One of the very first things that I learned during my introduction to Applied Functional Science was a concept called the “SFT syntax” and the Squat Matrix. SFT Syntax is the language used to describe the position of your limb(s) that are in contact with the ground….hands and knees, knees, feet…. in our case, the feet) could be in during any squat variation. S stands for a sagittal plane tweak, F for a frontal plane tweak, and T for a transverse plane tweak. For example:
XXX = basic squat. feet shoulder width apart, no tweaks in any plane
LXX/RXX = Left foot forward or Right foot forward out of basic squat position (left foot forward indicates sagittal plane tweak), with no tweaks in the frontal or transverse plane
XWX/XNX = Wide stance or Narrow stance, with no tweaks in sagittal or transverse planes.
XXI/XXE = Feet internally rotated, or Feet Externally rotated, with no tweaks in sagittal or frontal planes.
Still a little confusing? Lets take a peak at the Squat Matrix vid, then:
Kinda long, I know, but if you can think back to the dark ages of high school math, there’s such a concept called “permutations”, which has to do with rearranging a set group of values (or PERMUTING, for those less intelligent type… unlike myself……
…….orrrr I just looked that up on Wikipedia and only now understand what it means. epic fail.)
Here are some of the key points with the Squat Matrix:
– This is typically not an exercise that I would add load with most clients I work with. Using this with bodyweight only, or as a means to warm up before squatting would be a great starting point. If I know the individual doesn’t have a whole lot of restricted motion, and/or gross biomechanical imbalances, I might have the client hold a dumbbell in a “goblet” position, just to get a little extra weight to “sit into” the positions.
– The key is to go into a range of motion that does not illicit pain or anything more than moderate discomfort. I see the goal of the squat matrix as a means of gaining access to joint ROM in the hips, knees, ankles, and feet. Work gradually, and be kind to your body 🙂
– Spend more time in ranges of motion that feel tighter/more restricted. anywhere from 3-10 reps, depending on the feel you get with each position.
– If circuit training is your thing, we can program it like this:
4 Rounds of:
A1) Assisted Pull Up
A2) Push Up
A3) Step Up
A4) DB Row
A5) Squat Matrix:
1ST ROUND Squat Matrix: Only Sagittal/Frontal Plane Tweaks: RXX, LXX, XWX, XNX, RWX, LWX, RNX, LNX
2ND ROUND Squat Matrix: Only Frontal/Transverse Plane Tweaks: XWX, XNX, XXI, XXE, XWE, XWI, XNE, XNI
3RD ROUND Squat Matrix: Only Sagittal/Transverse Plane Tweaks: RXX, LXX, XXI, XXE, RXI, RXE, LXI, LXE
4TH ROUND Squat Matrix: We’re fully tweaked in at this point… hit up all the Remaining: Sagittal/Frontal/Transverse Tweaks: RWI, RWE, RNI, RNE, LWI, LWE, LNI, LNE
So, there’s a little bit on the Squat Matrix. Explore and enjoy!