Two simple, yet consistent ideas are the basis of The SquatGuide™ design:
1. Do not let your knees go too far forward in the sagittal plane (observing from the side).
2. At a minimum, keep your knees pushed out over your toes in the frontal plane (observing from the front)
These two simple tips are used by rehab specialists, strength coaches and fitness experts all over the world. These two guidelines are also desirable no matter the width of your stance or the degree your toes turn out.
So how does it work?
1. The stance width is adjustable
- Basic recommendation is to set width so that users heels are shoulder width apart.
2. Anterior knee guide
- The anterior guide bar is in line with the tips of the users toes such that the users knees are unable to extend out past the toes (basis of design in idea 1). This forces the user to then achieve squat depth with the hips and gets the users weight back into their rearfoot preventing over reliance on the quadriceps muscles and anterior knee pain while increasing stability at the feet and recruitment of the hip and hamstring musculature.
3. Lateral knee guide
- The lateral guide bar can be padded as it is intended for the user to contact it with the lateral (outside) part of the knee. The guide is in line with the outside of the users foot. This requires that as the user descends into their squat, their knee is out over the foot (or further) preventing undue stress to the medial structures of the knee, clearing the femur away from the the hip socket to reduce impingement, allow greater squat depth, and aide in keeping the foot from falling into a pronated position (basis of design in idea 2). In short, this prevents medial collapse.
4. Frontal plane hinge
- The knee guide posts hinge in the frontal plane only (hinge out, not in or forward) to allow the user to push the knees out further than the lateral foot if their hip mobility allows and if the user desires to do so, to achieve a deeper position. Many people who squat with excellent form and efficiency see benefit in pushing the knees out past the toes to maximize external rotation torque at the hip joint. This can aid in gluteal muscle recruitment, allow for a neutral spine position, and decrease the femoral lever arm, helping to prevent the squatter from falling backward. Because the user should keep their knee over their foot, the knee guide posts will not hinge in (meaning that if the users knee loses contact with the lateral knee guide they are no longer keeping the knee in the minimally correct, safe position). The guideposts will also not hinge forward as the anterior knee guide must block the knee from moving out past the toes.
5. Frontal plane hinge resistance systems
- The lateral hinge ability mentioned in #4 can be modified with resistance. Higher resistance will require greater amounts of force produced by the users hips. This can help the user increase their strength and stability while squatting.
6. Stance plates
- The device is stabilized during use by the users body weight when they set their stance width and position on the stance plates. This allows for the SquatGuide™ to travel and be used in any space. The stance plates allow for varying degrees of toe out position given that hip angles are different for users. The user is correctly standing on the plates when their toes contact the front (anterior) rail and the lateral foot contacts the side (lateral) rail.
7. Adjustable and removable seat (Available soon)
- The adjustable seat can be used as a way to track the users squat depth development. New users may find that squatting correctly is difficult and requires that new muscular strength and motor control be developed in order to squat to full depth. The adjustable seat can give them a guide and goal to measure how low they are getting in their squat with correct form. The seat also allows for a place to rest when needed or programmed and may prevent the user from falling backwards should they lose their balance. The seat is also removable if the user feels that they no longer need to use the seat as they squat to full depth with great control and form.
8. Adjustable and removable upper body guide post (Available soon)
- Many people struggle with correct spine position and form during squatting. Ideally, the natural curves of the users spine are maintained during the squat and the users head, neck and shoulder do not extend too far out in the sagittal plane (similar to the knees). To aid in developing proper spinal position, the anterior upper body guide post can be attached to the SquatGuide™. This post will not allow the head to extend out past its setting and will cue the user to remain more upright at their spine. This post will be adjustable, allowing for a progression of difficulty. It will also allow the user to grab the post if needed to check balance, aid the legs when fatigued, or apply a stretch to the lats, shoulders and torso.