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Electromyographic Activity of the Hamstrings During Performance of the Leg Curl, Stiff-Leg Deadlift, and Back Squat Movements.

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: May 1999
Original Article: PDF Only

To compare the effectiveness of 3 weight-training movements for the hamstrings, 11 weight-trained men performed 3 repetitions at 75% of 1 repetition maximum of the leg curl (LC), stiff-leg deadlift (SLDL), and back squat. Integrated electromyography (EMG) and peak EMG were analyzed in the biceps femoris and semitendinosus independantly during the concentric (CON) and eccentric (ECC) phase of each exercise. Results were as follows: CON-LC and CON-SLDL elicited the greatest integrated EMG activity, with no significant difference between exercises. The CON-squat showed approximately half as much integrated EMG activity as CON-LC and CON-SLDL. Highest peak EMG was found in the CON-LC and CON-SLDL, with no significant difference in these exercises. The CON-squat produced a peak EMG that was approximately 70% of LC and SLDL. We conclude that LC and SLDL involve the hamstrings to a similar degree; however, the back squat involves only about half as much hamstring integrated EMG activity as LC and SLDL.

(C) 1999 National Strength and Conditioning Association