Now this is a subject I write about often, always stressing how important it is as these exerts from the safety program show....
"There are no gray areas on these issues. You are either in the correct position or you are not on the machine at all. Please remember 40 correct movements a second can easily turn into 40 incorrect movements a second by not following these rules.
In our studios the machine will be turned off by an instructor the second you are out of our safety positions.
"But it's hard" will not be taken as a valid excuse for being out of position.
But I thought it was time to go into finer detail on the subject. I will be using the squat position in my example, but it must be stressed this goes for ALL joint angles for Direct Response poses ( read here for definition http://www.vibrationtraining.net/2007/12/the-four-kinds-of-vibration-training-poses )
The 110 degree rule of thumb ( skeletal alignment ).....
So what does this precise angle exactly look like ? Well we all know what 90 degrees look like, it is a perfect " L " shape , 110 degrees looks like that but just a bit wider angled. To put it into an everyday visual, get someone to sit down in a chair but stop short of actually touching the chair. This for most people is the precise angle they should be emulating on a vibration training platform, no matter what type of squat they are doing. You will also find this is the hardest pose to hold because all the pressure is being directed at the girth of the muscle. This "uncomfortable zone" is preferred over the "comfort zone" most people try to gravitate into.
Why don't we want to be comfortable....?
Think about this, the platform is still producing the same amount of energy no matter how you stand, but how you stand dictates where that energy goes.
Eg... If you are standing lock legged on the machine in a normal standing position your muscles take zero load, your joints take everything. As you go down into a squat your muscle take over and are forced to respond to the energy in the vibration and work harder. The lower towards that 110 degree angle you go the less stress your joints take and the more your muscles have to take.
Why is that so important....?
That is something you can answer for yourself with these simple questions...
(1) Why would you want to deliberately stress your joint ?
(2) How many calories do your joints burn anyway ?
(3) Does "making it feel easier" sound like a workout that is going to give results ?
The comfort zone is your enemy, not your friend, everyone tries to come up into the position that feels the easiest, in fact your body will do it for you. It is your job to fight that instinct.
Now some people will say to you " but I cant bend my knees to 110 degrees " Well in some cases of arthritis or injury this may be true, but a simple tests for everybody sorts this out quickly. Get them to sit down in a chair, if they can not sit down then they are right, but if they can then they had to go into that 110 degree angle on the way down. Standing up is 180 degrees, sitting down is 90 degrees so unless they have somehow bypassed the laws of geometry they just bent their legs 110 degrees Right ?. What they are really saying is...
" I cant hold my weight at 110 degrees because it is too hard "
It is Ok if someone can not hold the pose. Take the Super Squat for example, about 25% of my customers can not do that pose, so we use side handle bars or allow them to do number #1 again instead. What you never do as a trainer is let someone get on the machine knowing they have no hope of getting into position and holding it.
So the evolution of the squat on a standard Lineal platform is this....
(1) Sitting on a chair in front, legs bent 110 degrees.
(2) Basic Squat
(3) Super Squat
Moving up or down that list depending on the persons capabilities.
Note: The customers opinion means nothing in all of this, the angle is non-negotiable. They will argue to the end they can do it , then cheat right in front of you. They can either do it or they can not. Allowing them to do it out of position will come back to haunt you later when you decide to get tough. And going too low is just as bad as coming up too high.