Smith machine squats


The Smith machine squat is a great basic leg exercise and a safer alternative to the barbell squat.

Benefit exercises

Squats in the Smith simulator, of course, are inferior in the resulting effect on the human body to squats with a barbell, since they involve a slightly smaller array of muscles, although they provide their main task — the maximum load on the muscles of the legs. On the other hand, if we compare these exercises from the point of view of safety, then the palm will already be behind squats in the simulator. Due to the peculiarities of performing squats in the simulator, the load on the knees and lower back will be incomparably less, and this is an important fact for everyone who has had or has certain problems with these areas.

Comparing squats with a barbell and in a simulator, it can be noted that the result of this comparison will directly depend on the angle from which you look at these exercises. Consider this fact: in the Smith machine, you are not distracted by maintaining balance, which, at first glance, can be attributed to an obvious advantage. But on the other hand, in this case, most of the stabilizing muscles are out of work, which means that the resulting effect will be more from squats with a barbell.

You should not rack your brains deciding which of the exercises is better, where it is more correct to choose the one that is more in line with your goals and capabilities. The shortest path to success is, of course, squatting with a barbell. But there are many reasons why they choose the Smith machine: problems with the knee joints and lower back, the desire to make the training as safe as possible, the emphasis on other muscle groups (say, the top of the quadriceps is better to work out in the simulator) and many others.

Smith Machine Squat Technique

The Smith machine squat is a basic exercise and is often performed with heavy weights. Therefore, neglecting the execution technique not only reduces the effectiveness of the exercise, but can also lead to serious health problems. Remember, your success in bodybuilding does not depend on how fast you can conquer heavy weights, but on how long you can work with them without injury.

Correct exercise technique:

1. Get your shoulders under the bar in the Smith machine, grab the bar with an overhand grip, release the locks with a rotational movement of the brushes and straighten up. The back is slightly arched in the lower back, the press is slightly tense, the legs are shoulder-width apart and slightly pushed forward. This is the starting position.

2. Inhale, hold your breath, and slowly sit up, pushing your pelvis back until your thighs are below a line parallel to the floor. Then just as smoothly return to the starting position. After passing the most difficult part of the lift, exhale.

3. After a pause, do the next rep.

It is important:

Dropping slightly below the 90-degree angle at the knee joint, you increase the load on the muscles of the legs and buttocks. But do not forget that going too low, you overload the knee joints.

When performing the exercise, do not lower your chin down, keep it parallel to the floor, and your gaze should be directed strictly in front of you or a little higher. This technique helps keep your back in the correct position.

Do not relax the muscles of the lower back and abdomen, and do not lift your heels off the floor, this is fraught with unpleasant consequences for the spine. Throughout the set, the lower back should be slightly arched, the stomach slightly pulled in, and the feet should rest steadily on the floor.

Do not forget to hold your breath, going down and to overcome the most difficult section of the path, due to this, intra-abdominal pressure increases and a more powerful effort is developed, which is necessary when lifting the barbell.

Options exercises

Squats with a barbell on the chest in the Smith machine. This variation of the squat is optimal for increasing mass and improving the relief of the upper part of the quadriceps.

Working muscles when squatting in the Smith machine

The following muscle groups receive the greatest load:

  • quadriceps
  • adductor thigh muscles
  • gluteal muscles

Alternative exercises

  • Squats
  • Leg press in the machine
  • Trap Bar Deadlift

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