Deconstructing the power resistance relationship for squats: A joint-level analysis

D. J. Farris, G. A. Lichtwark, N. A.T. Brown, A. G. Cresswell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Generating high leg power outputs is important for executing rapid movements. Squats are commonly used to increase leg strength and power. Therefore, it is useful to understand factors affecting power output in squatting. We aimed to deconstruct the mechanisms behind why power is maximized at certain resistances in squatting. Ten male rowers (age = 20 ± 2.2 years; height = 1.82 ± 0.03 m; mass = 86 ± 11 kg) performed maximal power squats with resistances ranging from body weight to 80% of their one repetition maximum (1RM). Three-dimensional kinematics was combined with ground reaction force (GRF) data in an inverse dynamics analysis to calculate leg joint moments and powers. System center of mass (COM) velocity and power were computed from GRF data. COM power was maximized across a range of resistances from 40% to 60% 1RM. This range was identified because a trade-off in hip and knee joint powers existed across this range, with maximal knee joint power occurring at 40% 1RM and maximal hip joint power at 60% 1RM. A non-linear system force-velocity relationship was observed that dictated large reductions in COM power below 20% 1RM and above 60% 1RM. These reductions were due to constraints on the control of the movement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)774-781
Number of pages8
JournalScandinavian journal of medicine & science in sports
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2016
Externally publishedYes


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