THE SQUATMAX DESIGN IS SUPERIOR TO ANCHORED TO A FIXED POINT LEVER ARM AND CABLE BELT SQUAT VARIATIONS
PATENTED FREE WEIGHT DESIGN:
Where Squatmax truly shines is in its’ ability to differentiate itself from other anchored to a fixed point belt squat designs. The patented Squatmax design allows for a true free weight squat movement proven to evoke the same lower body activation and nueromuscular patterns as a barbell back squat.
The Squatmax design provides 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 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.
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.
In a recently completed independent peer reviewed research study (Gulick, September 2020) that compared the muscle activity between the 3 different belt squat designs that are currently on the market, our patented Squatmax design was shown to outperform both lever arm (Pit Shark) and cable/pulley belt squat designs (Rogue Rhino). Squatmax produced more activity in every muscle that was measured including statistically significant activity in the glute medius, VMO, and rectus femoris activity.
Because Squatmax was shown to activate both the primary "mover" muscles as well as the stabilizers of the lower body, it is the best belt squat choice no matter whether the the athlete's goal is to improve strength, hypertrophy, athletic performance or to reduce the chance of injury.
Additional Independent Belt Squat Research: To date, Squatmax also remains the only belt squat design on the market that has been shown via peer reviewed research (Gulick et al 2014) to activate the entire lower body and glute musculature similarly to an actual barbell back squat. In 2 other peer reviewed studies that compared 2 lever arm belt squat models directly against the barbell backsquat (Evans et al 2019/Pit Shark Machine) and (Lawrence et al 2020 Wenning Belt Squat Machine), there was statistically significant differences found in muscle activation between both of these lever arm belt squats compared to a barbell back squat. Study links and citations are provided at the bottom of the page.
In summary, the findings in the Wenning Lever Arm Belt Squat study were similar to the Pit Shark study as both lever arm belt squat devices were found to produce statistically significant less Glute Max and Glute Med activity compared to barbell back squats.
In the discussion section of the publication, the Investigators offered some ideas on why there may be a significantly less Glute max and med activity between lever arms versus Squatmax and the likely differences are due to the very different belt squat designs. Squatmax provides a free vertical load while the Wenning and Pit Shark machines provide a fixed load that rotates about a pivot.
Citations and links to all published belt squat studies to date are provided 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
Joseph L, Reilly J, Sweezey K, Waugh R, Carlson LA, Lawrence MA. Activity of Trunk and Lower Extremity Musculature: Comparison Between Parallel Back Squats and Belt Squats. J Hum Kinet. 2020;72:223‐228. Published 2020 Mar 31. doi:10.2478/hukin-2019-0126