Leverage squat machines are among the more obscure pieces of fitness equipment and not all commercial gyms have one.
When used right, though, it can be a powerful tool to build size and strength in the lower body muscles without putting unnecessary stress on the back and knees.
If you have the space, they are a versatile weapon that can work all muscles of the leg in size, strength, and power training. Below we take a look at what the best leverage squat machines available for sale are.
Our picks for the best leverage squat machine
What to look for in a leverage squat machine
There actually aren't that many different models available. Your options may be limited, but that doesn't mean you have to settle for an inferior product. Both Powertec and Body Solid make quality machines. The best one for you depends on your personal needs.
- Free space
- Personal fit
Obviously, price matters. Nobody has an unlimited budget and if you are putting a garage or home gym together, you have to decide what you are willing to put towards each piece of equipment.
Leverage squat machines are among the more pricey fitness machines for sale. You have to decide if one is worth it to you, although it could be argued they are a very good value when compared to the number of machines they could replace.
These machines take up a lot of free space. Your facility is only so big and you can't fit everything in there. Take a look at the dimensions of the machine and make sure you have all that room and more. You will need to be able to load plates on the machine and safely get on and off the machine.
You could be too strong for your own good. If your legs are stronger than the average person, you'll want to be sure the machine has a weight capacity of at least a little bit more than you are capable of lifting. You'll want to give yourself room for improvement.
This means how you personally fit on the machine. Most models are one size fits most, but if you are significantly taller or shorter than an average person, you might want to check if the machine would be comfortable for someone your size.
Most people look into these machines either because of their versatility or for their angled design. If you have lower back or knee problems, you should ask doctor if a machine like this would be beneficial and allow you to keep lifting weights.
These machines aren't free and, unfortunately, sooner or later you will have an issue. Even the best made machines will break down eventually, but you'll want to make sure you are covered if it breaks down early.
You'll want to follow all safety precautions that are outlined in the owner's manual and frequently check that everything is secure. This is important for both you personal safety and to make sure the manufacturer's warranty is not voided.
Exercises you can perform
Leverage squat machines are really a lower body powerhouse because they can allow you to do virtually any time of leg training. If you are creative enough, you can try tons of different exercises. Some of the more common ones you can do include
- Calf raises
- Jump squats
It's in the name, so obviously the traditional squat is the featured exercise. The setup of the machine allows you to do what feels like a hybrid front/back squat, but with your feet in a more advantageous position. This might feel similar to a hack squat to you.
You can see what the squats look like in the video below. I chose this video because it shows a creative use of the machine. The person in the video is using chains along with weight plates for resistance. Most machines should allow you to do this.
This is the second most common exercise you will see this machine being used for. When people are looking for a standing calf raise machine, this is usually what they are actually looking for.
You can place the balls of your feet on the bottom of the foot pad to perform calf raises. The angled setup allows for a serious range of motion and works all of the different muscles in the calves.
Jump squats may be one of the coolest features of some leverage squat machines, but you'll want to make sure your machine is capable of handling it. To do these, you need a large foot platform in case you aren't very accurate with your foot placement on jumps.
To do this exercise, you just do a partial squat down and then explosively jump up in the air. Land very carefully, as the angled platform can be awkward for beginners. These are one of the only machines that allow you to do any kind of plyometric training.
You might be very surprised to hear that lunges are an exercise you can use these for. You place your front foot on the platform and place your rear foot a comfortable distance behind you. You keep both feet planted and perform you sets of lunges.
You can really feel the angled setup of the machine on lunges. It allows you to work your muscles through a much greater range of motion than if you did traditional flat dumbbell or barbell lunges. You can see in the video below that it also helps to overload the quads in your front leg.
Non-machine and free weight alternatives
Leverage squat machines are unique in the way they move. You can do almost all of the exercises with other free weight movements, but that takes away the main benefits. They are designed for leg training that reduces stress on the lower back and knees, unlike some of these:
- Resistance bands
Many commercial gyms may have other pieces that can individually replace parts of the leverage squat machine. The Smith machine can do many of the same exercises, although not all and they are generally much more expensive. It would take at least a few machines to replace what they could do, including:
- Smith machine
- Hack squat machine
- Standing calf machine
- Leg press machine
You can mishmash these machines together, but no single one of them can replace all the benefits of a leverage squat machine. The Smith machine comes closest, but that still does not allow you to move as freely or put your feet in a position with better leverage.
If you have a healthy lower back and knees, you may not need to look into a leverage squat machine and can instead try to replace the exercises you want with other equipment.
However, if you do have those problem areas, or would like to start mixing in workouts that take the stress off of these areas, the Powertec Fitness Levergym squat machine might be for you.
The Body Solid GSCL360 is our recommendation of the best leverage squat machine for sale for your home or garage gym.
It is a very well built machine with a 3 x 3 mainframe and is capable of holding up to 800 pounds or more, according to Body Solid. It also comes with a limited lifetime manufacturer's warranty.
The machine is made for both squatting and calf raising exercises, but if you are creative and safe with it you can perform all kinds of lower body movements.
Leverage squat machines are incredibly versatile and allow you to do plenty of exercises to add size and strength to all of your leg muscles. Their unique design allow you to replace several other leg machines with this one piece of equipment.