Effects of squat training with different depths on lower limb muscle volumes

Abstract

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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Abbreviations

ANOVA:

Analysis of variance

BFl:

Biceps femoris long head muscle

BFs:

Biceps femoris short head muscle

EF:

Effect size

FST:

Full squat training

HST:

Half squat training

SD:

Standard deviation

SM:

Semimembranosus muscle

ST:

Semitendinosus muscle

1RM:

One repetition maximum

RF:

Rectus femoris muscle

VI:

Vastus intermedius muscle

VL:

Vastus lateralis muscle

VM:

Vastus medialis muscle

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Acknowledgements

This study was supported by a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (B) (17H02149 to K. Kubo) from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. The authors thank Mr. Sasaki S. (Hanada College) for his technical assistance with magnetic resonance imaging measurements.

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All authors approved to submit this manuscript. The contributions of all authors were as follows: KK: conception of this study, acquisition of data, drafting the manuscript; TI: acquisition of data, analysis data; HY: drafting figures and tables, conception of this study.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Keitaro Kubo.

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Communicated by William J. Kraemer.

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Kubo, K., Ikebukuro, T. & Yata, H. Effects of squat training with different depths on lower limb muscle volumes. Eur J Appl Physiol 119, 1933–1942 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-019-04181-y

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Keywords

  • Knee extensor
  • Hamstring
  • Adductor
  • Gluteus maximus
  • Magnetic resonance imaging