Pendulum Squat Machines: A Unique Leg Exercise Machine

This is a very difficult piece of equipment.

Here are some tips for those with a pendulum-squat machine in their gym.

Foot Position

Place your feet as low as possible on the plate.

Ensure that there is even pressure at the bottom of each movement.

The heels should not lift.

This will allow for maximum knee flexion, which will result in quadriceps recruitment.

During this movement, your heels must remain flat.

Range Of Motion

How To Use Pendulum Squat Machines Correctly

Keep your knees as far apart from the feet as possible during the lowering phase.

Keep your hips as low as possible, but keep the pads and heels flat.


When you reach the bottom of the movement, don’t stop there.

Instead, push the footplate with your heels away and press your hips back into the pad.

How to double quad growth with leg machines.

The machine’s fit for you will determine how much you get out of any leg machine.

These are some ways you can modify your leg exercises to get more from them.

#1 The Leg Press

There are many leg press machines available.

Each machine requires you to use a different foot position and body shape.

You will feel different from each other, which is why you may end up messing with your foot placement for 10 mins before every set begins.

For quad development, the best foot placement is one that allows your knees to move through the most active range of motion.

Instead of being higher up on the footplate, this stance emphasizes your glutes and hamstrings.

What is the problem with putting your feet on the plate?

This can limit how deep you can go.

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While some machines may allow you to go deeper than others, your anatomy will always limit you.

Make It Effective

Try the Petersen version.

This allows your knees to move through their maximum active range of motion.

Your heels should be raised permanently so your knees can continue to travel over your toes beyond the point where your hips are “running out.”

The Petersen leg press lets you load and tension your quadriceps, no matter what type of machine you use.

These were a favorite of Charles Poliquin.

You don’t need to gain a lot of weight, so make sure you check your ego before you go!

#2 The Pendulum Squat

You should not skip this if your gym has one.

A good pendulum squat will put you in a position to load your knee extensors with a wide range of motions and very little stress through the back.

Even with the best-designed machines, substantial unloading of weight at the top third.

This means that you will limit how much weight you can carry.

It is determined by how strong your bottom two-thirds are.

This is one-third of what you will miss and the range where your quads can be pushed more.

Make It Effective

You can do the pendulum squat with bands.

Attach a few moderate resistance bands to your pendulum squat.

You will need to experiment with selecting a band that can help “even out” your load.

The bottom is as challenging as the top.

You can adjust the band to accommodate your stronger strength and the squat pendulum design. The resistance profile of your machine will be compensated by the band.

This means that you can achieve higher tension levels for the entire movement and not just two-thirds.

#3. The Hack Squat


Hack squats have become a popular bodybuilding exercise for good reasons.

If your goal is purely aesthetic, you might prefer hack squats over traditional barbell squats for your key indicator lift.

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The learning curve is shorter, people can concentrate better on their quads, and confidence training is closer to failure.

Not all hack squat machines are the same, so you might not find one that can adjust.

You might face the greatest problem: As you lean into the hole at its bottom, your sudden load will increase.

Make It Effective

Sometimes, the hack squat may cause irritation to the knees.


The angle of your footplate combined with your knees driving higher over your toes is the reason.

It’s enough for people with knee problems to keep you from doing any hack squats for the rest of your life.

Instead, try the reverse band method.

It is all about how the band feels.

The addition of band resistance can increase your speed as you go down.

However, the reverse band method feels more fluid and should be considered to unload certain parts of an exercise.

A band can be added to your hack squat to help you fire from the bottom and allow for greater strength at your top.

A 20% difference in load at the top and bottom is acceptable, but this requires that you know the resistance of your band when it’s fully stretched.

This requires you to stretch the band and measure it with luggage scales.

It’s better to just feel the sensation.

Your hack squat should feel as hard at the bottom as at the top.

It should also be as painless as possible.

Start next time with your old weight on the hack squat and a 1-inch band to help you unload at the bottom.

You can adjust by adding weight to the machine or changing the band.

There are many ways to attach your band or band to a hack-squat.

It all depends on the design.

Use the band pins if it has them.

You may have to think outside the box if it doesn’t.

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#4. The Bench Sissy Squat

How To Use Pendulum Squat Machine Correctly

Do bodyweight exercises if you can do so.

This is the most common mistake I see in the gym.

Sissy and bench sissy sit squats should not be performed above your body weight.

It’s not surprising that you keep doing the same reps every month.

Make It Effective

You’ll be able to build stronger quads than your bodyweight quad-builders, and your quads will grow back.

Regular sissysquats can be done without a bench.

You can use a weighted vest or a spare hand to hold a dumbbell, kettlebell, or weighted vest. You can load your bench sissy-squats in any way you like, including holding dumbbells or kettlebells, weighted vests, or resistance bands.

Watch the magic happen by using heavier dumbbells or stronger bands over time.

Remember, bench sissy squats are about tension.

You shouldn’t go too heavy and feel the quads numb.

Instead, try going lighter.


  • Timothy P. Carnes

    Timothy P. Carnes is a certified personal trainer with a Bachelor's degree in Exercise Science from the University of Florida. With over 8 years of experience in the fitness industry, Timothy is an expert in strength and conditioning, body composition, and overall health and wellness. He also holds certifications in strength and conditioning through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) and corrective exercise through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). As an author at FitGAG, he shares his knowledge and expertise on a variety of topics, including strength training, body composition, and overall health and wellness tips. Timothy believes that consistency and discipline are the keys to achieving fitness goals, and he strives to inspire his readers to prioritize their fitness and wellness journey. Through his articles, Timothy aims to empower his readers to take control of their health, enhance their performance, and live their best lives.

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