PURPOSE: This study examined the effects of changes in the head direction (forward, upward 10° and downward 10°) on the quadriceps, center of pressure (COP), and foot pressure during squat exercises. The aim was to determine if the head direction could better activate the quadriceps muscle and provide a safer and stable squat posture during squat exercise.
METHODS: Fifteen healthy college students were asked to stand on a Zebris, and three electrodes for sEMG were attached to their vastus medialis oblique (VMO), vastus lateralis (VL), and rectus femoris (RF) muscles. The participants then performed squatting exercises under three head directions (forward, upward 10°, and downward 10°).
Surface electrodes were then used to record the EMG data during exercise. The Zebris FDM-SX was used to measure the foot pressure and COP of the participants.
RESULTS: In squat exercise, the upward head direction group showed significantly higher VL activation than the downward head direction group (p < .05). The upward head direction group showed a significant backward change in the deviation of the COP than the downward and forward groups (p < .05). The upward head direction group showed a significant decrease in forefoot pressure than the downward and forward groups (p < .05) and an increase in the hindfoot pressure compared to the downward and forward groups (p < .05).
CONCLUSION: The head direction upward in squat exercise has a positive effect on the quadriceps.