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Logo of brjsmedBritish Journal of Sports MedicineVisit this articleSubmit a manuscriptReceive email alertsContact usBMJ
Br J Sports Med. 2007 April; 41(4): 268.
PMCID: PMC2658964


This small biomechanical study investigated the decline squat by kinematic analysis. The findings support its use as a means of preferentially loading the knee extensor mechanism. The main mechanisms for this would appear to be twofold:

  1. Minimisation of passive tension of the calf and ankle ligaments posterior to the ankle.
  2. Maintenance of an erect trunk, which maximises the effective moment arm of the mass of the trunk from the knee joint axis.

It is an interesting and constructive finding that the angle of decline needs only be sufficient to reduce the effect of the posterior ankle restraints, and that this is best served at angles between 15° and 25° on decline. Also useful is the finding that placement of the contralateral leg did not significantly alter the loading.

A further clinically relevant element is that addition of a backpack effectively increases the knee extensor moment by increasing both the mass as well as distance from the centre of the mass of the trunk to the knee.

The study also supports the modelling by Buff et al in finding that in order to optimise patellar tendon loading, yet minimise the large patellofemoral joint compression loads of a single leg squat performed in this manner, knee flexion is best limited to around 60°.

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