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    Registered User grubman's Avatar
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    Bells of Steel Belt Squat V2 REVIEW

    who doesn’t want a belt squat machine for their gym? Unfortunately, most of them are priced in the thousands, and unpractical for the average home gym.

    Enter...the Bells of Steel v2 Belt Squat machine!

    https://www.bellsofsteel.us/product/belt-squat-machine/

    At $750, it’s one of three reasonably priced belt squat machines listed below...

    Titan (pictured directly below) has 1 for $600...but it doesn’t include a belt (an additional $50-$100), has nothing but a couple bolts for the pivot point, and reviews have been less than favorable.



    Edge Fitness has one (pictured directly below) for $695...but add the almost necessary front handles and optional band pegs, and suddenly the price is $970. Honestly, it just doesn’t look that stable and only weighs 150 pounds.



    The Bells of Steel Belt Squat costs $750...$700 if you paid the pre-order price. Weighs in at a hefty 264 pounds of 11 gauge steel, comes with a belt, band pegs, and 4 heavy duty bushings on the pivot point.

    Here’s mine assembled. There are more pics on the Bells of Steel website.



    Spoilers...I’m going to end the review with the conclusion...

    This thing is awesome. It’s been everything I hoped for. It’s comfortable to use, It hits my quads like crazy, and all with absolutely no back compression. It is built like an absolute tank, and I think the 700 pound weight capacity is a conservative number (not that I’ll ever be using that much weight). Finally, when I got in touch with the company, I didn’t get some customer service rep, I got the owner…who took the time to answer all my questions personally.

    IMHO, the choice in this price range is a no brainer. Even if you have more money to drop, I can’t imagine any reason the typical home gym owner would need a more expensive belt squat when this one does the job so well.

    SHIPPING

    Shipping in Canada and the USA is free, so you can’t beat that price. It came federal express, and I had a great conversation with the driver about our home gyms. He was pretty jealous of the belt squat.

    The packing was pretty basic...not a lot of padding, so yeah, there were a few scrapes and dings, but nothing major...and I buy my equipment to use, not to sit on display.



    ASSEMBLY

    I hauled all the pieces into the basement, took inventory of the pieces and bolts. Everything was there, with all the bolts securely in bags and heavily taped boxes.

    The instructions were 6 or 8 simple to follow pictures, and despite not having sockets big enough for half the huge bolts, I got it together by myself, in maybe a half hour. It was simple, everything fit together perfect. Honestly, not one cuss word came out of my mouth the whole time.






    MY ONE COMPLAINT

    Nothing in life is perfect (except my wife)...the belt that comes with the machine is “one size fits all”. This is true...BUT...if your a “smaller” guy like me (5’7” with a 30” waist) it’s about 6 inches too long. While it still functions, the problem is it hangs so low, the weight bearing bars come down very close to the floor.

    Now, the weight pegs can be set in two configurations. I think the side loading pegs are easier to use and more aesthetic...that’s the way I set it in the pics above. But I had to take them off and put them in the top loading configuration. This way the weights didn’t bottom out and hit the floor. Problem solved...but a slight issue.

    If your short, you’ll have to use the top loading configuration, or buy a shorter belt.

    Here’s how the finished product looked...



    FUNCTION

    The bearings make this so smooth it’s as good as any commercial machine. It feels totally natural, and you can change your foot position and posture for more traditional squats, or more upright sissy squats that isolate the quads more.

    Did a quick video with horrible sound...but hey, check out the shirt BoS sent along with the machine free of charge (and it’s bamboo, no cheap rag)!




    FINAL THOUGHTS

    Today is my 51st birthday. This was an early birthday present to myself...and I couldn’t be happier with the purchase. I have a lot of great equipment in my gym and this was the last spot to fill. I’m spoiled with choices...but I guarantee I’ll be using this machine every week.

    To me, it seems like the obvious choice among the competition in the same price range...but compare for yourself.

    Good lifting!

    Last edited by grubman; 10-02-2019 at 06:31 PM.
    My 8 year progress video: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=wg3BXudgIjg
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  2. #2
    Registered User EricAtl's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by grubman View Post
    who doesn’t want a belt squat machine for their gym? Unfortunately, most of them are priced in the thousands, and unpractical for the average home gym.

    Enter...the Bells of Steel v2 Belt Squat machine!

    https://www.bellsofsteel.us/product/belt-squat-machine/

    At $750, it’s one of three reasonably priced belt squat machines listed below...

    Titan (pictured directly below) has 1 for $600...but it doesn’t include a belt (an additional $50-$100), has nothing but a couple bolts for the pivot point, and reviews have been less than

    Edge Fitness has one (pictured directly below) for $695...but add the almost necessary front handles and optional band pegs, and suddenly the price is $970. Honestly, it just doesn’t look that stable and only weighs 150 pounds.



    The Bells of Steel Belt Squat costs $750...$700 if you paid the pre-order price. Weighs in at a hefty 264 pounds of 11 gauge steel, comes with a belt, band pegs, and 4 heavy duty bushings on the pivot point.

    Here’s mine assembled. There are more pics on the Bells of Steel website.



    Spoilers...I’m going to end the review with the conclusion...

    This thing is awesome. It’s been everything I hoped for. It’s comfortable to use, It hits my quads like crazy, and all with absolutely no back compression. It is built like an absolute tank, and I think the 700 pound weight capacity is a conservative number (not that I’ll ever be using that much weight). Finally, when I got in touch with the company, I didn’t get some customer service rep, I got the owner…who took the time to answer all my questions personally.

    IMHO, the choice in this price range is a no brainer. Even if you have more money to drop, I can’t imagine any reason the typical home gym owner would need a more expensive belt squat when this one does the job so well.

    SHIPPING

    Shipping in Canada and the USA is free, so you can’t beat that price. It came federal express, and I had a great conversation with the driver about our home gyms. He was pretty jealous of the belt squat.

    The packing was pretty basic...not a lot of padding, so yeah, there were a few scrapes and dings, but nothing major...and I buy my equipment to use, not to sit on display.



    ASSEMBLY

    I hauled all the pieces into the basement, took inventory of the pieces and bolts. Everything was there, with all the bolts securely in bags and heavily taped boxes.

    The instructions were 6 or 8 simple to follow pictures, and despite not having sockets big enough for half the huge bolts, I got it together by myself, in maybe a half hour. It was simple, everything fit together perfect. Honestly, not one cuss word came out of my mouth the whole time.






    MY ONE COMPLAINT

    Nothing in life is perfect (except my wife)...the belt that comes with the machine is “one size fits all”. This is true...BUT...if your a “smaller” guy like me (5’7” with a 30” waist) it’s about 6 inches too long. While it still functions, the problem is it hangs so low, the weight bearing bars come down very close to the floor.

    Now, the weight pegs can be set in two configurations. I think the side loading pegs are easier to use and more aesthetic...that’s the way I set it in the pics above. But I had to take them off and put them in the top loading configuration. This way the weights didn’t bottom out and hit the floor. Problem solved...but a slight issue.

    If your short, you’ll have to use the top loading configuration, or buy a shorter belt.

    Here’s how the finished product looked...



    FUNCTION

    The bearings make this so smooth it’s as good as any commercial machine. It feels totally natural, and you can change your foot position and posture for more traditional squats, or more upright sissy squats that isolate the quads more.

    Did a quick video with horrible sound...but hey, check out the shirt BoS sent along with the machine free of charge (and it’s bamboo, no cheap rag)!




    FINAL THOUGHTS

    Today is my 51st birthday. This was an early birthday present to myself...and I couldn’t be happier with the purchase. I have a lot of great equipment in my gym and this was the last spot to fill. I’m spoiled with choices...but I guarantee I’ll be using this machine every week.

    To me, it seems like the obvious choice among the competition in the same price range...but compare for yourself.

    Good lifting!

    Happy birthday. Great review, hope you enjoy it. How do you plan on incorporating it into your workout.
    Unfortunately the c+c gifs are too large to upload, trying to,embed
    I quote with pics. ()---() York Barbell Club #78 (DD) ()---()
    My gym pics: https://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=177315891&p=1583348411&viewfull=1#post1583348411
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  3. #3
    Registered User grubman's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by EricAtl View Post
    How do you plan on incorporating it into your workout
    I’m currently doing a push/pull with volume periodization using myo reps. On the Push day (when I hit quads) I'm doing the belt squats between the heavy squats and the high rep single leg movement. I’m doing a 12 rep goal, followed by sets of myo reps (easy and safe on this machine).

    The movement feels so good I’ll undoubtedly experiment with higher weights and lower rep schemes (probably 8) in the future. Right now I’m enjoying the quad focus, but I’ve already experimented with foot positions that bring the hamstrings and glutes more into play.

    I’ve never messed with bands or chains, so I’m thinking this machine will be perfect for delving into that, since it has band pegs...this is the great thing about options, nothing ever has to get stale and there is always new ways to stimulate muscles.
    My 8 year progress video: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=wg3BXudgIjg
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  4. #4
    Registered User radrd's Avatar
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    Very cool piece of equipment. Thanks for the impressions. Repped. What's the footprint?
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    Happy Birthday grubman and congrats on the shiny new workout toy!

    What are your opinions on using the belt squat with and without holding onto the bars during the squat?

    Any significant difference, or benefits to it?
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  6. #6
    Registered User grubman's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by radrd View Post
    Very cool piece of equipment. Thanks for the impressions. Repped. What's the footprint?
    51 inches long, 52″ wide, 40″ tall and the base is 35.5″ wide

    It’s not huge, but, since it was the last piece of the puzzle in my gym, it took me a day to figure out how to rearrange things so everything fit with plenty of room so nothing was crowded. I have it freestanding in the middle of the gym, and it’s not bulky at all.

    Here’s a “walk around” video...



    Originally Posted by Deep-Voiced-One View Post
    Happy Birthday grubman and congrats on the shiny new workout toy!

    What are your opinions on using the belt squat with and without holding onto the bars during the squat?

    Any significant difference, or benefits to it?
    Thanks

    Honestly, I haven’t tried it. I think the handles are part of the huge advantages because you can keep your body more upright and have the weight (front the belt) squarely on the hips.

    I used to do belt squats with a landmine, and even with my arms straight out in front of me for balance I had to bent over pretty far to keep my balance.

    I think the nature of the exercise is to lean back, so I think the handles are only natural.

    Imagine the difference in posture and leverage between a deadlift and a hex bar deadlift...now imagine the difference in leverage and quad focus if you hunker down to do the hex bar deadlift AND could lean back as far as you like as you pull from the bottom, without having to worry about falling back...you could push from the floor with almost 100% quads, if you like.

    Like I said, you can take different positions to involve more secondary muscles...myself, I want a strong quad focused exercise.

    ^^MHO
    Last edited by grubman; 10-03-2019 at 04:38 AM.
    My 8 year progress video: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=wg3BXudgIjg
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  7. #7
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    This is why I visit this forum. Great review and happy birthday!
    -632931 to -285725 rep. / working almost minimally to make that number respectable ;)
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    That would be a great machine to workout for. It was just amazing.
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  9. #9
    Registered User grubman's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by dagdafitness View Post
    This is why I visit this forum. Great review and happy birthday!
    Thanks man, I had a great birthday.
    My 8 year progress video: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=wg3BXudgIjg
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    I'm a day late, but happy birthday. The belt squat looks like a great addition to your gym. Really good review.
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  11. #11
    Registered User grubman's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by aloosecannon View Post
    I'm a day late, but happy birthday. The belt squat looks like a great addition to your gym. Really good review.
    Thanks!

    Literally just finished my workout. 1 set of 12 on the belt squat followed by 3 sets of 5 myo reps. I was on my hands and knees afterward. Thought my quads were going to pop!
    My 8 year progress video: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=wg3BXudgIjg
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    Originally Posted by grubman View Post
    Thanks!

    Literally just finished my workout. 1 set of 12 on the belt squat followed by 3 sets of 5 myo reps. I was on my hands and knees afterward. Thought my quads were going to pop!
    Thanks great review and you may have swayed me to purchase one. In a photo I saw the amount of bolts made it look a bit cheap however in your pics it looks great quality. Can you go fairly wide stance with the platform. I know it’s stupid but I do prefer the look of loading pins out to the side however I think I would too use band band pegs so may top load.
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    That looks like a nice piece of equipment.

    Happy birthday!
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  14. #14
    Registered User grubman's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Rottweiler59 View Post
    Thanks great review and you may have swayed me to purchase one. In a photo I saw the amount of bolts made it look a bit cheap however in your pics it looks great quality. Can you go fairly wide stance with the platform. I know it’s stupid but I do prefer the look of loading pins out to the side however I think I would too use band band pegs so may top load.
    The base is almost 3 feet wide, so pretty wide.

    You can use the pegs in either configuration. In retrospect, I like the top loading configuration. Since I have about 2,000 pounds of weights in my gym I can be lazy and just leave the weight on the machine. The top loading configuration gives it a smaller footprint, and I’m appreciating the larger empty space around it.

    I can’t take a pic, since it’s assembled, but the bolts are figging HUGE and thick. I didn’t have big enough sockets (I’m guessing 1 1/2 inch??) and the shaft is probably an inch in diameter. Honestly, the construction is almost overkill IMHO, and if there is a tornado, I’m hiding under this thing...I guarantee you’ll agree if you get one for yourself. You’ll pick the first piece out of the box and go, “holy chit!”. Everything in my home gym is commercial or light commercial, and this is the thickest, most solid, piece I have.

    In all honesty, I like the fact that it breaks down, in case I have to move it (welded pieces are a bitch to move), and it certainly doesn’t suffer from bolts instead of welds.

    EDIT: guess I exaggerated on the bolts. Look like 1” with 1//2 inch diameters. Seemed bigger when assembling...I wonder why my 1 inch socket was too small?

    Still hefty though.



    Bushings and welds

    Last edited by grubman; 10-03-2019 at 07:45 AM.
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    Originally Posted by grubman View Post
    Thanks!

    Literally just finished my workout. 1 set of 12 on the belt squat followed by 3 sets of 5 myo reps. I was on my hands and knees afterward. Thought my quads were going to pop!
    Congratulations on the birthday and the new belt squat, as usual a good review.

    Last year I seriously considered a belt squat, But in the end I allocated the space to a Watson pendulum squat. At the price and the relatively small footprint your belt squat would have been very tempting, in fact it still is.
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    Thanks for the scoop, not to derail, but just to compare...to the people who own Mech's portable belt squat, do you hold onto the narrow portion in the middle, the safeties in the rack, or nothing and just squat with it?

    I've been thinking of maybe getting one of these belt squats, the Bells of Steel version looks awesome if space is legit for me.
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    Originally Posted by Deep-Voiced-One View Post
    Thanks for the scoop, not to derail, but just to compare...to the people who own Mech's portable belt squat, do you hold onto the narrow portion in the middle, the safeties in the rack, or nothing and just squat with it?.
    I have Mech's belt squat attachment mounted on the rear crossmember and leave my bar in my Mech mono-hooks. With the bar in the mono-hooks it's in the perfect position to use as a hand rail.
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    Originally Posted by grubman View Post
    EDIT: guess I exaggerated on the bolts. Look like 1” with 1//2 inch diameters. Seemed bigger when assembling...I wonder why my 1 inch socket was too small?

    Still hefty though.

    Bolt is metric.
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    Originally Posted by Deep-Voiced-One View Post
    Thanks for the scoop, not to derail, but just to compare...to the people who own Mech's portable belt squat, do you hold onto the narrow portion in the middle, the safeties in the rack, or nothing and just squat with it?

    I've been thinking of maybe getting one of these belt squats, the Bells of Steel version looks awesome if space is legit for me.
    I don't hold onto anything but squatting is very natural to me, and I squat failry wide/sit back. But no, never hold on to the middle part, lol. That sounds horrible.
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    Originally Posted by gym62richard View Post
    Congratulations on the birthday and the new belt squat, as usual a good review.

    Last year I seriously considered a belt squat, But in the end I allocated the space to a Watson pendulum squat. At the price and the relatively small footprint your belt squat would have been very tempting, in fact it still is.
    richard someone in St Albans is importing them. Should have them mid Oct this is what peaked my interest
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    What is the approximate weight ratio in comparison to your actual squat weight? I've read that some of these leverage belt squats are outrageous on how much you can belt squat vs actual squat.
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    Originally Posted by Steelfan7 View Post
    What is the approximate weight ratio in comparison to your actual squat weight? I've read that some of these leverage belt squats are outrageous on how much you can belt squat vs actual squat.
    That’s a question I can’t really answer. Im not a powerlifter, I'm a bodybuilder. I haven’t done a 1 rep max since I was in my teens, and the lowest I ever go on reps for squats is 6. It’s about health, fitness, aesthetics, and injury free longevity for me. I’m very much a form and feel (mind muscle connection) kind of guy, strength has never been a priority, but rather a nice added benefit.

    I’ve been doing the belt squats AFTER squats with SSB for sets of 6, and the belt squats at 12 reps (neither of these to failure). Taking the weight of the SSB into consideration, I’m moving approximately 4/5 of the squat weight on the the belt squat for twice the reps.

    I would say I can move more weight on the belt squat, but not a disproportionately great amount.

    That’s just my limited experience, but I don’t foresee having to stack on plates like a 45 degree leg press.
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    Originally Posted by Steelfan7 View Post
    What is the approximate weight ratio in comparison to your actual squat weight? I've read that some of these leverage belt squats are outrageous on how much you can belt squat vs actual squat.
    Judging from the pictures, it should be pretty close to 1:1, since the weights are the same distance from the pivot as the belt arm. It's designs like the Edge Fitness model included in the original post where mechanical leverage is introduced. In that pic, the weights are much closer to the pivot than you are.
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    Originally Posted by Rottweiler59 View Post
    richard someone in St Albans is importing them. Should have them mid Oct this is what peaked my interest
    Lol, damn you must be clairvoient I was about to ask where you found this belt squat.

    I've never seen Bells Of Steel equipment over here, at this kind of price it's something I might take a punt at, I like the ATX unit, but it's way too expensive for a untried piece of equipment.
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    Grub,a little off topic but is you have a SSB you should invest in handles/weight holders that fit on your power rack.
    I got a set years ago from Newark barbell and use them with the SSB.
    I hold on to them with a slight lean back and squat,a very effective quad movement similar to Frank Zanes squat devise.
    Weight stays on the shoulders just fine.
    I think way back when with the first SSB also known as the Hatfield bar you could get handles to do these type of squats.
    ok enough.
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    Originally Posted by Steelfan7 View Post
    What is the approximate weight ratio in comparison to your actual squat weight? I've read that some of these leverage belt squats are outrageous on how much you can belt squat vs actual squat.
    Bells had a video with their V1 that looked to have the same leverage ratio and with a 175 LB load it was 2-3 LBs lighter than the plates alone.
    Now if Kaevon would at least have a shipping ETA for his Canadian customers that prepaid for their belt squat machines back from the Fathers day sale when he was saying a mid August delivery it would be peachy.
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    Originally Posted by Garage Rat View Post
    Grub,a little off topic but is you have a SSB you should invest in handles/weight holders that fit on your power rack.
    I got a set years ago from Newark barbell and use them with the SSB.
    I hold on to them with a slight lean back and squat,a very effective quad movement similar to Frank Zanes squat devise.
    Weight stays on the shoulders just fine.
    I think way back when with the first SSB also known as the Hatfield bar you could get handles to do these type of squats.
    ok enough.
    I did look into those several years ago...but they wouldn’t work with the Body Solid Multi Press rack I use. 75% of the time I like that unit better than a traditional rack...but there are several rack attachments that would have been cool. Oh well, can’t have it all .

    Ironically, a Zane leg blaster came up on Facebook Marketplace about a year ago for $200. By the time I got done debating if I really “needed” it, it was sold.
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    Nice, I made a thread about this a few weeks ago and wondered if anyone might pull the trigger when it was discounted. Looks like an excellent machine with some really nice features, I like that it has the band pegs and the bushings is a nice touch. Although, I will say that the bolts used for pivot points on the Titan are 100% smooth, on par with how smooth the base Edge Fitness model felt with bushings in the rear so it's a non-issue IMHO. Although, a couple things that would make me take the Titan over the BOS would be the rear plate storage, and ability to hand select your own belt while still being slightly cheaper. Either way, dedicated belt squat machines are the absolute tits. My leg sessions have never been so great
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    belated Happy Birthday to you and thanks for the review. yours is the first of these reviews that make me understand the want for one.

    I use handles and the ssb and you can kind of replicate this but have the real risk of dumping weight off your back if you lean back too far.
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    It looks like there's room to add a couple storage pegs on the pivot uprights.
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