The Tru Squat machine

18.72 In 1997 I bought a Tru-Squat (from Southern Xercise, see page 481) and with it was able to return to intensive squatting. (Instead of the leg press and stiff-legged deadlift as my core leg and back exercises, I moved to the Tru-Squat, and stiff-legged deadlift from just below knee height.) ^e Tru-

Squat mimics the barbell squat but with major differences and even some improvements. But it is not a barbell squat. If you can barbell squat safely and productively, then stick with that at least most of the time. ^ere is no comparison between the Tru-Squat and Smith machine squat. ^e latter puts the lower back and knees at great risk. Used properly, the Tru-Squat spares the knees and lower back but while working the involved musculature to the hilt.

18.73 Here are the Tru-Squat's major differences and improvements relative to the barbell squat:

a. ^e resistance is applied through shoulder pads, akin to a standing calf machine. ^is is a far less uncomfortable way to bear weight than from a barbell. Additionally there is no contact stress on the vertebrae.

b. ^e back is supported.

c. During the descent there is no forward lean of the torso. ^e torso and hips actually move rearward during the descent. Despite the lack of forward lean there is still heavy involvement of the musculature of the lower back.

d. ^ere is reduced forward travel of the knees relative to a barbell squat, reducing stress on the knees.

e. ^ere is an adjustable depth control.

f. ^e user can squat to failure in total safety, without spotters.

g. ^e leverages of the machine reduce, by around 30-40% (but varying according to the individual), the resistance needed to produce the same degree of muscular work as in the barbell squat. ^is makes loading and unloading weight easier because you need fewer plates.

h. Breathing between reps is much less restricted than it is with the barbell squat.

i. Once you have discovered the best setup for you, the guided pathway removes all concerns with balance and technique. When the reps become very hard you can focus on effort and not be distracted by matters of form.

j. As a bonus, the Tru-Squat is an excellent calf machine—with the addition of a block for elevating the balls of the feet, if desired.

^e Tru-Squat demonstrated by Mike Schmeider at Iron Island Gym. stance used by Mike is closer than what works safely for me.

Photo courtesy of Dr. Ken E. Leistner

^e Tru-Squat demonstrated by Mike Schmeider at Iron Island Gym. stance used by Mike is closer than what works safely for me.

Photo courtesy of Dr. Ken E. Leistner

18.74 I can use the Tru-Squat without back or knee problems, and I can descend to the parallel position. My lower back is not put at risk at this depth, though it is in the barbell squat.

18.75 ^ough a costly machine it does not take up a great deal of space, and enables people who cannot squat safely with a barbell to be able to obtain the potential great benefits of the squat. Without it I would never have squatted again.

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