Smith Machine Squat Benefits & Limitations
One of the main benefits of the Smith machine is that you can change your foot placement as mentioned above. You can’t do this without falling over on free-weight squats!
Another benefit is that you don’t have to use as many stabilizer muscles. So you end up using more of the major muscle group you’re trying to target.
However, the Smith machine squat is not the top dog. Traditional barbell squats are still king when it comes to overall power and strength development.
- Able to change foot placement to target specific muscles
- Easier to balance than free weights
- Good for isolating major muscle groups
- Not as good for overall power and strength
How To Do Squats On A Smith Machine
To do squats on a Smith machine, start by adjusting the bar to about shoulder level. Also, check that the safety stops are in position at the bottom of the range of motion.
Next, place the bar on your shoulders and lift it off the safety hooks. Then position your feet under the bar or slightly forward, depending on the muscles you want to target.
Now lower the weight by pushing your hips back and bending at the knees. Then lift the bar back up by extending your knees and driving your hips forward.
To recap, here are the step-by-step directions:
- Set the bar and safety stops to the appropriate height
- Put the bar on your shoulders and lift it off the safety stops
- Squat down by pushing your hips back and bending at the knees
- Lift the bar by extending your knees and driving your hips forward
- Repeat for the desired number of reps and rerack the bar
Smith Machine Squat Video
In this video, I demonstrate how to do a Smith machine squat with my feet pretty much right under the bar. This technique is great for hitting both the glutes and quads.