experienced subjects performed 3 sets of 3 repetitions each of a squat movement using resistances of 25, 50, 75, and 100% of their 3-repetition maximum, while instrumented for biomechanical analyses. Standard inverse dynamics techniques and numerical integration were used to calculate the NJM work and average NJM of each joint. A combination of single-subject and group mean statistical analyses indicated that the neither the NJM work nor average NJM increased proportionately in response to increases in external loading. Results suggest a complex control strategy in which the hip was the dominant contributor, increased linearly with the external load, and had low variability. The knee and ankle contributions were neither as great nor as linear, and were highly variable, suggesting that they were influenced by more than just the external load. The disproportionate response of each joint to varying external resistances suggests that controlling the force output of multijoint chains requires further study and modifications to existing motor control theories.
Flanagan is with the Department of Kinesiology, California State University–Northridge, Northridge, CA, and Salem is with Musculoskeletal Biomechanics Research Laboratory, Department of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA.