During an air squat muscles worked, and hamstrings are recruited as a stabilizer and assist in hip extension. The hamstrings are a collection of three muscles that originate from the back of the pelvis and insert at the top of the tibia, fibula, and femur.
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They are also involved in hip flexion, deceleration, and pelvic orientation. A weak hamstring can increase the risk of knee injury. A strong hamstring can help improve hip extension torque and squatting speed.
A study looked at the relative activation of hamstrings and quadriceps. They found that hamstrings are only 25% as active as quadriceps. However, increasing the loads in a squat increased the relative activation of hamstrings. The study also showed that the peak demand for quadriceps at full depth was 87% of maximal. This is an indication that quads can only handle so much load.
In addition, there are several squat variations, which stress the hamstrings more. For example, stepping back foot is an effective way to stretch the lower hamstrings. Stepping back foot also tilts the front shin back.
When performing a squat, the feet should be slightly wider than hip width. You should also maintain a neutral spine and chest up during the exercise.
You should also focus on strengthening your glutes. Glute strengthening will reduce your reliance on hamstrings. Glute strengthening increases total hip extension torque. It will also help improve knee extension torque.
Another important factor to consider is the depth of the squat. If the squat is too shallow, the hamstrings will not be recruited as much. This will make it harder for you to get out of the hole.