Leverage squats are squats done on a machine which is a big lever with padding for the shoulders a plate to stand on and loading pins to load heavy-ass weight on to. It's a machine used mostly for squats and calf raises, but I reckon someone is using it for bicep curls too.
The first time I used a leverage squat, I tore the skin on the top of my shoulders to pieces. This physically and mentally scarred me enough to stay away from this variation for a few years.
Luckily, I revisited it when an online client told me how much she loved the movement.
It turns out that when you don't friction burn your shoulders off, pendulum squats rock!
There is a formidable argument the pendulum squat often is a better option compared to squats for many bodybuilders and general fitness enthusiasts which we will explore below.
Pendulum squats allow a squat as deep as a goblet squat, but the pendulum squat usually allows more weight to be used. The weight isn't going through the wrists or crushing the chest as with a goblet squat for example. The squatter doesn't need to worry about getting the dumbbell or kettlebell into position either, which can be awkward if heavy weights are required.
As a coach, I know goblet squats are great for a whole spectrum of goals but that doesn't stop people hating them or finding them boring or feeling as if they are missing out when they see others using this cool kit.
The longer I'm in this game, the more I factor enjoyment into my programming, and the pendulum squat seems to be one of those movements that people can get their teeth into and enjoy.
As Mike Howard of LeanMinded has pointed out, getting curious is one of the best ways to keep on the path of good habits. The pendulum squat may be another movement which satisfies your clients movement curiosity.
One of the main theories on motivation demands feelings of competency in an activity to feel comfortable enough to continue doing it. When certain people squat, they legitimately feel like they are going to fall over. Some with balance issues or vertigo may actually fall over if they do barbell squats.
It's hard to argue a loaded squat is required for any goal beyond weightlifting, but having the option of doing loaded pendulum squats helps someone who is afraid of falling to load and perform a full squat without the fear of falling.
In other words, the pendulum squat increases feelings of competency because the lifter suddenly 8sn't terrified decking it.
I believe out of any machine-based leg exercise, pendulum squats will transfer over to barbell squats better than any other machine movement, at least in theory, as people are weird and won't often push a movement they don't like.
Pendulum squats lend themselves better to higher rep sets compared to their barbell counterparts, if that's the hellish way you want to train. You are less likely to fall over, the bar can't fall off your back, front (or anywhere you want to wedge it) and you don't have to worry about walking into the squat rack at the end of your set.
The movement does have drawbacks. The path the weight moves is set, so if your body doesn't want to move that way it could be problematic. Some pendulum squats don't have safety pins for if you fail a rep. Pendulum squats always mark my skin or cause friction burns on my shoulders, which limits the amount I can or want to do them. It's not happened to any clients so far, but it's worth looking out for.
The pendulum squat is a big, scary piece of kit for beginners to get used to. This is why I use this machine as soon in coaching process as possible as taking away fear in the gym can be extremely productive and empowering.
We'll often start light, with some tempo work or whatever I feel is best for the client.
Coaches, I'd certainly consider the pendulum squats to be one of the best options for a loaded squat, particularly if someone doesn't have great balance and doesn't want to compete in a sport like powerlifting