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Comparison of Myoelectric Activity During a Suspension-Based and Traditional Split Squat

Miller, William M.1; Barnes, Jeremy T.2; Sofo, Seidu S.2; Wagganer, Jason D.2

Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: December 2019 - Volume 33 - Issue 12 - p 3236–3241
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000003338
Original Research

Miller, WM, Barnes, JT, Sofo, SS, and Wagganer, JD. Comparison of myoelectric activity during a suspension-based and traditional split squat. J Strength Cond Res 33(12): 3236–3241, 2019—Over several decades, traditional resistance training has incorporated body-mass suspension training (SPT), for example, Total-Body Resistance Exercise (TRX); however, very little research has been completed investigating the effects of lower body SPT. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to assess sex differences in myoelectric activity via electromyography while performing a stable (i.e., bench) traditional split squat (TSS) compared with suspension body-mass split squat (TRXSS). Nineteen recreationally active individuals (mean ± SD = men: n = 9; 21.4 ± 2.1 years; 177.2 ± 9.0 cm; 84.2 ± 8.8 kg; women: n = 10; 21.5 ± 1.6 years; 160.7 ± 8.5 cm; 59.1 ± 7.9 kg) participated in this investigation. Subjects performed 3 training sessions, 1 familiarization and 2 (one for each variation) split squat. The TRXSS was performed by placing the rear foot within the foot cradle of the strap, while the TSS required placement of the rear foot on a stable bench (40.64 cm). The TRXSS resulted in higher peak and average myoelectric activity overall, as well as greater gluteus maximus myoelectric activity. No gender or rectus femoris myoelectric activity differences were found. The increased myoelectric activity of the gluteus maximus during the TRXSS was most likely due to increased medial/lateral stabilization demands on the suspended leg. These findings provide insight into TRX as a useful exercise modality for recreationally active or rehabilitative purposes.

1Department of Kinesiology, Nutrition, and Recreation Management, University of Mississippi, University, Mississippi; and

2Department of Health, Human Performance, and Recreation, Southeast Missouri State University, Cape Girardeau, Missouri

Address correspondence to William M. Miller,

Copyright © 2019 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.