SQUATMAX IS SUPERIOR TO FIXED ARM AND PULLEY BELT SQUAT VERSIONS
Click on the below video to hear why some of the top biomechanics experts in the field and Division 1 coaches agree!
Squatmax is the only belt squat on the market that has been shown via peer reviewed research (Gulick et al 2014) to activate the lower body and glute musculature similarly to the barbell back squat. Only one other peer reviewed study on belt squats is published (Evans et al 2019), and in the study, it was found that a "lever arm" belt squat machine (the Pit Shark) failed to activate the glutes similarly to the barbell back squat. Citations for studies below:
Gulick DT, Fagnani JA, and Gulick CN. Comparison of muscle activation of hip belt squat and barbell back squat techniques. Isokinetics and Exercise Science 23: 101-108, 2015.
Evans, T.W., McLester, C.N., Howard, J., McLester, J.R., Calloway, J. A comparison of muscle activation between back squats and belt squats. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. Accepted May 23, 2017. In Press Manuscript # JSCR-08-7836 and
J Strength Cond Res. 2019 Jul;33 Suppl 1:S52-S59. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000002052
Where Squatmax truly shines is in its’ ability to differentiate itself from other belt squat systems. By comparison, the Squatmax patented design allows for true free weight squat movement with a convenient set-up usually only found with a fixed path machine. This allows the athlete to perform a squat proven to evoke the same lower body activation and nueromuscular patterns as a barbell back squat. The ability for the weight to be centered under the lifters hip musculature allows the athlete to maximize the effort of the lower body musculature while simultaneously facilitating the neurodynamics associated with free weight strength movements in a functional closed chain environment. NO OTHER BELT SQUAT DESIGN HAS THE ABILITY TO DO THIS.
With a unique patented design, the Squatmax utilizes barbell plate weights to be loaded under a lifter using a guide pin system. This system allows for a vertical line of force that is continuously centered and directed immediately beneath the pelvis of the athlete throughout the entirety of the lift. The significance here is that ALL other belt squat systems are fixed to either an anchored pulley system at a single point on the platform or a rigid fixed lever arm. By “anchoring” the athlete to a fixed fulcrum, at varying ranges of motion during execution of the movement the athlete will be influenced by an increasing moment arm which multiplies forces in unnatural vectors. For example, as the lifter hip hinges back to execute a proper squat, the posterior displacement of the pelvis further increases the moment arm and leverage on the lumbar spine where the load of the hip belt is positioned. This creates a shearing force on the lumbar spine which is a potent mechanism for lumbar spine disc herniation. Further, the leverage transmitted to the lumbar spine will cause an increased anterior pelvic tilt and an extension moment about the lumbar spine which increases the lordosis and significantly loads the facet joints of the spine (this is a potent mechanism for spondylolysis which is a common concern in young athletes; a spondylolysis is a fracture of the pars interarticularis which can eventually lead to spondylolisthesis where the vertebra translates forward secondary to a pars interarticularis fracture). The Squatmax has the ability to virtually eliminate both of these concerns by allowing the lifter to stay positioned immediately superior to the weight lifted thus removing any potential moment arms or torque arms that can be placed on the pelvis and lumbar spine. The Squatmax allows the lifter to engage the core musculature during the lift while maintaining a neutral pelvic and lumbar alignment. In contrast, other belt squat systems place the athlete in and extended lumbar spine position with excessive anterior pelvic tilt which elongates and inhibits the global and local core musculature.
Athletes are rarely ever “tethered” to a specific point in their environment. In fact, athleticism can be uniquely defined as an individual’s ability to freely interact with their environment via coordinated movements of the body. In other belt squat systems, the athlete is always fixed to a specific point on the platform which serves as a lever arm attached to a given fulcrum which also influences and changes the weight lifted. Many belt squat systems utilize pulleys in a series which creates a mechanical advantage for the lifter and thus does not allow for proper determination of “weight lifted”. Other systems (such as the Pit Shark) utilize a second-class lever arm attached to a fulcrum in which both the lifter and the weight lifted are attached via a rigid lever on the same side of the fulcrum, thus creating a mechanical advantage for the lifter. Lower body athleticism rarely, if ever, displays the degree of mechanical advantage provided by other belt squat systems via the use of external levers and pulleys. By utilizing levers or pulleys we also create a neuromuscular disconnect between the weight and the athlete thus decreasing the potential for athletic development. The Squatmax is the ONLY commercial belt squat designed to remove the lever and pulley systems and allow direct interaction between the athlete and the resistance to simulate a dynamic closed chain activity with respect to gravity.