How To Do The Smith Machine Squat Properly

The smith machine squat is an advanced variation of the normal squats. It promotes great muscle hypertrophy in your glutes and thighs.

You will need a smith machine to execute this exercise.

How to do the smith machine squat:

  • Start by loading the bar of the smith machine with weights. Avoid loading too heavy. If you are a beginner, it is best to use the empty bar.
  • Position the bar to your shoulder height. Stand at the center of the smith machine and ensure that the bar rests on your trapezius. Grab the bar with an overhand grip. Position your feet firmly on the floor and maintain a hip-width stance. Exert your weight on your heels. This marks your starting position.
  • While engaging your core, gently lower your body downwards as if sitting on an imaginary chair. The peak movement should be when your knees bend at 90 degrees and are almost parallel to the floor. Ensure that your knees do not go beyond your toes. Maintain a neutral spine and head throughout the entire movement.
  • Pause briefly then rise to your starting position.
  • Perform 10 reps for 3 sets.

WHAT MUSCLES DOES THE SMITH MACHINE SQUAT WORK?

QUADRICEPS

The quads entail four muscles that are located at the front of your thighs. The exercise targets the entire muscle group. Performing the smith machine squat in a narrow stance activates the quads. Additionally, the exercise stretches the quads, hence causing muscle hypertrophy. Strong quads promote knee stability.

GLUTEUS MAXIMUS

Most individuals associate squatting with a method of growing bigger glutes. Fortunately, this is true. The smith machine squat greatly activates your glutes and causes them to be bigger and rounder.

HAMSTRINGS

The smith machine squat partially engages your hamstrings. This also strengthens and partially grows the muscle.  

ABS

Throughout the entire technique, you tighten your core. Consequently, your core power improves. Additionally, you become more stable and flexible.

SPINAL ERECTORS

The smith machine squat activates your spinal erectors. This plays a significant role in promoting back relief and good posture.

CALVES

While performing the technique, the calves facilitate knee flexion. The lower you squat the greater the activation of the calve muscles. This enables you to have strong legs, which enhances your athletic capabilities.

SMITH MACHINE SQUAT BENEFITS

ENHANCES MUSCLE ISOLATION

Positioning yourself in front of the smith machine and maintaining a narrow stance enables you to put more emphasis on your quads. Moreover, the technique promotes mass muscle gain on your glutes and quads. Therefore, if you are interested in bodybuilding, you should incorporate this exercise into your routine.

REDUCES CASES OF INJURY

The exercise plays a critical role in strengthening your quads. Strong quads promote knee stability. Therefore, you develop powerful legs. This helps in minimizing cases of knee injuries.

IMPROVES APPEARANCE

When you hear the word ‘squat’ the first thing that pops into your mind is bigger glutes. In that case, you are not wrong. Executing the smith machine squat correctly and consistently enables you to develop rounder, bigger, and firmer glutes. Moreover, your legs become well-defined and sculpted since your thighs and calves also become bigger and well-toned. This boosts your self-image and confidence. It also rewards you with a more youthful appearance.   

ENHANCES ATHLETIC CAPABILITIES

The exercise enables you to develop a stronger lower body. This is beneficial to your daily and athletic activities. For instance, you develop more power and endurance to perform activities like running, jogging, hiking, jumping, and playing basketball. Moreover, you are able to perform other complex variations of squats with minimal strain.

ABOLISHES THE NEED FOR A SPOTTER

While executing the smith machine squat, you do not require a spotter. This is because the smith machine has in-build hooks, which moderate the movement of the bar. Therefore, the routine is beginner-friendly.

ALTERNATIVES TO SMITH MACHINE SQUAT

PISTOL SQUAT

The pistol squat is a great exercise for engaging your glutes, hamstrings, calves, and quads. The split squat also engages your core and promotes body stability and balance. You do not need any equipment to perform this routine.

How to do the pistol squat:

  • Start standing tall and slightly raising your left foot from the floor. Stretch your arm straight in front of you. Ensure that they are parallel and in line with your shoulders. This is your starting position.
  • Lower your body as low as you can while pushing your hips backward. Stretch your left leg forward while lowering your body. Your right feet should be firmly pressed on the floor for support.
  • Pause for a while then raise your body back up to the starting position.
  • Repeat 5 times then switch to the opposite leg. Perform 3 sets of the exercise.

SMITH MACHINE SQUAT MISTAKES TO AVOID

LEANING FORWARD

Leaning forwards occurs when there is no coordination between your hips and knees. This prevents you from engaging your glutes and quads. To avoid this, ensure that your hips do not move faster than your knees.

CAVING YOUR KNEES INWARDS

Caving your knees in is dangerous since it can cause injuries. Furthermore, it makes it difficult for you to perform the squats. To avoid this, ensure that you press your knees outwards so that they are in line with your toes. This will make it easier for you to squat back up.

ROUNDING YOUR SPINE

Rounding your back is a huge mistake that can also cause injuries. Always keep your chest up and your back straight while doing the smith machine squat to prevent discomfort and injuries.

GOING TOO FAST

Going too fast does not guarantee you great results. Instead, it prevents the technique from engaging the targeted muscles. Ensure that your movement is slow and controlled.

CONCLUSION

The smith machine squat is an effective variation of normal squats that greatly engages your lower body. Performing the technique regularly and in good form will reward you with muscle gain, strength, endurance, and improved appearance. As your endurance level improves, you can gradually increase the weights to enhance your squats. However, avoid engaging in this exercise if you have a history of back pain. Consult your physician first.