What Muscles Are Used for Concentric Squats?

by Fitzalan Gorman, Demand Media
    A concentric squat has you starting out in the squatting position and rising up.

    A concentric squat has you starting out in the squatting position and rising up.

    The concentric squat is a fancy way of referring to a reverse squat or a bottoms-up squat. Instead of starting in a standing position, you start from a squatting position and rise up. This is called a concentric squat because the primary targeted muscle, your quadriceps, begins away from your body. It is fully extended and shortens in length as you rise up.

    Primary Muscle

    Your quadriceps, the four-headed muscle running along the front of your thighs, benefits the most from the squat. The heads all begin at different places but insert together into your patella, or kneecap. They work together to help you straighten your knee. Three of the heads begin from your femur, but one head, your rectus femoris, starts from your pelvis. Because it stretches across your hip joint, this part of your quadriceps is also engaged when you bend your hip.

    Supporting Muscles

    While your quadriceps are targeted the most during the concentric squat, other muscles also engage so you can complete this move. Your gluteus maximus, the largest muscle in your buttock, engages when you rise out of your squat by helping to straighten your hip joint. Your adductor magnus, a muscle on the back of your inner thigh, also helps with straightening your hip. Down in your calves, your soleus engages to flex your ankle as you lower back down into your squat.

    Stabilizing Muscles

    Two more muscles are used during the concentric squat to help stabilize affected joints. These are dynamic muscles because they cross over two joints, meaning they have to work double duty. Your hamstrings, situated on the back of your thighs, stabilize your knee while you squat down and your hip while you rise up. Your gastrocnemius, the larger muscle in your calves, stabilizes both your knee and ankle joints while you lower down.

    Proper Form

    For the concentric squat, you want to begin in a squatting position, which has your thighs parallel with the ground. Your feet should be hip-width apart and your back should be straight. Make sure your knees are pointing in the same direction as your feet. Engage your core as you press back into your heels. Rise up by straightening both your knee and hip joint simultaneously until you are standing straight. Return to the starting position and repeat.

    About the Author

    Fitzalan Gorman has more than 10 years of academic and commercial experience in research and writing. She has written speeches and text for CEOs, company presidents and leaders of major nonprofit organizations. Gorman has published for professional cycling teams and various health and fitness websites. She has a Master of Arts from Virginia Tech in political science and is a NASM certified personal trainer.

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