When I realized I could do this last weekend … I knew it would make for an epic video, under the right title. Truly, in the above video, I do perform a 1,706 pound squat. Which is what makes it so hysterical.
Hysterical because most people are not even aware that multiple types of squats exist, beyond just the barbell back squat. You have goblet squats, dumbbell squats, smith machine back squats, smith machine front squats, pistol squats, body weight squats, resistance band squats, plate loaded hip belt squats, motorized hip belt squats, static hip belt squats (non-motorized), kettlebell squats, free standing barbell back squats, free standing barbell front squats … and on down the line.
The possibilities are enormous.
The above is simply a video of me performing, what I think, is a new type of repetition on a motorized hip belt squat : a hyper-static. It involves the trainee getting close to the mid range of the squat, and then statically contracting at, or very close to 100% effort.
And then after a number of seconds have passed, activating eccentric contraction via lowering the belt, while maintaining level of effort, or increasing to 100%, if subject was not already at that level of effort. What I *think* is happening is that the skeletal muscles in play get “stuck” for a few seconds in a lengthened position, and then slowly return to their previous static position.
This allows a trainee to produce a similar level of force to a negative contraction, while remaining still in the new position — which is not normally what happens during a purely static contraction, where the muscles are neither lengthening or shortening.
I think this is very similar to what happens when “grandma lifts the car of grandpa”. Car falls on father time. Grandma freaks out when she sees her husband approaching death, and via adrenaline and high speed, is able to temporarily perform a feat of strength not normally within her capacity to express.
Grandma is now in a static position as grandpa crawls out from under the car. In the meantime Grandma is struggling to maintain a static position with the car, constantly alternating between a static and eccentric contraction as she gives in to the weight of the car.
The result is a feat of “super human strength”, or worded differently, the absolute maximum level of force a particular human being is capable of expressing*.
What is being demonstrated is not just her “negative, 40% extra” strength, it’s that she is oscillating between a static and a negative contraction.
*This may only be true on motorized equipment, when the resistance is user driven and impossible to overcome. This stands in contrast to “the car” which is a static weight that “grandma” is yielding to over time.
In reality, and unlike the over-hyped “1 rep max”, this is a person’s maximum maximum level of strength, measured via the ARx Fit Omni. As I’ve discussed before, a free weight, or gravity dependent 1 repetition maximum is only a measurement of a person’s minimum maximum.
It is the greatest amount of force they can produce through the weakest range of motion during the weakest part of the repetition : the concentric phase. When you think about it, in spite of it’s popularity, it is not very impressive, nor representative of a persons’s maximum strength.
It’s all show, no “best and highest possible”.
Now, as for safety … I am open to discussion of how safe what I am doing in the video is. However, introspectively, I feel observably the same as I do after a typical TSC belt squat on the OMNI, or after an intense set to momentary muscular failure on a leg press.
While the force output is enormous, it is simply a mirror of my own effort against the machine. And it is being done in a bio-mechanically sound position : away from the extremes. (However, for demonstration purposes I was not happy with the first belt squat, so I performed a second set and ended in a slightly lower position, one I was happier with for the video).
What is probably most astounding, and easy to forget, is that my MPFL was surgically cut in half and “really tightened down” just 8 months ago. After performing 100% of my own rehabilitation, the fact that I am able to generate this much force, is a pretty astounding testimonial.
Hell, I’m still missing a clinically verified pound of muscle in my operative leg.
And unlike other major ligaments in the knee, the MPFL actually has a TON to do with bending the knee. Unlike the ACL, the PCL, etc which keep it from “bending” in ways it is not ever supposed to bend … the MPFL is absorbing the majority of the force applied to the patella during normal operation.
For those unfamiliar with knee injuries, yes, I am definitely paranoid/hyper-sensitive to damage to the knee. And not even the slightest of twinges was felt during the filming of this video.
(I would have stopped immediately if that were the case : not rinse and repeat for round two).
If anything … my knees feel great!