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Gluteus Maximus Activation during Common Strength and Hypertrophy Exercises: A Systematic Review

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The gluteus maximus (GMax) is one of the primary hip extensors. Several exercises have been performed by strength and conditioning practitioners aiming to increase GMax strength and size. This systematic review aimed to describe the GMax activation levels during strength exercises that incorporate hip extension and use of external load. A search of the current literature was performed using PubMed/Medline, SportDiscuss, Scopus, Google Scholar, and Science Direct electronic databases. Sixteen articles met the inclusion criteria and reported muscle activation levels as a percentage of a maximal voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC). The exercises classified as very high level of GMax activation (>60% MVIC) were step-up, lateral step-up, diagonal step-up, cross over step-up, hex bar deadlift, rotational barbell hip thrust, traditional barbell hip thrust, American barbell hip thrust, belt squat, split squat, in-line lunge, traditional lunge, pull barbell hip thrust, modified single-leg squat, conventional deadlift, and band hip thrust. We concluded that several exercises could induce very high levels of GMax activation. The step-up exercise and its variations present the highest levels of GMax activation followed by several loaded exercises and its variations, such as deadlifts, hip thrusts, lunges, and squats. The results of this systematic review may assist practitioners in selecting exercised for strengthening GMax.
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©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2020) 19, 195-203
http://www.jssm.org
Received: 22 August 2019 / Accepted: 11 November 2019 / Published (online): 01 March 2020
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Gluteus Maximus Activation during Common Strength and Hypertrophy
Exercises: A Systematic Review
Walter Krause Neto 1, Enrico Gori Soares 2, Thais Lima Vieira 3, Rodolfo Aguiar 1, Thiago Andrade
Chola 1, Vinicius de Lima Sampaio 1 and Eliane Florencio Gama1
1 Department of Physical Education, Laboratory of Morphoquantitative Studies and Immunohistochemistry, São Judas
Tadeu University, São Paulo-SP, Brazil; 2 Human Performance Research Group - College of Health Science, Methodist
University of Piracicaba (UNIMEP), Piracicaba - São Paulo, Brazil; 31st Military Fire Brigade Group of the Federal
District, Brasilia-DF, Brazil
Abstract
The gluteus maximus (GMax) is one of the primary hip extensors.
Several exercises have been performed by strength and condition-
ing practitioners aiming to increase GMax strength and size. This
systematic review aimed to describe the GMax activation levels
during strength exercises that incorporate hip extension and use
of external load. A search of the current literature was performed
using PubMed/Medline, SportDiscuss, Scopus, Google Scholar,
and Science Direct electronic databases. Sixteen articles met the
inclusion criteria and reported muscle activation levels as a per-
centage of a maximal voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC).
The exercises classified as very high level of GMax activation
(>60% MVIC) were step-up, lateral step-up, diagonal step-up,
cross over step-up, hex bar deadlift, rotational barbell hip thrust,
traditional barbell hip thrust, American barbell hip thrust, belt
squat, split squat, in-line lunge, traditional lunge, pull barbell hip
thrust, modified single-leg squat, conventional deadlift, and band
hip thrust. We concluded that several exercises could induce very
high levels of GMax activation. The step-up exercise and its var-
iations present the highest levels of GMax activation followed by
several loaded exercises and its variations, such as deadlifts, hip
thrusts, lunges, and squats. The results of this systematic review
may assist practitioners in selecting exercised for strengthening
GMax.
Keywords: Skeletal muscle, gluteus maximus, electromyogra-
phy, strength training.
Introduction
Hip extension is a fundamental movement in daily life and
athletic activities. Previous research has proposed an in-
creasing role of hip extensor musculature with heavier
lower body exercises (e.g., squats, lunges, and deadlifts)
and explosive sports actions (e.g., jumping, sprinting and
change of direction) (Beardsley and Contreras, 2014). The
primary muscles responsible for this movement are gluteus
maximus (GMax), long head of biceps femoris, semimem-
branosus, semitendinosus, and the ischiocondylar portion
of the adductor magnus (Broski et al., 2015; Neumann,
2010; Youdas et al., 2017). Despite the involvement of all
these muscles, GMax has been identified as the primary
muscle responsible for hip extension, specifically on
loaded exercises that typically do not sufficiently activate
the hamstrings in tasks involving simultaneous hip and
knee extension, such as the squat and the leg press (Krause
Neto et al., 2019, McCurdy et al., 2018; Williams et al.,
2018; Sugisaki et al., 2014). There is a significant number
of studies comparing GMax activation levels between sev-
eral loaded and bodyweight exercises (Bishop et al., 2018;
Boren et al., 2011; Macadam et al., 2015; Macadam and
Feser, 2019; Selkowitz et al., 2016).
Electromyography (EMG) is a technique for meas-
uring the electric potential field generated by the depolari-
zation of the sarcolemma (Merletti and Parker, 2004). De-
spite limitations and common misinterpretations (Vigostky
et al., 2015; 2016), under controlled conditions, the EMG
signal comprises the summation of motor unit action po-
tentials and provides an index of muscle activation (Enoka
and Duchateau, 2015). Therefore, EMG has been widely
used to compare the muscle activation between exercises,
which can assist the strength and conditioning coach on se-
lecting and systematically progressing exercise intensity
(Vigostky et al., 2015, Macadam and Feser, 2019).
Previous studies have systematically reviewed the
gluteal muscle activity, measured by EMG, in a variety of
lower body exercises (Macadam et al., 2015; Macadam and
Feser, 2019). The systematic review conducted by Mac-
adam et al. (2015) showed that exercises with dynamic hip
abduction and external rotation elicited high levels of
GMax activation (ranging from 79% to 113% of a maximal
voluntary isometric contraction [MVIC]). Recently, Mac-
adam and Feser (2019) have found that it is still possible to
achieve high levels of GMax activation (>60% of MVIC)
by performing exercises with bodyweight as resistance.
However, due to the inclusion/exclusion criteria chosen by
the authors to answer their research questions, both studies
eventually excluded more ecologically valid studies for
strength and conditioning coaches that investigated exer-
cises with higher intensity (external load) and neuromus-
cular demand. As external load may affect exercise me-
chanics and the resultant muscular activation (Bryanton et
al., 2012; Da Silva et al., 2008; Riemann et al., 2012; Swin-
ton et al., 2011), currently there is ambiguity on which ex-
ercises that incorporate hip extension and use of external
load achieve the most significant Gmax activation.
Several factors, including relative external load,
movement velocity, level of fatigue, the mechanical com-
plexity of the exercise (open or closed kinetic chain, weight
bearing or non-weight bearing), and the need for joint sta-
bilization, may directly influence GMax activation. The
purpose of this systematic review was to describe the
Review article
EMG and gluteus maximus
196
GMax activation levels during dynamic exercises that in-
corporate hip extension and use of external load. To assist
strength and conditioning coaches in selecting exercises for
the GMax, we categorized the exercises as low level of ac-
tivation (0 to 20% of MVIC), moderate level of activation
(21 to 40% of MVIC), high level of activation (41 to 60%
of MVIC), and very high level of activation (greater than
60% of MVIC) accordingly to the recommendations of
Macadam and Feser (2019).
Methods
Literature research strategies
The preferred item declaration guide for systematic review
and meta-analysis reports (PRISMA) was used to conduct
this systematic review (Liberati et al., 2009).
On February 15th, 2019, a systematic review was
conducted using the PubMed/Medline, SportDiscuss, Sco-
pus, Google Scholar, and Science Direct electronic data-
bases. The MeSH descriptors, along with the related terms
and keywords, were used as follows: ((((resistance training
OR resistance exercise OR training, resistance OR strength
training OR training, strength OR weight-lifting strength-
ening program OR strengthening program, weight-lifting
OR strengthening programs, weight-lifting OR weight lift-
ing strengthening program OR weight-lifting strengthening
programs OR weight-lifting exercise program OR exercise
program, weight-lifting OR exercise programs, weight-lift-
ing OR weight lifting exercise program OR weight-lifting
exercise programs OR weight-bearing strengthening pro-
gram OR strengthening program, weight-bearing OR
strengthening programs, weight-bearing OR weight bear-
ing strengthening program OR weight-bearing strengthen-
ing programs OR weight-bearing exercise program OR ex-
ercise program, weight-bearing OR exercise programs,
weight-bearing OR weight bearing exercise program OR
weight-bearing exercise programs OR isometric OR exer-
cise OR rehab OR physical therapy OR load OR training)))
AND ((muscle development OR development, muscle OR
muscular development OR development, muscular OR
myogenesis OR myofibrillogenesis OR muscle hypertro-
phy OR hypertrophy OR hypertrophies OR electromyog-
raphy OR electromyographies OR surface electromyogra-
phy OR electromyographies, surface OR electromyogra-
phy, surface OR surface electromyographies OR electro-
myogram OR electromyograms OR muscle strength OR
power output OR force OR strength OR muscular excita-
tion OR excitation OR EMG OR muscle activation OR ac-
tivation))) AND ((gluteus maximus OR gluteus OR hip ex-
tensor OR hip extensors)).
After reading the titles and abstracts, all eligible full
text was assessed for methodological quality using the
PEDro methodological quality scale. This scale is com-
posed of eleven questions and scores proportional to the
number of items. However, due to the inability to "blind"
coaches and practitioners, we excluded three questions,
setting the eight as the maximum score. Thus, studies with
scores equal to or higher than five were considered of good
methodological quality, excluding those with scores equal
to or less than 4 (Krause Neto et al., 2019).
Inclusion and exclusion criteria
The inclusion criteria were: (a) original articles; (b) de-
scriptive studies (in case of no raw description of the data,
an e-mail was sent to the authors requesting the raw data);
(c) studies with physically trained participants; (d) studies
that measured surface EMG and reported muscle activation
as a percentage of maximal voluntary isometric contraction
(MVIC); (e) studies which analyzed the muscle activation
of the GMax using strength exercises with external load
and (f) English language. Studies with insufficient data, re-
view articles, conference papers, student thesis, samples
from metabolic patients, patients with musculoskeletal
trauma and older people, poor presentation of data, unclear
or vague descriptions of the protocols applied, and articles
evaluating isometric, plyometrics, and calisthenics exer-
cises were excluded.
Studies selection
Authors WKN , RA, and TAC independently performed the
data analysis with two subsequent meetings to decide on
the inclusion of eligible articles in the final text. After each
article was read, the following information was extracted:
(1) exercise performed, (2) EMG normalization procedure,
(3) electrode placement, (4) external load used in the exer-
cise, (5) main findings and (6) mean %MVIC values
achieved in each exercise. If two or more studies evaluated
the same exercises, the data were pooled as an average of
the mean % MVIC of each exercise. Only the mean
%MVIC data from each study was used here.
To classify the Gmax activation measured, we used
the following levels: 0-20% MVIC, low muscle activation;
21-40% MVIC, moderate muscle activation; 41-60%
MVIC, high muscle activation; >60% MVIC, very high
muscle activation (Escamilla et al., 2010; Youdas et al.,
2014, Cacchio et al., 2008). According to Macadam and
Feser (p. 17, 2019), this classification scheme provides a
means by which the practitioner can select exercises, that
match the capabilities of their client/athlete thus targeting
neuromuscular, endurance, or strength type training, and
provides a means by which the GMax can be progressively
overloaded in a systematic fashion.”
Results
Search results
A total of 1963 articles were identified in the initial survey.
After the analysis of the titles/abstracts, 1853 articles were
eliminated, leaving 110 articles selected for full-text exam-
ination. After two meetings and discussion of the data, 61
items were included and evaluated by the methodological
quality scale and inclusion/exclusion criteria, of which 16
articles were eligible for this systematic review (Figure 1).
In total, 231 participants (90 women and 141 men)
underwent 24 strength exercises variations. Table 1 de-
scribes the exercises investigated, methods of EMG nor-
malization, testing load, and the main findings. Of these,
ten studies investigated the back squat exercise and its var-
iations [partial, parallel and full] (Aspe and Swinton, 2014;
Contreras et al., 2015b; 2016a; Da Silva et al., 2017; Evans
et al., 2019; Gomes et al., 2015; McCurdy et al., 2018; Wil-
liams et al., 2018; Yavuz et al., 2015; Yavuz and Erdag,
Krause Neto et al.
197
2017), five studies investigated the barbell hip thrust and
its variations [American and traditional styles and different
feet positions] (Andersen et al., 2018; Collazo Garcia et al.,
2018; Contreras et al., 2015b; 2016b; Williams et al.,
2018), three studies investigated the deadlift, and its varia-
tions [traditional and hex bar] (Andersen et al., 2018; Es-
camilla et al. 2002; McCurdy et al., 2018) and two studies
investigated the front squat (Contreras et al., 2016a; Yavuz
et al., 2015). Other studies investigated the overhead squat
(Aspe and Swinton, 2014), split squat (Williams et al.,
2018), modified single-leg squat (McCurdy et al., 2018),
belt squat (Evans et al., 2019), lunges (Marchetti et al.,
2018), and step-ups (Simenz et al., 2012). External loads
were prescribed either by % of 1RM (varied from 40 to
100% of 1RM) or repetition maximum (varied from 3 to
12RM). The methods for normalizing EMG levels varied
among the studies; the positions glute squeeze, standing
glute squeeze, and prone with 90° flexion being the most
common (Table 1). Interestingly, three studies evaluated
the lower and upper GMax portions separately (Contreras
et al., 2015b; Contreras et al., 2016a; Contreras et al.,
2016b).
Although there was no time limit as an inclusion cri-
terion, all the articles included in this review were pub-
lished between the years of 2002 and 2019. After the meth-
odological quality analysis, all included studies were clas-
sified as excellent (mean score 7).
Muscle activation levels
Table 2 describes the pooled average muscle activation lev-
els and the minimum and maximum EMG values for each
exercise. In general, the step-up exercise and its variations
[lateral, diagonal, and cross-over] showed the highest
GMax activation (average 125.09% MVIC, ranging from
104.19-169.22% MVIC).
In Table 3, it is possible to verify that 24 variations
related to the ten main exercises included in this study were
investigated. In this analysis, the classification of the exer-
cises regarding the activation of GMax ranged from mod-
erate to very high. Among all, the step-up exercise demon-
strated the highest Gmax activation. However, possibly
due to the wide variation of methods used for EMG nor-
malization, at least 16 exercises variations presented simi-
lar maximum Gmax excitatory levels (step-up, lateral step-
up, diagonal step-up, crossover step-up, hex bar deadlift,
rotation barbell hip thrust, traditional barbell hip thrust,
American barbell hip thrust, belt squat, split squat, in-line
lunge, traditional lunge, pull barbell hip thrust, modified
single-leg squat, band hip thrust and conventional deadlift
[Figure 2]).
Figure 1. Search and screening procedure.
Table 1. Description of data extracted from each article about subtopics: exercises, electromyography signal normalization (EMG)
method, electrode placement, testing load, and main findings.
References Exercises EMG
normalization
method
Electrode placement Testing
Load
Main Findings
Williams
et al. 2018
Back Squat,
Barbell Hip
Thrust and
Split Squat
Standing glute
squeeze
A line was drawn between the posterior
superior iliac spine and the greater
trochanter; the upper electrode was
placed approximately 5 cm above and
laterally to the midpoint of this line,
given the diagonal direction the muscle
fibers course. The lower electrode was
positioned approximately 5 cm below
and medially to the same line.
3RM Barbell hip thrust presented
a higher mean GMax
activation than back and
split squat
Marchetti
et al. 2018
n-line and Tra-
d
itional Lunge
Prone position
with knee 90°
flexion
50% on the line between the sacral
vertebrae and the greater trochanter
10RM Both exercises presented
similar GMax activation
Collazo
Garcia
et al. 2018
B
arbell Hip Thrust
with feet position
variations
Prone position
with knee 90°
flexion
50% on the line between the sacral
vertebrae and the greater trochanter
40%RM Rotation feet variation
presented the higher GMax
activation
GMax = Gluteus maximus; 1RM = maximum repetition.
EMG and gluteus maximus
198
Table 1. Continued…
References Exercises EMG normalization
method
Electrode placement Testing Load Main Findings
Yavuz and
Erdag, 2017
Back Squat Extended and flexed knee
position with slightly outward
rotated legs and hyperexten-
sion position (~20°)
50% on the line between
the
sacral vertebrae and the
greater trochanter
80, 90 and
100%RM
Higher GMax activa-
tion with higher loads
(90 and 100%RM)
Andersen
et al. 2017
Barbell Deadlift,
Hex-bar Deadlift,
and Barbell Hip Thrus
t
Prone position
with straight legs
50% on the line between the
sacral vertebrae and the
greater trochanter
1RM Barbell hip thrust
presented the higher
GMax activation
McCurdy
et al. 2017
Bilateral Squat,
Modified-Single-
leg Squat, and
Stiff-leg Deadlift
Prone position with
knee 90° flexion
Gluteus maximus belly
parallel with the muscle
fibers
Bilateral and
modified-single-leg
squat 3RM Stiff-leg
deadlift 8RM
Greater GMax
activation in the
modified-single-leg
squat compared to
others
Da Silva
et al. 2017
Partial (0-90°)
and Full (0-140°)
Back Squat
Prone position with
knee 90° flexion
against resistance
50% on the line between the
sacral vertebrae and the
greater trochanter
10RM Partial back squat
presented higher GMax
activation
Evans
et al. 2017
Back Squat and
Belt Squat
Glute squeeze 50% on the line between the sacral
vertebrae and the greater trochanter
5RM Higher GMax activa-
tion found for back
squat
Contreras
et al. 2016
Barbell Hip
Thrust with
Traditional,
Band and
American style
Standing glute
squeeze or prone
bent-leg hip exten-
sion against manual
resistance
Upper gluteus maximus: superior
and lateral to a line drawn between
the posterior superior iliac spine and
the posterior greater trochanter;
Lower gluteus maximus: inferior
and medial to a line drawn between
the posterior superior iliac spine and
the posterior greater trochanter
10RM Higher GMax activa-
tion found in the tradi-
tional Barbell hip thrust
than others
Contreras
et al. 2016
Back Squat and
Barbell Hip
Thrust
Standing glute
squeeze or prone
bent-leg hip exten-
sion against manual
resistance
Upper gluteus maximus: superior
and lateral to a line drawn between
the posterior superior iliac spine and
the posterior greater trochanter;
Lower gluteus maximus: inferior
and medial to a line drawn between
the posterior superior iliac spine and
the posterior greater trochanter
10RM Barbell hip thrust
presented higher GMax
activation
Contreras
et al. 2015
Parallel and Full
Back Squat and
Front Squat
Standing glute
squeeze or prone
bent-leg hip exten-
sion against manual
resistance
Upper gluteus maximus: superior
and lateral to a line drawn between
the posterior superior iliac spine and
the posterior greater trochanter;
Lower gluteus maximus: inferior
and medial to a line drawn between
the posterior superior iliac spine and
the posterior greater trochanter
10RM No differences found
between exercises
Yavuz et al.
2015
Front and
Back Squat
Extended and flexed knee po-
sition with slightly outward
rotated legs and hyperexten-
sion position (~20°)
50% on the line between the
sacral vertebrae and the
greater trochanter
1RM No differences found
between exercises
Gomes
et al. 2015
Back Squat with
and without knee
wraps
Prone position with
knee 90° flexion
50% on the line between the sa-
cral vertebrae and the greater
trochanter
60%RM
and
90%RM
Knee wrap decreased
GMax activation and
higher load-induced
higher GMax excitation
Aspe and
Swinton,
2014
Back and
Overhead
Squat
Horizontal position anchored
at the ankles and supported
across hip joint on a glute-
hamstring apparatus
50% on the line between the
sacral vertebrae and the
greater trochanter
60, 75
and
90% 3RM
Higher GMax activa-
tion found in back squat
compared to overhead
for all intensities tested
Simenz
et al. 2012
Step-Up, Crossover
Step-Up, Diagonal
Step-Up, and Lateral
Step-Up
Lying prone with
70° hip flexion on a
decline bench
muscle belly one-third of the
distance from the second
sacral spine to the greater
trochanter.
6RM Step-up presented
higher GM activation
Escamilla
et al. 2002
Sumo and
Conventional
Deadlift
EMG data normalization
averaged over each of the
trials
50% on the line between the
sacral vertebrae and the
greater trochanter
12RM No differences found
between exercises
GMax = Gluteus maximus; 1RM = maximum repetition.
Krause Neto et al.
199
Table 2. Summary of the pooled average of the mean maximum voluntary isometric contraction percentage (%MVIC) for
Gluteus maximus in the different exercises. Values are given as an average of pooled mean and the standard deviation.
Exercise Number
of studies
Number of
subjects
Average
(mean %MVIC)
Minimum-maximum (%MVIC)
Back Squats (all variations) 10 156 53.10 ± 25.12 13 - 92.70
Deadlifts (all variations) 4 78 61.02 ± 28.14 35 - 94
Hip Thrusts (all variations) 5 58 75.41 ± 18.49 49.2 - 105
Front Squat 2 38 40.54 ± 4.73 37.2 – 43.89
Belt Squat 1 31 71.34 ± 29.42 -
Modified Single-leg Squat 1 18 65.6 ± 15.1 -
Step-ups (all variations) 1 15 125.09 ± 55.26 104.19 - 169.22
Lunges (all variations) 1 15 66.5 ± 0.7 66 - 67
Overhead Squat 1 14 39.75 ± 29.91 -
Split Squat 1 12 70 ± 15 -
Table 3. Comparison of Gluteus maximus (GMax) activation for all exercise variations. Classification of muscle activation is
givens as low (0-20% MVIC), moderate (21-40% MVIC), high (41-60% MVIC) and very high (>60% MVIC). Values are given
as mean or the average of pooled mean of maximum voluntary isometric contraction percentage (%MVIC) and the standard
deviation.
Classification Level of
activation
Exercise Average (%MVIC)
Very high Step-Up 169.22 ± 101.47
Very high Lateral Step-Up 114.25 ± 54.74
Very high Diagonal Step-Up 113.21 ± 43.54
Very high Crossover Step-up 104.19 ± 33.63
Very high Hex Bar Deadlift 88 ± 16
Very high Rotation Barbell Hip Thrust 86.18 ± 34.3
Very high Traditional Barbell Hip Thrust 82.37 ± 18.65 (Lower GM: 69.5/Upper GM: 86.7)
Very high American Barbell Hip Thrust 73.65 ± 22.98 (Lower GM: 57.4 ± 34.8/ Upper GM: 89.9 ± 32.4)
Very high Belt Squat 71.34 ± 29.42
10° Very high Split Squat 70 ± 15
11° Very high In-line Lunge 67 ± 11
12° Very high Traditional Lunge 66 ± 13
13° Very high Pull Barbell Hip Thrust 65.87 ± 23.28
14° Very high Modified Single-leg Squat 65.6 ± 15.1
15° Very high Traditional Deadlift 64.50 ± 41.72
16° Very high Band Hip Thrust 64.2 ± 21.21 (Lower GM: 49.2 ± 26.5/ Upper GM: 79.2 ± 29.9)
17° High Parallel Back Squat 59.76 ± 22.52
18° High Feet-away Barbell Hip Thrust 51.38±17.93
19º High Front Squat 40.54 ± 4.73
20° High Stiff-Leg Deadlift 40.5 ± 18.8
21° Moderate Overhead Squat 39.75 ± 29.91
22° Moderate Sumo Deadlift 37 ± 28
23° Moderate Partial Back Squat 28.16 ± 10.35
24° Moderate Full Back Squat 26.56 ± 12.33
Figure 2. Gluteus maximus exercises with very high average activation (>60%MVIC).
MVIC = maximum voluntary isometric contraction).
EMG and gluteus maximus
200
Discussion
The results of this systematic review have shown that
GMax activation varied among the exercises investigated.
In general, the step-up exercise and its variations present
the highest levels of GMax activation (>100% of MVIC)
followed by several loaded exercises and its variations,
such as deadlifts, hip thrusts, lunges, and squats, that pre-
sented a very high level of GMax activation (>60% of
1RM). It was observed that several factors, including rela-
tive external load, movement velocity, level of fatigue, the
mechanical complexity of the exercise, and the need for
joint stabilization, might directly influence GMax activa-
tion.
The exercise that elicited the highest activation lev-
els of the GMax was the step-up and its variations [lateral,
diagonal, and cross-over step-up] (Simenz et al., 2012). All
four exercises are unilateral and require weight-bearing
from the practitioner; therefore, during these exercises, the
GMax is responsible for extending the hip joint, while sim-
ultaneously maintaining the pelvis level controlling exces-
sive femur adduction and medial rotation (Baker et al.,
2014; Blemker and Delp, 2005; Macadam et al., 2015). Ac-
cording to Macadam et al. (2015), the higher excitatory de-
mand for step-up and its variations are associated with the
need to stabilize the knees and hip during the upward and
downward movement (the more significant synergistic ac-
tivity of the gluteus medius). However, these exercises are
considered difficult to perform and have a high stabilizing
demand for most beginning and intermediate practitioners;
even for the experienced practitioner, the higher stability
demand may limit the load used, and therefore, may hinder
maximal strength and hypertrophy development (Behm
and Anderson, 2006).
The back squat exercise and its variations are
widely used in strength training with goals of increasing
strength and lower limb muscle hypertrophy (Clark et al.,
2012). This fact was demonstrated here by a large number
of studies included, which investigated different variations
of the squat (10 articles). In our results, squats were classi-
fied as high GMax. However, we found significant varia-
tions in the classification between the different types of
squats (ranging from low [13% of MVIC] to very high
GMax activation [92.7% of MVIC]). Several factors, such
as barbell position (front, high/low bar back squat), stance
width, and the depth of squat, are the main factors affecting
GMax activation during the squat. For example, Paoli et al.
(2009) suggested that larger stance widths (1,5 and 2x great
trochanter distance) are necessary for greater activation of
the GMax during the back squat. Regarding the effect of
squat depth on GMax activity, the results are contradicting.
Caterisano et al. (2002) compared three different squat
depths (partial: ~45° of knee flexion; parallel: ~90° of knee
flexion, and full: ~135° of knee flexion) using 100 to 125%
of subject’s body weight as external resistance. Their re-
sults suggested that the full squat elicited greater GMax ac-
tivation than the parallel and partial back squat. However,
their main limitation was the lack of equalization of exter-
nal load by the depth investigated. Contreras et al. (2016a)
found no significant difference between full and parallel
back squats for any of the GMax portions evaluated. More
recently, Da Silva et al. (2017) demonstrated that the par-
tial squat elicited higher GMax activation than the full
squat variation when external loads are equated to squat
depth. GMax relative contribution to hip extensor moment
may be reduced in positions of greater squat depth (Vigot-
sky et al., 2016; Hoy et al., 1990; Neumann, D. A. 2010).
Nevertheless, chronic studies have suggested that deeper
squats, or a combination of different ranges of motion, in-
duce the most substantial functional and muscular gains,
possibly due to more considerable time under tension, me-
chanical tension, and longer muscle length (Bloomquist et
al., 2013; Kubo et al., 2019; Bazyler et al., 2014).
The barbell hip thrust exercise and its variations are
expected to demonstrate higher GMax excitation levels
when compared to any exercise that includes simultaneous
knee and hip flexion/extension movement, such as squats
and their variations (Contreras et al., 2015b; Contreras et
al., 2016b). Regarding the hip thrust and its variations,
GMax activation varied between 49.2 and 105% of MVIC.
These results are similar to a recent review performed by
our group (Krause Neto et al., 2019), where mean GMax
activity ranged between 55 and 105% of MVIC. The foot
position is the main factor affecting GMax activation dur-
ing the barbell hip thrust. For example, Collazo Garcia et
al. (2018) compared the GMax activation between the dif-
ferent variations of barbell hip thrust. They observed the
highest GMax activation when subjects were oriented to
intend to rotate the foot outward. Additionally, Kang et al.
(2016) found placing the foot at 30° of hip abduction pre-
sented higher GMax activation than 15 and of hip ab-
duction during a bodyweight hip bridge. Another interest-
ing fact is that barbell hip thrusts elicit high and very high
GMax activation even when relative low loads are lifted.
Collazo Garcia et al. (2018) used 40% of 1RM and ob-
tained high and very high levels of GMax activation in the
variations of hip thrusts investigated. Delgado et al. (2019)
observed that barbell hip thrust performed at 60 kg (~36%
of 1RM) elicited similar GMax activation than Romanian
deadlift and back squat at 1RM.
The reader should be aware of the number of meth-
odological limitations present in the studies included in this
systematic review: (1) the electrode placement, the EMG
signal processing, movement phase analyzed and normali-
zation varied between studies, therefore, may have influ-
enced the results obtained in the systematic review; (2) a
heterogeneous sample composed of studies that investigate
women and/or men may suffer different influences; (3) the
variation of the loads used (40% to 100% maximum) may
alter the activity levels of GMax as presented by Yavuz and
Erdag (2017); and (4) different levels of training experi-
ence and familiarization with the exercises tested may have
influenced the EMG levels that were investigated.
Conclusion
Despite the limitations of the present review, we observed
that several exercises and variations elicited very high lev-
els of GMax activity. Therefore, it is reasonable to suggest
that the strength and conditioning coach should select in a
variety of exercises, the one that most fit-on clients’ indi-
vidual needs.
Krause Neto et al.
201
Other factors such as exercise kinetics and kinemat-
ics, relative external load, movement velocity, range of
motion, level of fatigue, the mechanical complexity of the
exercise (open or closed kinetic chain; weight bearing or
non-weight bearing) should be considered when selecting
an appropriate exercise for strengthening the GMax.
Therefore, this systematic review demonstrated that
the step-up exercise and its variations present the highest
levels of muscle excitation of GMax followed by several
bilateral exercises and its variations, such as deadlifts, hip
thrusts, and squats. GMax activity may vary significantly
according to changes in technique during the exercise.
Acknowledgments
The authors have no conflicts of interest.
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Key points
The step-up and its variations may elicit the highest
level of Gmax activation possibly to the stabiliza-
tion requirement of the exercise.
Several bilateral exercises (e.g. hip thrusts, squats,
deadlifts, and lunges) can provide very high level of
GMax activation.
The external load, movement velocity, level of fa-
tigue, the mechanical complexity of the exercise,
and the need for joint stabilization, might directly
influence GMax activation.
Further research may investigate the best practices
for normalizing GMax activation.
Krause Neto et al.
203
AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY
Walter KRAUSE NETO
Employment
Personal trainer and Postdoctoral fellow
of São Judas Tadeu University.
Degree
PhD
Research interests
Exercise physiology, biomechanics,
musculoskeletal disorders, peripheral
nervous system morphology, euro-
degenerative diseases, aging and
strength training adaptations
E-mail: wild_krause@hotmail.com
Enrico G. SOARES
Employment
Professor
Degree
MSc
Research interests
Biomechanics, strength training and hy-
pertrophy.
E-mail: emaildoenrico@gmail.com
Thais Lima VIEIRA
Employment
Personal trainer and military firefighter.
Degree
Bachelor of Physical Education.
Research interests
Exercise physiology and strength train-
ing adaptations
E-mail: thapaixao@gmail.com
Rodolfo AGUIAR
Employment
Personal trainer
Degree
Bachelor of Physical Education.
Research interests
Exercise physiology and strength train-
ing adaptations
E-mail: rodolfoaguiar4@gmail.com
Thiago A. CHOLA
Employment
Personal trainer
Degree
Bachelor of Physical Education.
Research interests
Exercise physiology and strength train-
ing adaptations
E-mail: thiagochola@gmail.com
Vinicius de Lima SAMPAIO
Employment
Personal trainer
Degree
Bachelor of Physical Education.
Research interests
Exercise physiology and strength training adaptations
E-mail: viniciusdls_33@hotmail.com
Eliane Florencio GAMA
Employment
Master's and PhD Advisor at São Judas
Tadeu University
Degree
PhD
Research interests
Musculoskeletal disorders, neurodegen-
erative diseases, morphology/anatomy,
body perception/image and strength
training adaptations
E-mail: efgama@profaeliane.net
Walter Krause Neto
Department of Physical Education, Laboratory of Morphoquanti-
tative Studies and Immunohistochemistry, São Judas Tadeu Uni-
versity, São Paulo-SP, Brazil
... The gluteus maximus is a voluminous muscle because it is the main hip extensor and can be highly recruited during a squat exercise and its variations (20,34). The gluteus maximus is greatly lengthened in the deeper ROM of the back squat, and because of the relation between hypertrophy in elongated muscles (24,28,29,32,38), it is reasonable to assume that the squat can elicit significant improvements in the size of this muscle. ...
... The gluteus maximus is greatly lengthened in the deeper ROM of the back squat, and because of the relation between hypertrophy in elongated muscles (24,28,29,32,38), it is reasonable to assume that the squat can elicit significant improvements in the size of this muscle. However, a limited number of studies have analyzed gluteus hypertrophy after squat training as opposed to the vast amount of literature that acutely examined gluteus excitation with surface electromyography (sEMG) during several variations of squat and hip exercises (6,20,22,23). It is important to note that considerable evidence suggests that there is no relation between sEMG amplitudes and hypertrophy during highly fatiguing conditions (47). ...
Article
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The squat is one of the most widely used exercises in resistance-training programs. The aim of the present narrative review was to analyze the effect of the squat on lower-limb muscle hypertrophy. Briefly, the available literature indicates that the squat is an effective exercise for inducing hypertrophy of the quadriceps, mainly the vastii, but also the rectus femoris, although to a reduced magnitude. Multiple lines of evidence suggest little to no hamstring hypertrophy from the back squat. While the gluteus maximus clearly participates mechanically in the back squat, few longitudinal studies exist on the topic. The limited evidence available on this topic suggests deeper squats may be more hypertrophic for the gluteus maximus, and that squat depth beyond 90 degrees of knee flexion may not provide further hypertrophy of the knee flexors. Despite the popularity of the many squat variations, there are still controversies surrounding their hypertrophic potential for lower-limb musculature. Further studies are needed to investigate the hypertrophic effects of different squat variations, as well as differences in hypertrophy due to squat depth, stance, barbell position, and different squat apparatuses/machines.
... Reiman et al. 23 reported that, during rehabilitative exercises, a very high-level activation on the electromyography (EMG) was observed for the gluteus maximus muscle in the forward step-up and for the gluteus medius muscle in single-limb squat and side-bridge to neutral spine position. Neto et al. 30 also found that the step-up exercise and its variations presented the highest levels of gluteus maximus muscle activation. However, these studies were limited to healthy individuals, and their application to elderly patients with ASD following long-segment fixation from T10 to S1, with degeneration and atrophy in the paraspinal muscle, remains unclear. ...
... Step-up exercise is related to the stabilization of the hip and knee in the upward and downward movement, while it extends the hip joint and maintains the pelvis level controlling excessive femur adduction and medial rotation 30 . Through the modification of the step-up exercise, the single leg stance exercise and the walking high knee exercise were applied to patients after ASD surgery. ...
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Full-text available
This study aimed to investigate the changes in gluteal muscle volume and the effects of such changes in spinal alignment as a result of postoperative gluteal muscle strengthening exercise (GMSE) in patients following long-segment fixation for adult spinal deformity (ASD). Eighty-three consecutive patients (average age, 70.1 years) were analyzed. Three-dimensional CT scans were conducted to obtain serial axial gluteus muscle image slices. The size of each muscle area in every image slice was measured by Computer Aided Design and the sum of each muscle area was calculated. At the last follow-up, the sagittal vertical axis was significantly greater in the basic postoperative exercise group (1.49 mm vs. 17.94 mm), and the percentage of optimal sagittal alignment was significantly higher in the GMSE group (97.8% vs. 84.2%). At the last follow-up, the gluteus maximus volume was significantly higher in the GMSE group (900,107.1 cm3 vs. 825,714.2 cm3, p = 0.036). For the increase in muscle volume after 1 year, gluteus maximus and medius volumes showed a significant intergroup difference (+ 6.8% vs. + 2.4% and + 6.9% vs. + 3.6%). The GMSE protocol developed in this study could effectively increase gluteal muscle volume and maintain the optimal sagittal balance in patients with ASD.
... This is an outstanding result since RB is a hip extensionoriented exercise. Indeed, Neto et al. (Neto et al., 2020a) found high levels of GM activation for the stiff-leg deadlift exercise, another hip extension-oriented exercise. The pace, lack of external load, level of fatigue the mechanical complexity of the exercise, the hip angulation and therefore the need for joint stabilization, might directly jeopardize GM activation (Neto et al., 2020b). ...
Article
Objectives To compare the muscle activation of the biceps femoris (BF), semitendinosus (ST), gluteus maximus (GM), and contralateral erector spinae (ES) in four specific eccentric hamstring-oriented exercises using overground maximal sprints as an EMG normalization method. Design cross-sectional study. Participants twenty-four healthy athletes participated in this study. Main outcome measures The maximum EMG activation of all targeted muscles was measured during maximal sprints and four hamstring exercises: Nordic hamstring (NH), Russian belt (RB), glider (GL) and lying kick (LK). Maximum EMG activation during sprints were used to normalize EMG muscle activation. Results RB and GL showed lower hamstrings activation (from 15.71% to 39.23% and from 26.34% to 31.23%, respectively), so these exercises may be used as the first step of the retraining. The higher hamstring activation was reached in the NH (from 20.15% to 66.81%) and the LK (from 50.5% to 61.2%). Regarding muscles comparison, BF and ST were the most dependent on the exercise ranging from 26.67% to 62.22%, and from 26.34% to 66.81%, respectively. Conclusions Muscle activation is dependent on the exercise procedure. RB and GL should be used as a first step because of their low activation. Instead, NH and LK should be used at the last phases of retraining process. Considering the synergistic activation of the PKC muscles during LK, and because of its unilateral and explosive characteristics, LK seems a suitable exercise for retraining PKC muscles in general.
... The physical functions were composed of power (one-leg hop test) [24], agility (carioca test) [25], muscle endurance (crossover step-up test) [26,27], dynamic balance ability (tandem walk test) [28], and static balance ability (star excursion balance test, SEBT) [29]. First, the one-leg hop test started with jumping on one leg and measured the distance jumped with three consecutive jumping motions. ...
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In this study, we aimed to describe lower limb kinematic and muscle activation patterns and then to examine the potential associations between those variables and skating speed in highly trained ice-hockey players. Twelve players (age 18.4–22.0 years) performed five maximal 30-metre forward skating sprints. Skating speeds, muscle activities from eight lower limb muscles (gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, adductor magnus, rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, biceps femoris, tibialis anterior and soleus), and sagittal plane joint angles from the hip and knee joint were measured. A lower activity of the gluteus maximus (r = −0.651, p = 0.022, β = −0.08) and a reduced gluteus maximus to rectus femoris coactivity (r = −0.786, p = 0.002, β = −3.26) during the recovery phase were found to be associated with faster skating speed. No significant associations were observed between sagittal plane hip and knee kinematics and skating speed. This study provides evidence that muscle activities during the recovery phase of skating may have an important role in skating performance.
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The present study examined the posterior chain muscle excitation in different deadlift variations. Ten competitive bodybuilders (training seniority of 10.6 ± 1.8 years) performed the Romanian (RD), Romanian standing on a step (step-RD), and stiff-leg deadlift (SD) with an 80% 1-RM. The excitation of the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, biceps femoris, semitendinosus, erector spinae longissimus, and iliocostalis was assessed during both the ascending and descending phases. During the ascending phase, the RMS of the gluteus maximus was greater in the step-RD than in the RD (effect size (ES): 1.70, 0.55/2.84) and SD (ES: 1.18, 0.11/2.24). Moreover, a greater RMS was found in the SD than in the RD (ES: 0.99, 0.04/1.95). The RMS of the semitendinosus was greater in the step-RD than in the RD (ES: 0.82, 0.20/1.44) and SD (ES: 3.13, 1.67/4.59). Moreover, a greater RMS was found in the RD than in the SD (ES: 1.38, 0.29/2.48). The RMS of the longissimus was greater in the step-RD than in the RD (ES: 2.12, 0.89/3.34) and SD (ES: 3.28, 1.78/4.78). The descending phase had fewer differences between the exercises. No further differences between the exercises were found. The step-RD increased the overall excitation of the posterior chain muscles, possibly because of the greater range of movement and posterior muscle elongation during the anterior flexion. Moreover, the RD appeared to target the semitendinosus more than the SD, while the latter excited the gluteus maximus more.
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Over time, complex interactions and a nonlinear progression among a wide range of variables contribute to improvements in the physical health and level of achievement in youth sports practitioners. Various elements, including technical skills, physical performance, environmental circumstances, and social conditioning, contribute to the development of these processes. An influencing factor of growth and physical performance is somatic maturation. The pubertal period is a critical time for skill acquisition and improvements in performance for young people, in which suitable training strategies should be adopted to preserve their state of health while avoiding risks of injury. Athletes with similar chronological ages competing in the same category levels can, in fact, show differences in maturity and, therefore, in size, function, and body structure. Physical and psychological differences related to maturity and birthdate amongst athletes of the same selection year have been identified in a variety of sports and could be linked with the dropout of youth practitioners and a reduction in the talent pool. Contemporary researchers have contributed to research on improving health and sports performance through the development of new measurement methods and training strategies in young athletes. The aim of this Special Issue of , entitled , Somatic Maturation, and Their Impact on Physical Health and Sports Performance, is to propose and evaluate new training strategies aimed at improving the health status and physical performance of young athletes while highlighting the relationship between somatic maturation, anthropometry features, education, and health-related factors via longitudinal and cross-sectional studies.
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Delgado, J, Drinkwater, EJ, Banyard, HG, Haff, GG, and Nosaka, K. Comparison between back squat, romanian deadlift, and barbell hip thrust for leg and hip muscle activities during hip extension. J Strength Cond Res XX(X): 000-000, 2019-This study compared muscle activities of vastus lateralis (VL), biceps femoris (BF), and gluteus maximus (GM) during the back squat (SQ), Romanian deadlift (RDL), and barbell hip thrust (BHT) exercises performed with the same load (60 kg) and at one repetition maximum (1RM). Eight men with a minimum of 1 year's lower-body strength training experience performed the exercises in randomized order. Before each exercise, surface electromyography (EMG) was recorded during a maximal voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC) and then used to normalize to each muscle's EMG during each trial. Barbell hip thrust showed higher GM activity than the SQ (effect size [ES] = 1.39, p = 0.038) but was not significantly different from RDL (ES = 0.49, p = 0.285) at 1RM. Vastus lateralis activity at 1RM during the SQ was significantly greater than RDL (ES = 1.36, p = 0.002) and BHT (ES = 2.27, p = 0.009). Gluteus maximus activity was higher during MVIC when compared with the 60 kg load for the SQ (ES = 1.29, p = 0.002) and RDL (ES = 1.16, p = 0.006) but was similar for the BHT (ES = 0.22, p = 0.523). There were no significant differences in GM (ES = 0.35, p = 0.215) and BF activities (ES = 0.16, p = 0.791) between 1RM and MVIC for the SQ. These findings show that the RDL was equally as effective as the BHT for isolating the hip extensors, while the SQ simultaneously activated the hip and knee extensors.
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Purpose The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of squat training with different depths on lower limb muscle volumes. Methods Seventeen males were randomly assigned to a full squat training group (FST, n = 8) or half squat training group (HST, n = 9). They completed 10 weeks (2 days per week) of squat training. The muscle volumes (by magnetic resonance imaging) of the knee extensor, hamstring, adductor, and gluteus maximus muscles and the one repetition maximum (1RM) of full and half squats were measured before and after training. Results The relative increase in 1RM of full squat was significantly greater in FST (31.8 ± 14.9%) than in HST (11.3 ± 8.6%) (p = 0.003), whereas there was no difference in the relative increase in 1RM of half squat between FST (24.2 ± 7.1%) and HST (32.0 ± 12.1%) (p = 0.132). The volumes of knee extensor muscles significantly increased by 4.9 ± 2.6% in FST (p < 0.001) and 4.6 ± 3.1% in HST (p = 0.003), whereas that of rectus femoris and hamstring muscles did not change in either group. The volumes of adductor and gluteus maximus muscles significantly increased in FST (6.2 ± 2.6% and 6.7 ± 3.5%) and HST (2.7 ± 3.1% and 2.2 ± 2.6%). In addition, relative increases in adductor (p = 0.026) and gluteus maximus (p = 0.008) muscle volumes were significantly greater in FST than in HST. Conclusion The results suggest that full squat training is more effective for developing the lower limb muscles excluding the rectus femoris and hamstring muscles.
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The present systematic review aimed to analyze the activation of the muscles involved in the barbell hip thrust (BHT) and its transfer to sports activities that include horizontal displacement. A search of the current literature was performed using the PubMed, SPORTDiscuss, Scopus and Google Scholar databases. The inclusion criteria were: (a) descriptive studies, (b) physically trained participants, (c) analyzed muscle activation using normalized EMG signals or as a percentage of maximal voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC) and (d) acute or chronic transfer of the BHT to horizontal displacement activity. Twelve articles met the inclusion criteria and the following results were found: 1) neuro-muscular activation: hip extensor muscles (gluteus maximus and biceps femoris) demonstrated greater activation in the BHT compared to the squat. The straight bar deadlift exercise demonstrated greater biceps femoris activation than BHT; 2) Regardless of the BHT variation and intensity used, the muscle excitation sequence is gluteus maximus, erector spinae, biceps femoris, semitendinosus, vastus lateralis, gluteus medius, vastus medialis and rectus femoris; 3) acute transfer: four studies demonstrated a significant improvement in sprinting activities after BHT exercise; 4) as for the chronic transfer: two studies demonstrated improvement of the sprint time, while other two studies failed to present such effect. We concluded that: a) the mechanics of BHT favors greater activation of the hip extensor muscles compared to more conventional exercises; b) regardless of the variation of BHT used, the muscle excitation sequence is gluteus maximus, erector spinae, hamstrings, and quadriceps femoris; c) the acute transfer of the post-activation potentiation of the BHT is significant, improving the sprinting time; and d) despite training with BHT submaximal loads can improve sprint times, further investigations are needed.
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Aim This study investigated the efficacy of a new strength training method on strength gain, hypertrophy, and neuromuscular fatigability. Methods The training exercise consisted of elbow flexion against a load of ~ 70% of one repetition maximal (1RM). A new method (3/7 method) consisting of five sets of an increasing number of repetitions (3 to 7) during successive sets and brief inter-set intervals (15 s) was repeated two times after 150 s of recovery and compared to a method consisting of eight sets of six repetitions with an inter-set interval of 150 s (8 × 6 method). Subjects trained two times per week during 12 weeks. Strength gain [1RM load and maximal isometric voluntary contraction (MVC)], EMG activity of biceps brachii and brachioradialis, as well as biceps’ brachii thickness were measured. Change in neuromuscular fatigability was assessed as the maximal number of repetitions performed at 70% of 1RM before and after training. Results Both 3/7 and 8 × 6 methods increased 1RM load (22.2 ± 7.4 and 12.1 ± 6.6%, respectively; p < 0.05) and MVC force (15.7 ± 8.2 and 9.5 ± 9.5%; p < 0.05) with a greater 1RM gain (p < 0.05) for the 3/7 method. Normalized (%Mmax) EMG activity of elbow flexors increased (p < 0.05) similarly (14.5 ± 23.2 vs. 8.1 ± 20.5%; p > 0.05) after both methods but biceps’ brachii thickness increased to a greater extent (9.6 ± 3.6 vs. 5.5 ± 3.7%; p < 0.05) for the 3/7 method. Despite subjects performing more repetitions with the same absolute load after training, neuromuscular fatigability increased (p < 0.05) after the two training methods. Conclusion The 3/7 method provides a better stimulus for strength gain and muscle hypertrophy than the 8 × 6 method.
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Background: Hip extension is an important action in daily activities (standing, stepping and walking) and sporting actions (running, sprint-running and jumping). Though several different exercises exist, a comprehensive understanding of which exercises best target the gluteus maximus (Gmax) and the magnitude of muscular excitation associated with each exercise is yet to be established. Purpose: The purpose of this systematic review was to describe the electromyographic (EMG) excitation of the Gmax during body weight exercises that utilize hip extension. Methods: A systematic approach was used to search Pubmed, Sports Discuss, Web of Science and Science Direct using the Boolean phrases (gluteal OR gluteus maximus) AND (activity OR excitation OR activation) AND (electromyography OR EMG) AND (hip extension). Articles that examined injury-free participants of any age, gender or excitation level were included. Articles were excluded when not available in English, where studies did not normalize EMG excitation to maximum voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC), where a load or resistance was added to the exercise, or where no hip extension occurred. Exercises were grouped into vertical and horizontal (anteroposterior or posteroanterior) force vectors. Results: Thirty-nine studies of high methodological quality were retained for analysis. Twenty-five exercises were performed in the vertical vector (average: 33.4% MVIC, highest: single leg wall squat 86% MVIC), fourteen exercises were performed in the horizontal (anteroposterior) force vector (average: 32.8% MVIC, highest: single leg bridge 54.2% MVIC, while thirty-eight exercises were included in the horizontal (posteroanterior) vector (average: 30.4% MVIC, highest: plank with bent leg hip extension 106.2% MVIC). Limitations: The differences in subject’s backgrounds, exercise technique and the methodological approaches varied between studies, most notably in the different positions used for obtaining MVIC, which could have dramatically impacted normalized levels of gluteal activation. Conclusion: The findings from this review provide an indication of Gmax muscle excitation generated by a variety of hip extension body weight exercises, which may assist practitioners in making exercise selection decisions for programming.
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Background/objective Significant biomechanical differences were found among deadlift variations. However, little is known about the differences between the conventional and the Romanian deadlifts. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine which deadlift technique is a better training protocol between the conventional and the Romanian deadlifts as indicated by the greater demand in muscle activities and joint kinetics. Methods 21 males performed each deadlift with 70% of the Romanian deadlift one repetition maximum (1RM) determined using a 1RM testing. Myoelectric activities of the rectus femoris, biceps femoris, and gluteus maximus and lower extremity net joint torque (NJT) were compared. The variables were extracted through an electromyography system (EMG) and a three-dimensional motion analysis. The EMG values were normalized to the peak EMG activation from a submaximal non-isometric voluntary contraction. A two-way repeated measures analysis of variance was conducted for statistical analysis. The level of significance was set at 0.05. Results Significantly greater normalized EMG values were found from the rectus femoris and gluteus maximus (58.57 ± 13.73 and 51.52 ± 6.08 %peak) of the conventional deadlift than those of the Romanian deadlift (25.26 ± 14.21 and 46.88 ± 7.39 %peak). The conventional deadlift indicated significantly greater knee and ankle NJTs (0.21 ± 0.13 and −0.33 ± 0.08 Nm/kg cm) than those of the Romanian deadlift (−0.28 ± 0.1 and −0.29 ± 0.06 Nm/kg cm). Conclusion The conventional deadlift would be a better technique for training the rectus femoris and gluteus maximus than the Romanian deadlift as indicated by the greater EMG and NJT values.
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Ramis, TR, Muller, CHdL, Boeno, FP, Teixeira, BC, Rech, A, Pompermayer, MG, Medeiros, NdS, Oliveira, ÁRd, Pinto, RS, and Ribeiro, JL. Effects of traditional and vascular restricted strength training program with equalized volume on isometric and dynamic strength, muscle thickness, electromyographic activity, and endothelial function adaptations in young adults. J Strength Cond Res XX(X): 000-000, 2018-The purpose of the study was to evaluate and compare the acute and chronic effects of partial vascular occlusion training in young, physically active adults. Neuromuscular, morphological, and endothelial function responses were compared between high-intensity resistance training (HI-RT) and low-intensity resistance training with partial vascular occlusion (LI-BFR), despite the same training volume. The 28 subjects (age, 23.96 ± 2.67 years) were randomly assigned into 2 groups: LI-BFR (n = 15) and HI-RT (n = 13). Both groups performed unilateral exercise of elbow flexion (EF) and knee extension (KE) 3 times per week for 8 weeks. This study was approved by the ethics committee. Flow-mediated dilation showed a significant difference in baseline and post-training in the LI-BFR group (4.44 ± 0.51 vs. 6.35 ± 2.08 mm, respectively). For nitrite/nitrate concentrations only, there was a significant difference when comparing pre- and post-acute exercise in both groups. The torque and rep. Sixty percent 1 repetition maximum had improvements in both groups. There were differences between groups only in isometric delta EF and isokinetic delta KE (EF 3.42 ± 5.09 and 9.61 ± 7.52 N·m; KE 12.78 ± 25.61 and 42.69 ± 35.68 N·m; LI-BFR and HI-RT groups, respectively). There was a significant increase of muscle thickness in both groups. An increase of both isokinetic and isometric electromyography (EMG) of biceps of the HI-RT group was observed. The same was observed for the LI-BFR group regarding isokinetic and isometric EMG of vastus lateralis. Thus, in addition to strength and hypertrophy gains, this study also shows benefits related to vascular function. For practical applications, this study demonstrates a clinical importance of LI-BFR training as an alternative methodology.
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The deadlift and back and front squats are common multijoint, lower-body resistance exercises that target similar musculature. To our knowledge, muscle activity measured using surface electromyography has never been analyzed among these 3 exercises. Furthermore, most literature examining this topic has included male participants creating a void in the literature for the female population. Knowledge of lower-body muscle activation among these 3 exercises can aid coaches, trainers, and therapists for training and rehabilitative purposes. Trained women (n = 13) completed 2 days of testing including a 1-repetition maximum (1RM) estimation, an actual 1RM, and 3 repetitions at 75% 1RM load for the deadlift and back and front squats. Muscle activity of the 3 repetitions of each muscle was averaged and normalized as a percentage to the 1RM lifts for the deadlift and front and back squats. Five separate repeated-measure analysis of variances were performed indicating muscle activity of the gluteus maximus (GM) differed among the 3 exercises (p = 0.01, (Equation is included in full-text article.)= 0.39). Specifically, post hoc analysis indicated greater muscle activity during the front squat (M = 94%, SD = 15%) compared with the deadlift (M = 72%, SD = 16%; p ≤ 0.05) in the GM. No significant differences were observed among the lifts in the vastus medialis, vastus lateralis, biceps femoris, and rectus femoris. Strength and conditioning specialist and trainers can use these findings by prescribing the front squat to recruit greater motor units of the GM.
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Collazo García, CL, Rueda, J, Suárez Luginick, B, Navarro, E. Differences in the electromyographic activity of lower-body muscles in hip thrust variations. J Strength Cond Res XX(X): 000-000, 2018-Coaches often use variations of an exercise to train a specific muscle. The purpose of this study was to analyze motor patterns in 4 variations of one of the most popular strength training exercises for the lower body: the barbell hip thrust. Seven experienced personal trainers performed a series of 8 repetitions of each variation with a load of 40% one repetition maximum. Subjects rested 3' between series. Electromyographic (EMG) muscle activity was measured in the rectus femoris, vastus medialis; vastus lateralis; gluteus maximus; gluteus medius; biceps femoris; and semitendinosus. Variations of the hip thrust exercise were performed by changing the position of the feet (feet were moving away from the body) and the direction of force exerted by subjects (intentional force aimed at hip's external rotation and knee's flexion). Repeated-measures analysis of variance revealed significant differences in EMG in all muscles except for the gluteus medius, where no differences were observed among variations. The results obtained suggest that hip thrust variations have different motor patterns, which can be exploited to adapt an exercise to the individual needs of each athlete.
Article
Background: Strengthening and activation of the gluteus maximus and gluteus medius while minimizing the contribution of the tensor fascia latae are important components in the treatment of many lower limb injuries. Previous researchers have evaluated a myriad of exercises that activate the gluteus maximus (GMax) and gluteus medius (GMed), however, limited research has been performed describing the role of the addition of elastic resistance to commonly used exercises. Purpose: The primary purpose of this study was to determine the gluteal-to-tensor fascia latae muscle activation (GTA index) and compare electromyographic muscle activation of the GMax, GMed, and TFL while performing 13 commonly prescribed exercises designed to target the GMax and GMed. The secondary purpose of this study was to compare muscle activation of the GMax, GMed, and TFL while performing a subgroup of three matched exercises with and without elastic resistance. Study design: Repeated measures cohort study. Methods: A sample of 11 healthy, physically active male and females, free of low back pain and lower extremity injuries, were recruited for the study. Surface electromyography was used to quantify the normalized EMG activation of the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and tensor fascia latae while performing 13 exercises. Three of these exercises were performed with and without elastic resistance. The maximal voluntary isometric contraction was established for each muscle and order in which the exercises were performed was randomized to minimize the effect of fatigue. Results: The relative activation of the gluteal muscles were compared to the tensor fascia latae and expressed as the GTA index. Clams with and without resistance, running man gluteus maximus exercise on the stability trainer, and bridge with resistance, generated the highest GTA index respectively. Significant differences in activation of the TFL occurred between clams with and without resistance. Conclusions: The findings are consistent with those of previous investigators who reported that the clam exercise optimally activated the gluteal muscles while minimizing tensor fascia latae activation. Levels of evidence: Level 2b.