The Pendulum Squat

Pendulum Squat

What is a Pendulum Squat? 

A pendulum squat is a type of squat exercise performed using a specialized piece of gym equipment. The weight is loaded on your shoulders and you perform a squat at an angle in an arching motion.

The Pendulum Squat machine is a specialized machline, like the hack squat machine enables users to perform weighted squat variations.

It’s an exercise that works every muscle group in your leg and the machine is becoming increasingly more popular within gyms.

Pendulum Squat

What Muscles Does a Pendulum Squat Target? 

A pendulum squat targets all of the major muscle groups of your legs.

  • Glutes: One of the biggest muscle groups used in a squat, that enables your hips to return to a straight position.
  • Calves: The last muscle groups to get worked on a pendulum squat, which provides support to the knees and ankles.
  • Abductors/Adductros: The muscles and tendons that support to your joints when performing different movements.
  • Quadriceps: The biggest muscle group, which offers the drive when doing a squat and generally the first to feel the burn.

How Does the Pendulum Squat Machine Work? 

A pendulum squat machine is a squatting machine like a V-squat or hack squat machine that mimics the movement of barbell squats. The machine consists of a platform and shoulder pads connected on a pulley-pendulum system with metal tubes, cables, and weights.

The weight is loaded in front of the user, who rests the force of it on their shoulders. It also has a counter-balance one the opposite end of the weights.

With the counter-balance it allows you to squat at an arching angle, which the machine allows you to choose.

This machine guides you through the movement of a squat and safely rack the weight by standing straight up.

Pendulum Squat Benefits

Adding the pendulum squat to your workout would have many benefits. Here are some of the benefits of consistently performing pendulum squats.

  • Build Strength:
  • Build Muscle:
  • Hit Multiple Muscle Groups
  • Balanced Aesthetic
  • Back Friendly
  • Natural Movement
  • Simple Use

Build Strength 

If you commit to continually perform pendulum squats and do them correctly, you will build strength. The amount of strength is up to you and the type of training you perform.

Pendulum Squat in Gym

Build Muscle 

Just like the machine can build strength you can also build muscles and make your muscles grow by doing pendulum squats. This is why the pendulum squat machine is widely used by bodybuilders and strength athletes.

Hit Multiple Muscle Groups

By performing pendulum squats, you are working multiple muscle groups at the same time. Everything from your glutes, quads, calves, hamstrings abductors, and adductors get worked in this squat variation. 

Balanced Aesthetic 

The machine’s system keeps the weight evenly distributed through your body during the movements. This creates a balanced aesthetic, that will be visibly noticable after continued use.

Back Friendly 

For those that have trouble doing traditional barbell squats, the pendulum squat puts no pressure on your back. 

Natural Movement 

Movement during a pendulum squat is a natrual movement. Since it’s a natural movement, this makes it a statistically safer movement. 

Simple Use

Since the pendulum squat is a guided movement, this makes it simple to use. You just get in the machine, unlock the safety lock, and squat.

The Pendulum Squat vs. Hack Squat 

The pendulum squat machine sometimes gets confused with the hack squat machine. Here are the main differences between these pieces of exercise equipment.

Quads vs Glutes

A pendulum squat tends to work your glutes morem while a hack squat works more of your quads. Doing both machines would improve these muscle groups.

Structure & Design

These two types of exercise equipment have completely different designs. A traditional hack squar machine include an angled bench with the weight on your back, and feet on a platform.

A pendulum squat machine keeps you standing at an angle of a platform, with the weight in front of you. It also function on a pendulum system, where as a hack squat machine does not.

How to Perform a Pendulum Squat? 

Anyone of any fitness level can use a pendulum squat machine. Here is how you can perform a pendulum squat in 4 easy steps.

  • Adjust The Machine: Always adjust the pendulum quat machine to your height before using.
  • Add Weights: Add your desired weight, but not over what you can lift.
  • Step Into Machine: Step into the machine and get into position.
  • Perform: Unlock the safety switch and perform the squat. Be sure to hit 90 degree depth or lower to work your leg muscles.

Pendulum Squat Reps

Another thing that makes the pendulum squat machine so special is the type of reps you can do. You can alter anything from the type of rep you perform to the quantity.

The machine enables you to control the depth and range of your squats. You can even do holds at different depths and get a good burn.

Pendulum Squat Mistakes to Avoid 

While the pendulum squat machine is designed to be fool-proof, there are still some mistake you can make. Here are the mistakes you should avoid when performing pendulum squats.

Loading Too Much Weight Not 

Gym noobies and gym bros often want to load as much weight as possible on machines. This is because equipment like the pendulum squat machine enables users to use a lot of weight, with a semi-safety mechanism.

Even  with the pendulum squats built-in racking system, it doesn’t mean you can’t squish yourself like an accordion. Always know your limits and never load more weight than you can lift on the machine.

Adjusting Machine 

A common mistake that many beginners make on the pendulum squat machine is not adjusting the machine. You can seriously hurt yourself if you don’t adjust the machine before using it.

If the pads are too high, the weight will crash down on you, causing a neck, back, or shoulder injury. Then if the machine is adjused to low, you can hurt yourself squatting low to get into the machine.

Not Squatting Low 

The pendulum squat machine guides you through the squat, but you can still make the mistake of not squatting low. To work your leg muscles in anyway doing a squat, your depth needs to be slightly above or below your knows. The deeper the squat, the more your muscles get worked.

Not Bailing

Another beginner mistake a person can make on this squat machine is not bailing on a failed rep. Always rack the weight, when feel yourself failing to avoid injury.

Pendulum Squat Alternatives

If you don’t like using the pendulum squat machine, there are various alternatives you can use. Here are some popular alternatives to work your leg muscles.

  • Traditional Barbell Squats
  • Leg Press
  • Hack Squat
  • Goblet Squats
  • Smith Machine Squat Variations
  • Sled Drags
  • Bodyweight Squats/Lunges

Should You Add the Pendulum Squat to Your Workout?

The pendulum squat is an effective way to strengthen your legs and build muscle all in one movement. Using this machine guides you through a natural movement, that is safe and allows you to work every leg muscle.

If your gym has a pendulum squat machine, they are a great way to workout your legs. They are used by every type of athlete from bodybuilders to fighters or football players.