Body Solid Leverage Squat Machine GSCL360 Review by Barry C.
Ask any fitness professional what exercise is the best for developing explosive lower body power and the answer is always the same: the Squat. The Squat is the ultimate exercise for building mass and strength in the thighs, glutes, calves, and lower back. But squats can put a strain on your lower back, knees and even your shoulders.
The Body Solid Squat Calf GSCL360 Machine is engineered to eliminate the risks of this essential exercise while enhancing the benefits and increasing the effectiveness.
Go heavy! You can load this machine with up to 800 pounds! The Leverage Squat Machine is the strongest machine in its class and can handle the heaviest loads with ease.
You get all the benefits of doing barbell squats without having to worry about hurting yourself. The machine is very good quality and can support a lot of weight.
What I like best about this machine is that it puts you in the proper squatting position; knees don't go past the toes:
Body Solid Leverage Squat Machine GSCL360 Review Continued
The angled foot plate allows for multiple foot positions which are great because you can work your legs slightly differently depending on foot position. One thing that took some getting used to is having to lean back into the pads that go behind your back. With your feet on the angled plate you almost have to lean back into those pads, which felt odd to me, but it makes for a comfortable lifting position.
While lifting, your back feels totally removed from the move which in a traditional squat the back is highly involved. There is an adjustable pin to determine how low you can go into the movement; I personally put it lower because I like to go deeper into the move. It's very comfortable though, Id almost compare it to more of a leg press or hack squat feeling than a squat because it's that much easier on the back than a regular squat.
Because of the 'leverage' design, where the lever stabilizes the load for you, you will be able to squat much more weight than if you were doing free-weight barbell squats. I would equate 225lbs on a bar to about 300 pounds on the leverage machine.
The weight capacity is 800 lbs, but the bars holding the weights are far too short for that unless you have some 100 lb. plates. There's no way to load more than six 45 lb. plates on each side, so 540 lbs. is about all you can expect. That's probably more than enough for most lifters though.
There's a spring loaded lockout handle that you need to release to start and end the squat. This handle is very hard to move when beginning or ending exercises and it's awkward to use with hundreds of pounds on your shoulders.
I have found that if you grab the mechanism like in the photo below it is easier to release than if you grab it by the handle. Some other reviewers have suggested removing 30% of the spring to release some of the tension making it easier to move.
Even if you can't get this lockout handle back into position, there's still an adjustable pin that will catch the load allowing you to crawl out from under the machine.
Calf raise block is round instead of square, but the calf block isn't quite high enough to get a really deep stretch at the bottom but it's curved and doesn't dig into your foot like a square block would.
Despite the cons, this machine has been well worth the $! My inability to barbell squat properly because of my bodies mechanics, or I just plain can't squat correctly, this machine puts you in the correct squatting position automatically.
My lower back and strained rotator cuff are no longer keeping me from squatting.
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