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Stress for Vertebral Bodies and Intervertebral Discs with Respect to Squatting Depth

Department of Human Movement Science and Athletic Training, Institute of Sports Sciences, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-University Frankfurt am Main, Ginnheimer Landstraße 39, 60487 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Applied Sciences Wiener Neustadt, Johannes Gutenberg-Straße 3, 2700 Wiener Neustadt, Austria
Swimming Federation of the State Lower Saxony, Ferdinand-Wilhelm-Fricke Weg 10, 30169 Hannover, Germany
Bobsleight and Luge Federation Germany, An der Schießstätte 6, 83471 Berchtesgaden, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Giuseppe Musumeci
J. Funct. Morphol. Kinesiol. 2016, 1(2), 254-268;
Received: 1 March 2016 / Revised: 28 April 2016 / Accepted: 9 June 2016 / Published: 16 June 2016
PDF [589 KB, uploaded 16 June 2016]


For the development of speed strength in professional sports, “specific” strength training in the half or the quarter squat have been recommended. Due to the better lever ratios, higher loads have to be used to induce the necessary training stimuli compared to the deep squat. Therefore, intradiscal pressure and compressive forces on vertebral bodies increase. Calculated compressive forces for the L3/L4 vertebral segment were revealed to be 6–10-fold bodyweight when the half or the quarter squat was performed with 0.8–1.6-fold bodyweight. After 10 weeks of training, physical education students have even been able to lift 3.89-fold bodyweight in the one repetition maximum (1-RM) of the quarter squat. The presented dependence of squatting depth, load and their influence on the spinal column have not been discussed before. A search for relevant scientific literature was conducted using PubMed. Concerns about increased risk of injuries in the deep squat have been disproven by plenty of cross-sectional studies with professional athletes. On the contrary, the comparably supramaximal weight loads in the half and the quarter squat should be regarded as increasing injury risks caused by the higher shear and compressive forces in the vertebral column. Therefore, we come to the conclusion that the half and the quarter squat should not further be recommended. View Full-Text
Keywords: squat exercise; intradiscal pressure; intervertebral disc; vertebral column stress squat exercise; intradiscal pressure; intervertebral disc; vertebral column stress

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Hartmann, H.; Wirth, K.; Mickel, C.; Keiner, M.; Sander, A.; Yaghobi, D. Stress for Vertebral Bodies and Intervertebral Discs with Respect to Squatting Depth. J. Funct. Morphol. Kinesiol. 2016, 1, 254-268.

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J. Funct. Morphol. Kinesiol. EISSN 2411-5142 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
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