Get Strong


A rivalry increases focus, effort and performance and brings out the best of both sides of the competition. This is true not only on the athletic field, with siblings, in business, in establishing a territory, as well as, in many other walks of life. Rivalries can and do shape how we derive our thoughts.

A great example of this effect is the 1860 election of Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln purposely selected three men as part of his Cabinet, who politically ran against him and had sharply opposing views: Attorney General Edward Bates, Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase and Secretary of Sate William H. Seward. Creating this "Team of Rivals" and listening to their conflicting opinions brought greater challenges and these men with their disconsonant interactions turned America for the greater good of all. 

Rivalries move us to think differently, compete differently, train differently and even test us in unsuspecting ways  This can be seen in the athletic training room during rehabilitation, whereby we are charged with working as hard as possible to equivocate the strength of the injured appendage with the strength of the uninjured limb. Pitting one side of the body against the other is not only for rehab, but coaches and healthy athletes have used this technique in training throughout the advent of strength development history to make sure results are maximal.

Adding paint and dedicating a special Pendulum Machine for a 'rival opponent' in your weight room will elicit greater challenges, an incredible training response to Get Strong for the greater good of all.

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The Pendulum Seated Squat Pro

Topics: Pendulum Seated Squat, Pendulum Shoulder/Incline, Success, Pendulum 3 Way Row

The Zercher Squat

In the early years of weight training many strongmen made their own special assortment of lifting tools. Bars of variable length and bar whip with solid globes, blocks of steel, cement or hollow metal endings. These 'bar-bells' varied based on the lifters preference and strength or often by the availability of resources.  Historians have credited the Boston strongman George Barker Windship and German strongman Louis Durlacher in the mid to late 1800's with the idea of using sand or lead shot inside the hollow spheres to vary the weight of bar-bells, dumb-bells and kettle-bells. Windship later patented the plate loaded “practical graduating dumb-bell” with wing nuts used as collars, which he began marketing in 1865. Other patents for barbells and weight equipment began appearing and in 1902 Alan Calvert of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, founded the Milo Barbell Company and began selling adjustable bar-bells and dumb-bells.

If you grew up in the early twentieth century you may have purchased an advertised adjustable barbell set which was often delivered to your home. Along with the set came a pamphlet with photos of multiple exercises you could do. The set did not include a bench for bench pressing or stanchions for squatting and overhead pressing.

The adjustable barbell set was a simple iron bar around 5 feet in length with a chrome sleeve over the bar for gripping instead of knurling. The bar was loaded with plates that had a 1" hole. As one got stronger a simple exercise such as pressing a barbell became more difficult. When you tried to clean the barbell, not only was it awkward, but the plates did not spin torquing the wrist. This caused many lifters to cheat curl the bar or use a movement such as 'shouldering' and then switch their grip into a pressing grip before the bar was pushed overhead. 

When training the legs resting the bar on your back became problematic. The bar had to be cleaned, pressed over your head and rested on the shoulders before the squat or a lunge began. Getting enough weight to squat and affect the legs became extremely difficult for a lifter, as leg strength began to out pace pressing power. The conundrum was not only getting the bar to your back, but getting it safely off your shoulders when the lift was completed. The lifter could do a front squat, yet as mentioned the cleaning of the bar and wrists were a limitation. Companies began selling weight stands for your home, but many lifters couldn't afford the extra expense or just came up with ways to rest the weight on benches or developed new ways of exercising.

St. Louis Strongman Ed Zercher popularized and has been given credit for the development of what historically has been labeled the 'Zercher Squat.' Young men trying to develop ways of squatting with a simple barbell and no other lifting apparatuses deadlifted the bar to their knees and then in a squatting position worked the bar to the crook of their elbows and began doing a waist level deep front squat. Not comfortable, but it became away to Get Strong without a 'rack'.


If you are an avid lifter it is fun to try the Zercher Squat and feel the struggles that young men went through to Get Strong in their homes, basements and garages before the advent of the local health spa. 

Strength training is hard and should be hard, yet it shouldn't cause the pain and bruising of the bar digging into your joints as the Zercher Squat requires. Modern technology via the Pendulum Squat Pro allows all athletes regardless of their physical structure and varying limb length to achieve excellent squatting form with the heaviest weight they can handle. There is pain, but only the good direct pain of tremendous muscular development.  Ed Zercher would love the Squat Pro!

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Topics: Pendulum Rack System, Skill, Pendulum Squat Pro

Manual Labor

It is well understood that muscular strength and functional abilities can be enhanced significantly without the use of barbells or machines by utilizing manual or partner training techniques. The inclusion and coaching of Manual Resistance training should be an integral part of all athletic programs. 

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The benefits of Manual Training are far reaching:

Manual training teaches an athlete how to get the most out of each repetition and how to reach and what it feels like to accomplish momentary muscular failure. 

Manual training affords for a hands on evaluation, by a coach, of an athletes effort in performing each movement.  

Manual resistance does not require equipment allowing athletes to perform resistive exercises that a facility may have limited equipment or tools for.

Athletes are able to strength train under varied circumstances; i.e., when there is no weight room available or a the satellite facility has inadequate resources. 

Large numbers of athletes can be trained at one time.

Important Manual Resistance Considerations:

  • When training manually all athletes must understand the rules of performing each repetition properly.
  • The athlete should not only be capable of performing an exercise but have the ability to teach, as well as administer the exercise to others. 
  • Once an athlete understands how to execute manual resistance it demands the same effort and motivation as if trying to improve on a bench, squat, clean or any other strength training exercise.
  • When training manually to progressively overload it requires a strength measurement to track progress.  Taking a circumference, body composition and other physiological variables allows the coach and athlete to monitor results.
  • Remember when training the head and neck manually athletes should have clean hands especially during flu season.
  • The rules of Manual Resistance must be reviewed regularly!                                 IMG 9694edited

Manual Resistance Rules

1). Each athlete must know and understand the rules.

2). The Lifter begins each exercise with the goal of 6-8 reps. This requires pacing, in other words, the first repetition is not an all out effort. The effort must be increasing for every subsequent repetition.

2a). The Spotter should allow the lifter to perform each repetition at the same pace or speed of movement. This will require different amounts of pressure by the spotter during the rep (because of leverage). The lifter will feel as though the resistance is similar at all joint angles (the resistance will feel smooth).

3). The lowering phase of every repetition should be slower than the raising phase. A guide in learning manual resistance is raise the involved limbs up in 1-2 seconds or at a 1-2 count and lower them in 4-5 seconds or at a 4 or 5 count.

3a). The Spotter must make sure that they feel more force by the lifter during the lowering phase of each repetition.

4). The Lifter should continually contract their target musculature during the raising phase and the lowering phase of every repetition.

4a). The Spotter must give feedback to the lifter to ensure there is always a constant contraction on every repetition performed. The spotter should identify any relaxation or loss of force by the lifter during the movement.

5). The Lifter should pause with pressure against the spotter's resistance at the top of every movement. Pausing with pressure and no relaxation is extremely difficult.

5a). The Spotter should insure the lifter is applying force at the top of the movement. The spotter must feel if the lifter is relaxing. The spotter must ease slowly into the lowering phase of the exercise. Slowly easing into the lowering phase or decent is extremely important.

6). The exercise is completed when the athlete reaches momentary muscular failure. 

Training the Neck Manually

The absolute best tools for strength training the muscular that lowers subconcussive forces are the Pendulum 4-Way and 5-Way Head and Neck Machines.  Manual resistance can be used to augment these exercises or when an athlete is away from the facility. The 4 and 5-Way Head and Neck Machines should be priorities in all athletic strength training rooms. 

After a concussion or a head and neck injury you need strength values for return-to-play. The athletic trainer and physician use strength levels of the shoulder and knees for return-to-play but without a neck machine and previously recorded results one can only guess about the levels needed to resume activity safely. 

Neck Stength Women

 Training on the Pendulum Head and Neck Machine.

Topics: Pendulum 5 Way Neck, Pendulum 4 Way Neck, Success, Manual Resistance

Hiring Now

Hiring now apply today!

Hardpressed is Chicago’s Premier Strength Training Facility with two locations in the heart of downtown.

At Hardpressed, we coach our clients through every minute of every workout. Whether they are lifting one-on-one in a strength training session or taking our conditioning class, our clients will get a full workout in only 30-minutes. Our workouts are short yet intense and made for any motivated individual regardless of their current fitness level. Our goal is to provide each client with challenging workouts that allow them to reach personal fitness goals safely and with less time spent training than ever imagined.

At Hardpressed, we decrease the common stress of having to constantly obtain your own clientele by providing clients for you. Your role is to simply retain clients through training them at a high level through our time proven strength and conditioning programs. We offer very competitive starting pay, health benefits, and an opportunity to continue your development in a team environment.

Hiring now, apply today!

QUALIFICATIONS: Bachelor's Degree required. Master's degree preferred. Experience as a Strength and Conditioning Coach preferred. NCAA intercollegiate athlete a plus. Must be punctual, have a strong work ethic, and be highly motivated

RESPONSIBILITIES: Learning and coaching the Hardpressed strength training and conditioning protocol as set forth by the Head Strength Coaches; Educating clients on proper lifting and conditioning technique through verbal communication and demonstration; Conducting daily client training sessions and tracking progress via our Hardpressed app; Perform daily facility maintenance

Candidate must be able to: Coach and motivate clients to meet their full potential; Perform administrative duties as assigned by management; Set-up and breakdown strength training and conditioning workouts for Hardpressed clients

Professional attributes needed for the position are: Great communication skills with staff, administration, and clients; Organizational skills and detailed documentation abilities; Willing and able to work early mornings, evenings, and weekends; follow all policies, procedures, and regulations set forth by Hardpressed

COMPENSATION: Pay based on experience and performance. Commissioned based earnings range from $35,000-$65,000 annually and health benefits


Please send resume, cover letter, and list of 3 references to careers@hardpressed. 

Topics: Pendulum Seated Squat, Announcements, Pendulum Hip Press

Hand Grip Strength

A study to improve the reliability and validity of hand strength evaluations and establish clinical norms for adults aged 20 to 75+ years was published in 1985. The normative clinical data for hand grip and pinch strength has continued to be examined and compared, based on these results, since then.  When the data in 1985 was collected one of the concerns for the researchers and a limitation in their study was that stronger volunteers might be more likely to participate than those who thought they may do poorly. "This could cause a biased sample in favor of higher hand strength scores."  What should, in fact, give us all pause is that regardless of gender, power grip and lateral pinch grip strength has declined in millennials (age 20-34 years) since the original findings!

The National Center for Health Statistics just released that there has also been a "drop in overall life expectancy for the first time since 1993, particularly among people younger than 65." Are these two statistics related? 

The American Heart Journal published, "The Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology (PURE) study: Examining the impact of societal influences on chronic noncommunicable diseases in low-, middle-, and high-income countries. Researchers measured the grip strength of 140,000 adults in 17 countries and followed their health for four years, their findings suggested "weaker muscle strength makes it more likely that a person will die sooner if he or she develops a chronic medical problem, compared with those who have more muscle strength."

As we have become more mechanized in agriculture, robotic in our manufacturing and automated in our lives we cannot forget the importance of exercise. Our musculature is the largest organ in our bodies and must remain strong and vibrant throughout one's life. Keeping strong and Getting Strong must always be a priority in healthful living.



The Pendulum Grip Cart custom designed for all your Gripping Tools



Topics: Grip Cart, Grip training, Announcements, Muscular Strength, Storage Cart

Lasting Gratitude

The heroism and sacrifices of our Veterans has earned our deepest respect and lasting gratitude, for without them we are a "plain people" and lack the right to act, speak or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint. Without our veterans and their gift of self we are no  longer the 'Land of the Free'.

Never forgetting and supporting the men and women who have served is important. Warrior Medical and Fitness is a non-profit organization that raises funds for fitness tools such as the Pendulum MX-4 for our wounded heroes. 

The goal is to provide quality equipment that fits the needs of our wounded Patriots in every VA facility in our country. 


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  Help our wounded warriors

Topics: Announcements, Pendulum MX4

Xavier Musketeers

Xavier University is a member of the Big East Conference and is located in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Musketeers Strength and Conditioning program is led by their 'outstanding'  Head Strength and Conditioning Coach, Matt Jennings. Matt was a center on the North Carolina Tar Heels football team in the early 1990's.  Interestingly, he coaches at a University that their sports program no longer includes the sport of football. Matt has brought his leadership, toughness and sense of purpose to Xavier to the good fortune of their athletic program.

Xavier recently upgraded their strength and conditiong facility to Get even Stonger.









Topics: Pendulum Seated Squat, Pendulum Leg Curl, Pendulum Leg Extension, Pit Shark, Pendulum Shoulder/Incline, Pendulum Hip Press, Pendulum 3 Way Row, Pendulum Pulldown, Pendulum Squat Pro, Pendulum Grip Cart, Pendulum Power Stack

PENN Quakers

The University of Pennsylvania adds the Pendulum Squat Pro to their weight room.


Topics: Announcements, Pendulum Squat Pro

Small And Powerful

The multifidis muscle starts at the sacral bone at the base of the spine and extends upward to the second cervical vertebra. The multifidis takes pressure off the discs and it's strength adds stability to the vertebral column. Though small it is the most powerful muscle that supports the region. 

Studies show that the size of the multifidis and the risk for head and neck injuries are associated in contact sports. Once a neck injury occurs there is a rapid degeneration of the cervical multifidis and MRI's show a fatty infiltration into the tissue. The muscle must be kept thick and strong along the entire spine and rehabilitated like any other region of the body post injury.

If you contract your shoulder muscles dynamically or isometrically there is an increase in thickness of the multifidis which serves to protect the head and neck. The muscle will thicken regardless of force direction to the shoulder or arm. This is a wonderful way our body safeguards us from excessive trauma - when an appendage is hit the cervical spine stiffens.

Take advantage of this small, but powerful muscle and make sure all athletes train and rehabilitate the multifidis....... Get Strong

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West Virginia Strength Coach Darl Bauer Neck Training Athletes


Topics: Pendulum 5 Way Neck, Pendulum 4 Way Neck, Neck training

MX 4 Our Vets

Warrior Medical and Fitness, with a generous donation from Chadds Ford Rotary Club, Concordville, PA donated a beautiful MX-4 Multi-exerciser to the Philadelphia VA. We now have our sights set on the Ann Arbor, Michigan VA . We need additional funds to provide an MX-4 to support our Ann Arbor veterans. We have already raised half the funds to help our cause please donate at: JOIN OUR FIGHT !!!!








Gabe Harrington former Colgate Strength Coach demonstrates one of the many exercises on the newly installed MX-4.

Topics: Announcements, Pendulum MX4