Blog Header

What A Squat Really Feels Like

Posted by Mike Gittleson on Aug 21, 2018 3:26:57 PM

The Pendulum Squat Pro has variable weight loading sites to alter the strength curve. When you top load the Squat Pro you make the squat heavier in the low position. This is where many struggle and need to be stronger to maintain form. When you bottom load the Squat Pro it makes the exercise easier in the low position but more difficult on the way to full extension. By cross-loading the machine the exact same strength curve as a barbell squat is achieved. 

The floating yoke of the Pendulum Machine allows the athlete to always maintain exceptional form during the movement. Range limiters on the side of the machine allow the user to modify the range of motion which is especially useful for rehabilitation, addressing coaching issues that an athlete may have and problems associated with ageing. 

Copy of IMG_6247




Squat like a Pro on the Pendulum Squat Pro to Get Strong

Topics: Pendulum Squat Pro, The Squat

Add The Hip Press To Your Squat Routine

Posted by Mike Gittleson on Apr 8, 2015 9:31:00 AM

Coaches spend countless hours instructing their athletes to achieve a required form in the barbell squat. To progressively overload it necessitates each repetition be performed at the same appropriate depth, as a few inches of variance can mean significant difference in what is actually being lifted.

The Pendulum Hip Press was designed to target the most difficult region for athletes to develop when squatting, that is - the hips. It is the last few inches of the overall movement that is the most challenging. Adding the Hip Press to your squat program will not only make significant changes in the strength of each athlete, especially in the low position, but will also make noticeable changes in their range of motion.  Get Strong; train the hips.

IMG 1308edited

IMG 1326edited

IMG 1331edited

IMG 1338edited

Topics: The Squat, Pendulum Hip Press

Training The Hips On The Hip Press

Posted by Mike Gittleson on Jun 6, 2014 9:00:00 AM

Many athletes use resistive bands to bench press and squat. Band attachments have become regular features on almost every power rack. Bands are used to change the strength curve of an exercise, overcome plateaus, rehabilitation, make a tough exercise tougher, add variety, and much more.

The Pendulum Hip Press is the only leg press designed that specifically targets the hips. Training on the Hip Press will help an athlete Get Strong in the low position of squatting as well as develop flexibility in the hip region. Training on the Pendulum Hip Press in itself is difficult. Darl Bauer, the Assistant Director of Strength and Conditioning at West Virginia University, shows us how he uses bands to make a tough exercise tougher.   

 Band Training Hip Press

Band Attachments

Darl attaches bands across the lockouts of the Hip Press and has them rest across the top of his thighs during a set of leg presses.

Band Hip Press

describe the image

Darl Bauer Hip Press

Once the exercise is completed, the weight is returned to rest on the lockouts at the starting position. Darl immediately places the band on the back of his shoulders and begins squatting with great posture. The key is to never quite come to full extension at the top of the squat, keeping tension on the legs as well as not using ones arms to assist in the movement.

West Virginia Hip Press

Topics: The Squat, Pendulum Hip Press

Penn State Football Pit Sharks

Posted by Mike Gittleson on Mar 28, 2014 11:39:00 AM

Penn State Football Pit Sharks

Penn State Pitt Shark

Pit Shark Belt Squats

Pitt Sharks Penn State

Topics: Pit Shark, The Squat, Pendulum Rack System

Progressing Into The Barbell Squat

Posted by Mike Gittleson on Dec 7, 2013 8:04:00 PM

Gabriel Harrington was the Head Strength & Conditioning Coach at Colgate University. In his final season as a coach the Raiders became the Patriot League Champions. Gabe retired after the season from Colgate to pursue other endeavors. Gabe shares with us his progression that he used in teaching athletes the barbell squat.

Gabe explains ....The post season is the perfect time to take a couple of weeks to revisit your squat technique.  Ironing out bad habits and reinforcing fundamentals  will pay back tenfold.  This is the teaching progression I used with my players.

•    Begin with feet slightly wider than shoulder width – toes pointed slightly out
•    “Spread the Floor” with your feet: if you were on ice, you would do the splits – this helps to keep your knees from buckling in during the movement
•    Push through the heels, falling forward can put unnecessary strain on your spine – keeping your weight back keeps your center of gravity from falling forward and helps keep your knees behind your toes (more on this later)… try lifting your big toes slightly just before performing the movement 


•    Always breath into your belly, not your chest – this helps promote internal stability around the spine
•    Breath in at the top – now hold your breath on the way down and in the bottom position for a split second (unless you have high blood pressure)
•    Once upward movement is initiated breath out as you stand up

•    This series will help you learn to sit back rather than down when you squat as well as to keep your knees behind your toes
•    Begin by setting an adjustable platform or low box near a wall – make sure it is sturdy enough to support your bodyweight!
•    Set the platform such that as you sit on it the tops of your thighs are parallel with the floor
•    From the seated position place your toes against the wall and assume your squat stance
•    Take a breath into the belly, Spread the floor, lift your big toes and stand
•    Try to sit back onto the platform without “plopping” down onto it and return to the standing position once again
•    Once you can repeat this 2-3 times in a row without “plopping” down you are ready to move onto the next progression

sqdescribe the image

• This time begin standing with your toes against the wall in your squat stance
• Breath into the belly, spread the floor, lift the big toes, push your hips back and maintain a good arch in your spine
• You will notice that at ¾ of the way down you will have to use your hip flexor muscles to pull you down
• This is where it gets tough! Your partner will have to spot you from behind and keep you from falling backwards – your partner’s job is to push you forward enough so that you can pull yourself down to parallel… you want to get used to your hip flexors working hard here!

describe the imagedescribe the image

• Once you feel comfortable enough, try this without your partner
• Note that this is the exact form you will use with the bar on your back – you must master this exercise before moving on!
• You may pick this up right away, or you may have to practice 2 sets of 3 reps on this each day for as long as a couple of weeks to master it – either way, stay with it because it will pay you back down the road!

describe the imagesq4

•    Once you have mastered the wall squat place an empty barbell across your shoulders and extend your arms out straight with your thumbs up to the ceiling and at eye level
•    Now squat like you’ve been practicing against the wall: breath into the belly, spread the floor, lift the toes, push the hips back and maintain a great spinal arch
•    The purpose of the bar here is to give you some feedback as to whether you are falling forward or not – if the bar rolls off your shoulders you are falling forward – check your weight distribution and keep working on it!
•    Once you can do this for a set of 2-3 reps in a row you are ready to back squat!


• For the back squat, we want a “low bar position”
• To achieve this, squeeze your shoulder blades together hard – this will create a natural “shelf” for the bar to sit on... The “shelf” is your trapezius and rear deltoid muscles contracting – the bar ill sit here comfortably without feeling like you are rubbing your spine with the bar
• Grip the bar firmly – experiment with the width of your hands for comfort – try to turn your wrists in… they won’t move very much, but by contracting your wrist muscles your wrists will hurt less from the awkwardness of the position
• Keep your eyes up and push your head back into the bar (like when you try to make your neck look bigger in your team photo)
• Note that this may feel uncomfortable at first… your wrists and upper back may not be strong enough initially to support much weight in this fashion, but STICK WITH IT, your upper back will grow thick with muscle from supporting weight in this manner – not to mention this is the most advantageous way to hold the bar (in time your spine will thank you)



•   At this point, having mastered the previous progressions, the back squat should be a breeze
•  Perform your practice sets with no more than 2 reps at a time with light weight until you get the hang of it (have a partner watch you!) and add weight slowly – in time you will have a healthy and impressive physique from all of your hard work!   


Breath into the belly
Spread the floor
Lift the toes
Head back
Great arch
Drive through the heels... and.... Get Strong

describe the image  A Series of Pendulum 5-Way Neck Machines in the Colgate Weight Room


Topics: Muscular Growth, The Squat, Strength Training, Success

Squatting Low With A Barbell

Posted by Mike Gittleson on Sep 12, 2013 10:00:00 PM

In this months Sports Medicine Journal researchers reviewed knee joint and vertebral column changes in relation to squatting depth and load.  They concluded, "Provided that technique is learned accurately under expert supervision and with progressive training loads, the deep squat presents an effective training exercise for protection against injuries and strengthening of the lower extremity.  Contrary to commonly voiced concern, deep squats do not contribute increased risk of injury to passive tissues."

Getting into the low position when performing a barbell squat is difficult for many athletes.  Correcting form to obtain the appopriate depth can result in tremendous muscular power.  Coaches have systems for enabling athletes to squat low.  The following are a few of the areas that coaches address when trying to get athletes into a posture that maximizes their development:

Flexibility of the chest musculature

Shoulder flexibility

Bar placement

Ankle flexibility

Heel lift

Soft tissue work

Foot placement

Hip flexibilty

Adductor stretches

The use of chains on the bar

Contracting glutes

Strengthening the core

Stretching the periformis


Hamstring flexibility

Pendulum Squat Pro

Top load Pendulum Squat

As indicated there are numerous strategies a coach undertakes in correcting ones ability to squat.  The fastest way to amend form and at the same time strengthen the musculature responsible for moving into and out of a low position is to top load  the Pendulum Squat Pro. 

Top load squat

With minimal instruction an athlete can immediately get into the desired depth and hold form during the repetition strengthening the structures quickly that often take months of stretching and constant technique supervision.

Quickly become an 'expert' and Get Strong.

Topics: The Squat, Strength Training, Pendulum Squat Pro


Posted by Mike Gittleson on Jun 30, 2013 10:01:00 AM

Coaches and athletes spend hours, days, months, years on squatting form.  Sitting low and keeping the back straight, while maintaining form to the top of the movement, is problematic for many.  The Pendulum Squat Pro's floating yoke enables all athletes of different heights and different lever lengths to maximize their development.  

squat pro

Pendulum squat pro

squat like a pro

Squat like a 'pro' on the Pendulum Squat Pro and Get Strong.

Topics: Pendulum Seated Squat, The Squat, Pendulum Squat Pro

A Simple Leg Program

Posted by Mike Gittleson on Jun 9, 2013 8:57:00 PM

The following is a two day per week leg program to Get Strong.  Follow the guidelines provided:


describe the image

 Leg Press 20-25

After warming up, choose the heaviest weight that can be used for 20 reps, when the athlete can reach 25 reps add 20 pounds.

Leg Curl 20-25

Choose the heaviest weight that can be used for 20 reps, when the athlete can reach 25 reps add 10 pounds.

Leg Extension 20-25

Choose the heaviest weight that can be used for 20 reps, when the athlete can reach 25 reps add 10 pounds. 

Leg Press Max Reps

Keep the same weight on the leg press and achieve as many reps as possible.

Leg Curl Max Reps

 Keep the same weight on the leg curl and achieve as many reps as possible

Leg Extension Max Reps

Keep the same weight on the leg extension and achieve as many reps as possible.

Full Barbell Squat 20 Reps


Pit shark Belt Squat 20 Reps


Pendulum Squat Pro 20 Reps

Use the heaviest weight possible for 20 perfect squats.  Each squat must be below parallel, once the athlete can achieve 20 reps add 10 pounds. 


The following is applied ony if the total repetitions for the entire workout fall out of a 110-156 repetition range and then this rule overrides the above rules:

At the end of each workout total all the reps that have been done.  If following any workout the total number of reps for all the exercises completed falls below 110 reduce the leg press weight by 10 pounds the next workout and keep all the other exercise weights the same.  If the total repetitions during the exercise program exceeds 156 add 20 pounds to the leg press weight the next workout and keep the other exercise weights the same.


describe the image

describe the image

 Pit Shark Belt Squat on the Pendulum Rack

describe the image

 The Pendulum Squat Pro

Topics: Pendulum Seated Squat, The Squat, Strength Training, Pendulum Hip Press, Pendulum Squat Pro

Belt Squatting At Ohio State

Posted by Mike Gittleson on Mar 8, 2013 10:21:00 AM

The Pit Shark Belt Squat is a tremendous leg developer.  It can be used for athletes with injured shoulders, injured hands, back issues or as an intragel part of leg routines.  It is one of the great ways to Get your legs Strong.

Rick Court is the Associate Director of Strength and Conditioning for the undefeated Ohio State football team.  Coach Court, at Ohio State's recent Strength and Conditioning Clinic, demonstrated how he uses the belt squat during a Buckeye leg workout. 

Rick Court Belt Squat

Pit Shark Belt Squat

Belt Squatting at Ohio State

Rick Court training an athlete on the Belt Squat

Ohio State Belt Squat

Pit Shark Belt Squats in the Ohio State Weight Room

Pit Shark Belt Squats Ohio State

Hip Press Ohio State

Pendulum Hip Presses

Topics: The Squat, Clinics, Pendulum Hip Press

Weighted Chin-ups

Posted by Mike Gittleson on Feb 13, 2013 8:37:00 PM

Clip the Pit Shark on the Rogers Pendulum Rack and do weighted chin-ups, weighted dips and belt squats. 

Pit Shark Chin

Photo Courtesy of Hard Pressed Chicago

Weighted chins on the Pendulum Power Rack is a great way to Get Strong.

Topics: The Squat, Announcements, Success, Strength, Muscular Strength