Comparative Effects of 4 Single-Leg Squat Exercises in Subjects With Gluteus Medius Weakness

in Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
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Context: Of the weight-bearing exercises, single-leg squats (SLSs) represent one of the most commonly used hip-strengthening exercises that require more gluteus medius (GMED) activity. To date, no studies have investigated how the 4 SLS exercises affect muscle imbalance of GMED, tensor fasciae latae (TFL), and adductor longus (AL), and kinematics of hip. Objective: To investigate the hip muscle activities, onset time, and kinematics during 4 different SLS exercises (unilateral squat, unilateral wall-squat [UWS], lateral step-down, and front step-down) in subjects with GMED weakness. Design: Repeated-measures experimental design. Setting: Research laboratory. Participants: Twenty-two subjects (11 males and 11 females) participated in this study and were compared using 1-way repeated-measures analysis of variance. Main Outcome Measures: Surface electromyography was used to measure the muscle activities and onset time of the GMED, TFL, and AL, and 3-dimensional motion tracking system was used to measure the hip adduction and internal/external rotation angles during SLS exercises. One-way repeated-measures analysis of variance was used at a significance level of P < .05. Results: The UWS produced higher GMED/TFL activity ratio and lower GMED/TFL onset time ratio than in the other 3 exercises (P < .05). No difference in GMED/AL activity ratio and GMED/AL onset time ratio was observed. The hip adduction angle was greater in UWS than in the other 3 exercises (P < .05). As for the hip internal/external rotation, lateral step-down exhibited higher hip internal rotation angle than front step-down (P < .05). Conclusion: The UWS may be recommended as an effective exercise for the subjects with GMED weakness, but they should take care to avoid excessive hip adduction during the exercise.

Han, Lim, and Son are with the Department of Physical Therapy, The Graduate School, Yonsei University, Wonju, Republic of Korea. Yi, You, and Cynn are with the Department of Physical Therapy, College of Health Science, Yonsei University, Wonju, Republic of Korea. Lim is also with the Department of Physical Therapy, Rehabilitation Hospital, National Rehabilitation Center, Seoul, Republic of Korea.

Yi (pteagle@yonsei.ac.kr) is corresponding author.
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