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 lined up with the outside of your feet 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 when their toes are in the corners of the stance plate.
2. Anterior knee guide
- The front guide bars (anterior knee guides) essentially block the user from letting their knees move too far forward (Basis of design idea 1). This forces the user to then achieve increasing depth through the hips while simultaneously keeping their weight from moving to the forefoot. This prevents over reliance on the quadriceps muscles and anterior knee pain while increasing stability at the feet and recruitment of the hip and hamstring musculature. These anterior guides provide an external cue by blocking undesired knee movement.
3. Lateral knee guide
- The outer guide bars (lateral knee guides) are for the user to remain in contact with during the movement. The guides are in line with the outside of the users feet. This requires that as the users descends into their squat their knees are kept out of medial collapse. This prevents undue stress to the medial structures of the knee, clears the femur away from the the hip socket to reduce impingement, allows greater squat depth with out sacrificing spine position, and aids in keeping the foot from falling into a pronated position (Basis of design idea 2). The lateral guides provide an external cue to facilitate desired knee movement.
4. Frontal plane hinge
- The knee guide posts hinge in the frontal plane only (hinge out laterally, not in or forward) to allow the user to push the knees out further than the lateral foot position if their hip mobility allows and if the user desires to do so to achieve a deeper position. People who squat with excellent form and efficiency see benefit in driving the knees out wider than their stance to maximize external rotation torque at the hip joint. This can aid in gluteal muscle recruitment, allow for neutral spine position and decrease the femoral lever arm to prevent the squatter from falling backwards. Because the user should never let their knees move into "medial collapse" the knee guides 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 or safe position. The guideposts will also not hinge forward as the anterior knee guide must block the knee from moving too far forward.
5. Stance plates
- The device is stabilized during use by the users body weight when they set their stance width and stand 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 optimal hip and foot angles vary for different users. The user is correctly standing on the plates when their toes contact the front and side rails (corners of the stance plates).
6. Adjustable Stool
- The adjustable stool 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.