Smith Machine Squat
Primary Muscle Group: Quadriceps, Hamstrings, Glutes
Secondary Muscle Group: Abs, Adductors, Calves, Lower Back
Equipment Needed: Smith Machine
The Benefits of Smith Machine Squat
The Smith machine squat is a variation of the squat and an exercise used to build the muscles of the legs. In particular, the Smith machine squat will place a lot of emphasis on the quads.
Utilizing a Smith machine will ensure the bar path remains in a fixed position, eliminating some of the need to stabilize during the exercise.
When doing the Smith machine squats, you can place your feet in front of you, which allows you to stay upright in the squat with a lot of knee flexion. That means the quads will do the brunt of the work. This makes it an excellent exercise for people who need to develop their quadriceps.
You can include the Smith machine squat in your leg workouts or full body workouts.
If you are looking for other exercises that are the best for building muscle or wanting to lose body fat then you should check our Free Workout Plan or our Workout Plans With Coaching for professionally designed workout plans that have been proven to get results.
The Risks of doing Smith Machine Squat
The risks associated with doing Smith Machine Squats are because of the fixed path of the machine takes. By forcing your Squat into a fixed bar path, your body is forced to adapt to the equipment. This often results in poor form, an increased risk of injury and an underwhelming amount of muscle activation. With this in mind, consider adding these into a workout every other week along with some free weight barbell squats.
How To Do Smith Machine Squat
1. Position the bar just below shoulder level and adjust the safety stops right above knee height.
2. Place your pinkies on the smooth ring of the barbell.
3. Get under the bar and position at the base of your traps looking straight ahead.
4. Unrack the bar by rotating your wrists to remove the safety hooks.
5. Take a deep breath and keep your elbows in line with your torso.
6. Descend by simultaneously pushing the hips back and bending the knees.
7. Once your thighs reach parallel with the floor, reverse the movement by driving your feet into the floor and flexing your quads.
8. Finish the lift by exhaling as you fully extend the hips and knees.
For Perfect Technique
Toe angle is highly individual - experiment to see what feels best for you.
Experiment with a thumb-less grip as this helps to eliminate elbow and wrist issues in some folks.
Drive through the whole foot - you want 3 points of contact: big toe, little toe, and heel.
Some forward translation of the knees over the toes is alright provided that the knees don’t deviate excessively inward or outward.
Those with longer femurs will have to allow their knees to come farther forward if they want to remain upright.
Neck position is highly individual as well - some prefer a neutral neck position (i.e. keeping the chin tucked throughout the lift) while others do well with looking straight ahead. Experiment with each and see which one works best for your anatomy.
Don’t push the knees out excessively but ensure they track roughly over or slightly outside the 2nd toe.
Once you have mastered the Smith Machine Squat exercise you can try alternative exercises that target similar muscle groups such as;
How To Do Hack Squats
1. Load the machine with the desired weight and position your shoulders and back against the pads.
2. Position your feet at shoulder width, extend your legs, and release the safety handles.
3. Slowly lower the weight by bending your knees until your thighs are approximately at 90 degrees.
4. Reverse the movement by driving into the platform and extending the knees and hips.
5. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
How To Do Wide Leg Squats
1. Take a extra wide stance.
2. Squat down by bending hips back while allowing your knees to bend forward, keeping back straight and knees pointed same direction as feet.
3. Descend until your thighs are just about past parallel to the floor.
4. Extend your knees and hips until legs are straight.