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Union Fitness 101: How to use the Pit Shark

posted on May 21, 2018

If you haven’t caught on by now, here at Union Fitness we are all about empowering our members. Whether it’s by supporting them as they reach their fitness goals, helping them set up a plan of action to do so, or encouraging them to step outside of their comfort zones, we are constantly striving to give our members confidence in themselves both inside and outside the gym. Another way we can help our members become self sufficient, positive forces in the gym is to lend our knowledge and resources to teach new concepts and techniques to help them become their best selves. Today we will discuss and teach how to use the Pit Shark Machine for belt squats.

These machines are considered hidden gems in the fitness industry and we are lucky enough to have not just one but TWO of these power packing machines available in the Strength Lab.

Why should you belt squat?

Like all squats, they will help you build bigger and stronger legs, but what makes them unique is that they offer all these benefits without loading the spine. Why is that appealing? The lack of spinal compression experienced with belt loading makes them a great option for those recovering from back injuries or even subtle nagging back aches. They’re also a good resource for anyone dealing with upper body injuries or for those that may struggle to support the barbell during squats. So what’s the big deal then if you’re not injured? By taking the trunk and upper body out of the equation, belt squats effectively target the lower body musculature in a more direct way. However you look at it, belt squats are great for everyone!

Ok, so now we know all the positives to belt squatting. How the heck do you set it up??

  • Step 1: Adjust the hook and position the belt low across your hips
  • Step 2: Attach the hook directly beneath you
  • Step 3: Stand up & set up your stance (the safety lever will automatically release when you stand up)
  • Step 4: Squat (or march, we’ll get to that)
  • Step 5: Pull the safety bar back towards you as you lower the bar
  • Step 6: Admire your swole legs

Although there are a plethora of exercises you can do with the Pit Shark, there are two main movements we utilize the most in the gym:

  1. Squat
    1. Wide Stance
      Taking a wider stance will work more of your posterior chain
    2. Narrow Stance
      Taking a narrow stance will work a quad dominant movement pattern
  2. Marches
  3. Effective exercise to strengthen your hips and glutes

What if you don’t have access to a Pit Shark Machine? Well, that’s easy— join Union Fitness (or upgrade your membership)! However, if you’re away from our home gym and you’re desperate for some backache free squatting—you’re in luck! You can easily mimic the Pit Shark with a couple boxes, a belt and some kettlebells or weights.

Here’s how:


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