Pendulum Squat Muscles Worked

Written by Ben Bunting: BA, PGCert. (Sport & Exercise Nutrition) // British Army Physical Training Instructor // S&C Coach.


Pendulum squats are a popular exercise that can help you target and strengthen specific muscle groups.

By understanding the muscles worked during this exercise, you can effectively incorporate it into your workout routine to achieve your fitness goals.

The pendulum squat can help you build lean muscle and strengthen your legs. This exercise requires core strength, stability, and leverage.

There are different variations of this exercise, and they can be used to supercharge your leg workout. This article will discuss a few of these options.

Variations of pendulum squat muscles

The pendulum squat is an effective leg workout and can be done at a variety of weights.

This exercise loads the knee extensors and quadriceps and requires minimal stress on the back. This makes it a great choice for beginners as well as seasoned bodybuilders.

The pendulum squat machine targets the lower portion of the body, particularly the glutes, quadriceps, and hamstrings.

This machine works these muscles by placing the feet on a pad while retaining an even pressure throughout the foot.

This position also ensures maximal knee flexion. Using the pendulum squat machine will increase the recruitment of your quadriceps and help you get the best possible results.

Another great option is to use resistance bands. These bands can help to equalize the weight load and accommodate stronger users.

The bands will also compensate for the uneven resistance profile of the pendulum squat machine. In addition to that, they will also increase the tension across the entire body during the workout.

Jump Performance

The pendulum squat is a great way to develop core strength through a variety of muscle groups.

This exercise is safe, convenient, and scientifically backed to compliment your weight-training in order to improve your jump performance.

You can get started with a light weight and build your core strength over time by adding more weight to the exercise. 

Squats are difficult but they can increase your core strength through a variety of exercises. When performing a squat, you should bend your knees to approximately parallel with your toes.

You can perform squats on the balls of your feet or on your toes. Both are effective exercises that target different muscle groups, and you can see impressive strength gains.


Pendulum squat machines are a popular way to improve stability and strength. These machines use a wide footplate, which helps the user adjust foot positions to focus on the quads, glutes, and hamstrings.

This gives the exercises a higher degree of difficulty, and you can increase the weight you use by adding a weight to the handles.

You can also perform drop sets with pendulum squats to get a supercharged leg workout.

Researchers have found that single-leg squats stimulate higher neuromuscular activity in the hamstrings, quadriceps, and VM than double-leg squats. They also found that the exercise increased the activation of muscles in the anterior thigh, which could increase stability.

Performing a pendulum squat is similar to a stair-climbing exercise, with the main difference being that knees should be bent over toes rather than over the arch of the foot.

In both exercises, it is important to balance the knees and hips and breathe in and out as you lower yourself.

Once you've reached the correct level of tension, you should start the next repetition before the leg is fully straightened. Continue doing this for the desired number of reps.

Using flat shoes or a wide stance can make squats more hip-dominant. However, it is important to choose a stance that allows for maximum range of motion in the knee and hip joints.

A wide stance and raised heels will make the squat hip-dominant while a narrow stance will bias the workload towards the glutes and hamstrings.

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Pendulum Squat Machine

Using a pendulum squat machine is an effective way to supercharge your leg muscles.

While traditional squats require you to hold the bar in one position, a pendulum squat allows you to change positions and add weight, increasing the difficulty.

To get the best benefit from this exercise, keep your heels flat throughout the movement.

The leg press allows you to achieve a deeper knee bend than a traditional squat, requires less upper body stability, and allows for a wider range of movement in the leg.

While it is not a full substitute for a squat, it can be an excellent supplement to a workout routine and is a great way to develop tree trunk legs.

This exercise targets both the quadriceps and hamstrings. However, the wide stance reduces the demand on the quads while emphasizing the glutes. When performed correctly, it will make you more flexible.

The pendulum squat machine is a versatile exercise that is beneficial for many people. It is similar to the hack squat, but does not require the use of a barbell.

In addition, it targets more muscle fibers than a standard barbell squat does. The pendulum squat also allows you to add more weight to your squats.

When training with leg presses, it is important to ensure proper form.

For example, setting the back pad angle too high will cause the legs to bend inward, limiting the range of motion and reducing the force on the knees. Also, make sure you don't go too low.

This can lead to your heels lifting off the platform. To maximize quad development, you should maintain full heel contact with the platform.


The primary muscle group targeted in pendulum squats is the quadriceps, which are located in the front of the thigh. This exercise helps to strengthen and tone these muscles, leading to improved leg strength and stability.

The quadriceps are responsible for extending the knee and are heavily engaged during pendulum squats.

As you lower into the squat position, the quadriceps contract to control the descent and then work to push you back up to the starting position.

By regularly incorporating pendulum squats into your workout routine, you can effectively target and strengthen your quadriceps, leading to improved leg strength and stability.

The "downward" thrust of the legs is generated from the base of the spine and pushes down through the feet.

This produces an equal and opposite ground reaction force. The leg muscles of hip extension, the gluteus and quadriceps, are worked during this motion, which is 45 degrees to the lower leg levers.

The quadriceps work in a different manner than the gluteus. This is a problem when dealing with two disparate joint functions and a single direction of resistance.

The pendulum squat is a great tool for increasing your quadriceps training.

Compared to a traditional squat, a pendulum squat involves a larger range of motion. This allows the knees to travel further and the hips to sit further back. 

During a pendulum squat, the quadriceps are more prominently involved in the movement. The femur does not produce much force through the gluteus, so this exercise focuses more on the lower leg levers.

The stance width, toe position, and knee position can be adjusted to maximize the quadriceps' involvement in the movement.

Using a wide stance will work the inner thighs, while a narrow stance targets the outer quads. On the other hand, a low foot position will work the glutes and hamstrings. Variety is key for improving muscle groups that are lagging in strength.


Pendulum squats also engage the gluteal muscles, including the gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus.

These muscles are responsible for hip extension and stabilization, and strengthening them can improve overall lower body strength and power.

During pendulum squats, the gluteal muscles are activated as you push yourself back up from the squat position.

This movement requires the glutes to contract and extend the hips, helping to stabilize your body and generate power.

By targeting the glutes with pendulum squats, you can enhance your lower body strength and improve your performance in activities such as running, jumping, and lifting.


While the quadriceps are the main focus of pendulum squats, the hamstrings also play a supporting role.

These muscles, located at the back of the thigh, help to stabilize the knee joint and assist in hip extension during the exercise.

Engaging the hamstrings during pendulum squats can help to improve overall lower body strength and stability.

By strengthening these muscles, you can reduce the risk of injury and enhance your performance in various physical activities. A

dditionally, targeting the hamstrings can contribute to a more balanced and proportionate lower body appearance.


The calf muscles, specifically the gastrocnemius and soleus, are activated during pendulum squats as they help to stabilize the ankle joint and provide additional support during the movement.

The calf muscles play a crucial role in maintaining stability and providing support during pendulum squats.

The gastrocnemius and soleus muscles, which make up the calf muscles, are activated as they help to stabilize the ankle joint.

This activation not only helps to prevent ankle injuries but also contributes to the overall strength and balance of the lower body.

By targeting the calves during pendulum squats, you can strengthen and tone these muscles, leading to improved performance in various physical activities and a more defined lower body appearance.


The core muscles, including the abdominals and lower back muscles, are engaged to maintain stability and proper form during pendulum squats. Strengthening these muscles can improve overall balance and posture.

These muscles are engaged to maintain stability and proper form during the exercise.

By strengthening the core, you can improve your overall balance and posture, which can have a positive impact on your performance in various physical activities.

Additionally, a strong core can help prevent injuries and provide support for the spine. Incorporating pendulum squats into your workout routine can help you strengthen and tone these important muscle groups, leading to improved overall fitness and a more sculpted physique.


The pendulum squat machine is a fantastic lower body exercise for targeting quads, glutes and hamstrings with or without weights.

It provides an intense workout while being very safe on knees and lower backs - great for developing quads more effectively than traditional barbell squats! 

If this is your first pendulum squat experience, it may appear challenging.

Similar to regular squats but much safer due to not needing to balance a barbell weight accross your shoulders, this exercise is great for beginners or those recovering from knee or back injuries.

Pendulum Squat targets various muscle groups including quadriceps (composed of four muscle groups) and gluteal muscles located on the buttocks.

Furthermore, adductor muscles located within the inner thigh are very active during this exercise.

The pendulum squat requires excellent hip and ankle mobility as you must squat deeper than normal with more knee flexion needed than when performing traditional barbell squats, thus necessitating increased knee flexion.

Because of this, it may not be suitable for people suffering from hip or knee injuries; however, you could give an empty bar a try to see how you react before moving towards using the recommended load.

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