The Powertec Levergym DIY Belt Squat

This is a long-awaited, abundantly requested, write-up on how to set-up a Belt Squat using a Powertec Levergym. I apologize for how long it has taken for me to get this where I was comfortable sharing. For the longest time I either found it to be very safe but not functional, or very functional but not safe. We now have a nice sweet spot. That said, my DIY skills are not nearly as impressive as some of you out there. If anyone has any ideas on improvement, please fire away.

A quick note, this is how I have accomplished this task with my set-up, my needs, my DIY skills, my levergym, etc. If you have a different model levergym, you might need a different solution. If you don’t have yours anchored to the ground, you might need a different solution. The directions below will be a guideline, you will need to do some DIY magic work on your end, have some tools and abilities, etc. to fabricate this into existence. The directions below won’t be too detailed, as I’m hoping that anyone who ventures into this knows how to drill pilots, how many screws are likely necessary to hold two boards together, those kind of things. If I leave out a detail that you want clarified, ask away, I’m always here to help.

Without further ado, here we go.

General Overview – How Does It Work

We run a cable from the high-cable of the Levergym, straight down into a box which has a pulley in it. The cable wraps around, under, and back up the pulley on the other side which attaches to your belt squat belt. You stand on the box, which is held in place by a tie-down strap, you loosen a chain catch and you perform belt squat reps. You reattach the chain catch, take off the belt, and you are good to go.

You are really using the built-in functionality of the cable tower for the levergym, just adding an extra pulley as you need it to pull from straight below you.

Here is the quick video demo, if you haven’t seen it yet:
https://youtu.be/nmH5yRd9ufY

What You Need

One Powertec Levergym

I have a 2014/2016 Powertec Levergym. I say that, because I’m not entirely positive as I bought mine used. What I can confirm is, mine has the detachable bench, iso-lateral arms, and the ability to be concrete anchored into the ground. For how I have the belt-squat set-up, you absolutely need the unit anchored into the ground. Even a few hundred pounds on the plate storage won’t work.

One Belt Squat Belt

I have the Spud Inc. belt, but Rogue just released a possible solution themselves. So do some homework and figure it out, but I can only guarantee the Spud Inc. for this layout.

6 FT Length of Cable

I have an old Ironmaster cable that worked perfectly, but this is a pretty solid length for this build. Make sure to get something coated, make sure the ends have the eye-bolts, and ideally one side has the stopper ball attached. Any shorter and it won’t reach, much longer and you have too much slack.

Something like this:

Cable: https://www.sportsmith.net/itemform.aspx?item=P0000CABL316000&ReturnUrl=/productsearch.aspx?dsNav=N%3a40015

Ball Stop: https://www.sportsmith.net/itemform.aspx?item=P00BALLSTOP0001&ReturnUrl=/productsearch.aspx?dsNav=N%3a40015

Sleeve: https://www.sportsmith.net/itemform.aspx?item=P0000SLEEOVAL01&ReturnUrl=/productsearch.aspx?dsNav=N%3a40015

One 10 Ft Tie Down

I used this Harbor Freight Tie Down, but anything with at least 10 ft of length will work. This needs to double back over the top of your box, so the length is important. Shorter is a no go, longer is fine.

https://www.harborfreight.com/automotive-motorcycle/tie-downs/1000-lbs-capacity-1-12-in-x-10-ft-ratcheting-tie-down-straps-set-of-4-61303.html

2.5 FT Chain

This doesn’t have to be chain, it could be more cable, or rope, or literally anything that can support providing slack in the cable for set-up purposes. I use my Rogue Leader Chain from my chain sets with two carabiners, so if you have one of those, you are good.

https://www.roguefitness.com/rogue-chain-kits

Pulley

You will need a pulley, as the key is to run the cable from the lat-tower high cable, down through your box under and around this pulley, straight up into your belt squat. The pulley needs to support several hundred pounds, and make sure it has the ability for a solid support bar to run through it.

I had an old Ironmaster Lat Tower pulley that was attached to some metal piece that I stuck in there. I drilled through the metal piece and used lag screws to hold it in place. Again, you need some DIY magic depending on your build, tools, resources, etc.

Something like this pulley: https://www.sportsmith.net/itemform.aspx?item=P16P35&ReturnUrl=/productsearch.aspx?dsNav=N%3a40015

Pulley Axle

You are going to need something for that pulley to be on. This is NOT my area of expertise and since I didn’t have to do this myself, I’m not a lot of help here. I believe you could use something like either of these:

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Everbilt-3-8-in-x-36-in-Zinc-Threaded-Rod-802237/204273970?MERCH=REC-_-NavPLPHorizontal1_rr-_-NA-_-204273970-_-N

https://www.sportsmith.net/itemform.aspx?item=P16P130&ReturnUrl=/productsearch.aspx?dsNav=Ro%3a48%2cN%3a40015&dsDimSearch=Dxp%3a5

Wood Box

The base of my box is two 2x10s that run 2 feet long, and four 2x10s that run 20 inches long. When combined like below, you get a 2ft by 2ft box with support.

On top of that base is a platform made of 1 sheet of ¾ plywood, and 1 sheet of ¾ horse stall mat, both are 2ft by 2ft. The plywood is screwed on top of the base, and the horse stall mat is glued onto the plywood. I put four total screws into the mat, just to keep it in place, but the glue does the heavy lifting.

Other Stuff

You’ll need a handful of carabiners, if you don’t already have them lying around your gym. One to connect the cable to the belt, one to connect the chain to the levergym for support, and then not a bad idea to have at least one or two others just in case.

You’ll be building a box, so you need some screws.

I mentioned for the box platform you need a horse stall mat, and some glue. The mat is optional, you could just do plywood, and then that means skip the glue. Totally up to you.

I use one of these magnetic hooks, which makes my life easier. You can probably come up with a different solution, but I had them and they work, so good to go.

Tools

You’ll need a drill, some drill bits for pilot holes and for screwing in the screws.

You need either a jigsaw, or something that can cut down and into the plywood top. This is because you need to be able to run the cable through it, around the pulley, and back up. Technically, you could probably drill two holes, one for entry and one for exit. You could also split the plywood in half, or just cut from one end into the middle and back around, etc. Lots of options here, but you need something.

Directions

You need to build your box first.

Mine has a hole in the front to accommodate the powertec support. Adjust yours as needed.
  1. Acquire your wood, screws, drill, bits, etc.
  2. Make any cuts as needed so your wood is ready for assembly into a box.
  3. You are going to drill through the two center support boards to create a hole for the Pulley Axle
    1. You are going to want your cable to run as straight down as possible, so the pulley should be put in place inside your box to where the cable can do this, just a few inches away from the front of the box. If you are off a bit, no worries, but try to be fairly close and dead center on the box.
  4. Then make any pilot holes for screws, and begin to put the box together.
    1. I basically put a screw at the top, middle, and bottom of every spot where a board touches another board. Feel free to do less, or more, as you deem appropriate.
  5. Put your pulley and bar in place and secure.
  6. Your base should be built at this point, and you just need to add your top.
  7. Prep your plywood, in terms of measuring, marking, and cutting for whatever holes you need for your cable.
    1. Again, you can get creative here and drill the holes, cut them, whatever works. Just get the plywood in working order.
    1. To measure correctly
  8. Attach the plywood to the top of the base you just built, by means of screws around the edge and into the tops of the various support boards.
  9. If you are using a horse stall mat as well, cut the mat, prep the holes in the same spot as your plywood, and then lay down a ton of glue on the plywood and apply the horse stall mat. Put a few plates on the mat to make sure you get a quality connection, and leave it be for a day or whatever the curing time is on your glue.

Depending on how you plan to store, move, carry, etc. your box, you can add wheels, a handle, paint it, etc. But this is up to you, at this point the box is complete.

From here, we assemble the belt squat for use.

Belt Squat Assembly

Remove your Powertec Bench and set aside. Place your box in front of the levergym, as close as possible and as center as possible.

Remove your Powertec Bench and set aside. Place your box in front of the levergym, as close as possible and as center as possible.

You are going to feed the tie down under one side of the levergym’s feet, over the box, under the other foot, back over the foot and doubled over the box, and then secured to the first side. So the hook on the strap, and the hook on the tie-down ratchet should hook together, and then ratchet it down as tight as you can. Be careful to not bend or warp or lift the legs of your powertec here. We need it tight, but don’t be crazy.

  • This step is important, because if we put weight on the belt squat, it will pull up on the pulley that is inside the box, thus pulling the box straight up into the air. As you add more and more weight, this becomes more and more dangerous. Your body weight will help keep it in place, but if your foot slips, or you need to adjust your foot placement, or anything else, that box is coming off the floor and into your face. I do NOT recommend skipping this part.

You can feed the 6 ft cable down and around the pulley and up to the high cable on the levergym. You may need to pull the levergym cable down a tad, which is fine.

Connect your 2.5 ft chain to the same carabiner that is connecting your cable to the high cable. Run that chain and with another carabiner, loop it around the lat pulldown knee support pin. Doing this is going to pull the cable down and put some slack in the cable out of the box. This is good.

Set your powertec lever arms at the top hole. If you have it, set up a magnet hook on the inside of one of the arms.

Connect your belt squat belt to the cable.

Load a single plate to the levergym cable pendulum. Keep it light to test the initial integrity of your set-up and the movement. Test the box for stability, pull on the various cables slightly, etc. Make sure you aren’t about to die.

Get on the box, get your belt set-up around your waist, and stand tall on the box. You should have a little slack in the chain. Unhook it from the cable carabiner, and loop it on the magnetic hook.

You should now be able to perform belt squat reps as you deem fit. When done with your set, hook up the chain again, and then lower down a bit until the chain is tight. This means it is supporting the load. You can unhook from the belt at this point.

Add weight, and retest. I’ve gone up around 300lbs and been fine.

To break it down, remove all weight, take off the belt, unhook the chain, unhook the cable, store everything away, and put your bench back in place.

Other Notes

Depending on if you wide stance squat, or are just a bigger person, you might want a wider box to stand on. You might find you want a deeper box as well. Just make adjustments as you see fit.

This will NOT be a 100% replacement for a stand alone, $1200+ belt squat made of steel from a reputable dealer. If you have the space and the funds, that is obviously the way to go. But if you don’t, this is a nice alternative that might cost you a weekend, $100 in various parts, and a little DIY headache.

Please do not ask me if you can change out certain parts for others. The answer is, yes, maybe, I don’t know. Again, I built with what I had in terms of parts, wood, tools, and skills. If you think you can do better, I would love to see it so I can improve my build.

Any feedback, comments, questions, etc. Let me know! If you build one and use it, make sure to tag me in the use on Instagram.

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