University of Oregon

Department of Human Physiology Graduate Studies in Athletic Training and Sports Medicine

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Soleus Muscle Firing Patterns Associated with the Heel Lift Error during the Deep Overhead Squat.

Kyle Payne MS, ATC

Functional movement screens are useful tools for evaluating balance, symmetry, mobility and stability in athletes. Most movement screens are composed of standard athletic movements such as the deep overhead squat. Typical errors observed during the deep overhead squat include medial or lateral knee shifts, excessive forward lean, and heels elevating off the ground. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the deep overhead squat and compare the surface electromyography (EMG) activity in the tibialis anterior and soleus between collegiate athletes with and without a heel lift during the deep overhead squat. Statistical analyses were performed to determine if the %MVC activation at the end of the descent phase of the squat was different between the groups. Heel lifters produced a higher activation in the soleus at the end of the descent phase (P<.05) compared to subjects who maintained heel contact throughout the squat. Therefore, over-activation of the soleus muscle may be one factor influencing the heel lift error, although future research to confirm this conclusion is encouraged.