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Cruciate Ligament Force during the Wall Squat and the One-Leg Squat

ESCAMILLA, RAFAEL F.1; ZHENG, NAIQUAN2; IMAMURA, RODNEY3; MACLEOD, TORAN D.4; EDWARDS, W. BRENT5; HRELJAC, ALAN3; FLEISIG, GLENN S.6; WILK, KEVIN E.7; MOORMAN, CLAUDE T. III8; ANDREWS, JAMES R.6,9

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: February 2009 - Volume 41 - Issue 2 - p 408-417
doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181882c6d
Applied Sciences

Purpose: To compare cruciate ligament forces during wall squat and one-leg squat exercises.

Methods: Eighteen subjects performed the wall squat with feet closer to the wall (wall squat short), the wall squat with feet farther from the wall (wall squat long), and the one-leg squat. EMG, force, and kinematic variables were input into a biomechanical model using optimization. A three-factor repeated-measure ANOVA (P < 0.05) with planned comparisons was used.

Results: Mean posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) forces were significantly greater in 1) wall squat long compared with wall squat short (0°-80° knee angles) and one-leg squat (0°-90° knee angles); 2) wall squat short compared with one-leg squat between 0°-20° and 90° knee angles; 3) wall squat long compared with wall squat short (70°-0° knee angles) and one-leg squat (90°-60° and 20°-0° knee angles); and 4) wall squat short compared with one-leg squat between 90°-70° and 0° knee angles. Peak PCL force magnitudes occurred between 80° and 90° knee angles and were 723 ± 127 N for wall squat long, 786 ± 197 N for wall squat short, and 414 ± 133 N for one-leg squat. Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) forces during one-leg squat occurred between 0° and 40° knee angles, with a peak magnitude of 59 ± 52 N at 30° knee angle. Quadriceps force ranged approximately between 30 and 720 N, whereas hamstring force ranged approximately between 15 and 190 N.

Conclusions: Throughout the 0°-90° knee angles, the wall squat long generally exhibited significantly greater PCL forces compared with the wall squat short and one-leg squat. PCL forces were similar between the wall squat short and the one-leg squat. ACL forces were generated only in the one-leg squat. All exercises appear to load the ACL and the PCL within a safe range in healthy individuals.

1Department of Physical Therapy, California State University, Sacramento, CA; 2The Center for Biomedical Engineering, Department of Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Science, University of North Carolina, Charlotte, NC; 3Kinesiology and Health Science Department, California State University, Sacramento, CA; 4Department of Physical Therapy, Center for Biomedical Engineering Research, University of Delaware, Newark, DE; 5Department of Kinesiology, Iowa State University, Ames, IA; 6American Sports Medicine Institute, Birmingham, AL; 7Champion Sports Medicine, Birmingham, AL; 8Duke Sports Medicine Center, Duke University, Durham, NC; and 9Andrews Research and Education Institute, Gulf Breeze, FL

Address for correspondence: Rafael F. Escamilla, Ph.D., P.T., C.S.C.S.,FACSM, Professor, Department of Physical Therapy, California State University, Sacramento, 6000 J Street, Sacramento, CA 95819-6020; E-mail: rescamil@csus.edu.

Submitted for publication September 2007.

Accepted for publication July 2008.

©2009The American College of Sports Medicine