Do Men and Women Squat Differently?

I am so happy that I got a chance to sit down and look at what is new in the research world.

February was one of those months.  It was full of assessments and clients plus teaching of courses.

We will see how March goes.

Now lets get into the research.

You Squat Funny!

I am getting ready for two in-services over the next two weeks.  One is with a group of fitness professionals in a corporate fitness setting and the next is in a personal training studio.


They both have asked me to talk about knee injuries.


It was great to come across this article that just came out on looking at common leg exercises and how they differ in men and women.


What They Looked At:


They looked at the kinematics (movement) and muscle activation levels of males and females during three closed chained rehabilitation exercises (single-leg squat, lunge and step-up-and-over) in subjects who were not injured and had varying activity levels.


Cool Stuff in the Paper:


  • There is evidence that females and males have different landing and cutting kinematics.
  • Females have greater knee valgus and knee extension angles during landing.
  • Females have greater hip internal rotation and extension angles during side-step cutting.
  • There are delays in muscle activation in gluteus medius in people with anterior knee pain and in people with chronic ankle sprains.
  • People with a severe ankle sprain often have gluteus maximus muscle activation delays.

What They Found:


  • Women are Different – I know, this is a shock.  They found that females had less knee flexion and greater hip extension angles compared to men in all three exercises.
  • Men are Weird – During a single-leg squat, men have greater hip flexion than females.
  • Muscle Activation Difference – Females had greater muscle activation in rectus femoris and gluteus maximus compared to males in all three exercises.

So What?

If you try to replicate their findings, it makes sense.

Lets say you got into a single-leg squat and you try to decrease your knee flexion and increase your hip extension. You can feel your weight shift more over the middle of your foot and heel.  Plus you can feel the greater activation of gluteus maximus.

Just keep an eye out for this when you get your clients to single-leg squat, lunge and step-up-and-over.

Where to get more information: Dwyer MK, Boudreau SN, Mattacola CG, Uhl TL, Lattermann C. (2010). Comparison of lower extremity kinematics and hip muscle activation during rehabilitation tasks between sexes. J Athl Train. 2010 Mar-Apr;45(2):181-90.

While I was doing research for the above research paper, I came across this:

Fellin RE, Manal K, Davis IS. (2010). Comparison of lower extremity kinematic curves during overground and treadmill running. J Appl Biomech. 2010 Nov;26(4):407-14.

Is Treadmill Running the Same as Running on the Ground?

What they found was they were similar.

This did kind of surprise me.

They looked at things when it came to kinematics of the lower body.  They found that the differences were less then 1.5 degrees between the two except for rear foot dorsiflexion at footstrike on the treadmill which had a decrease of 4.5 degrees.

Interesting to note and something you can pass onto your client if they ask if there is a difference between running on a treadmill or on the ground.

That is it for now.

Still got some more journals to look at.

Take care.

Rick Kaselj, MS