Smith machine squats have some obvious advantages: Time under tension, no need for a spotter, greater isolation of the legs if required.
I personally don’t do them at all. I love doing squats and I attribute my core strength to them. But obviously some bodybuilders do use them to great effect.
Dorian Yates: "Yeah, I used them for pressing movements, like incline press and shoulder press. I used it for squats, as well. I was brought up in the era of Tom Platz and he always said, “You’ve gotta squat; squats are the greatest thing for your thighs.” Obviously it was true for Tom Platz. He had a good structure so that when he was squatting, the majority of the stress was taken by his quadriceps; his structure was quite short. So I was religiously squatting for the first five or six years that I was training. My legs were okay but they weren’t great, until I began experimenting.
Then, squatting on a Smith machine, I could position my body so it was much more isolated on the quads, less glutes and lower back involvement, didn’t have to worry about the balance aspect. Actually my legs improved a lot when I was doing Smith squats, hack squats, leg presses ï¿½?? I could isolate the thighs a lot more. So actually I used the Smith machine quite a bit for squatting."[/quote]
I agree. Well, I don’t care about time under tension all that much, but other than that:
I love the smith to death on pressing exercises… That doesn’t mean that I don’t do free-weight stuff, but it kinda sucks if you don’t have a spotter at this stage. So most of my free-weight exercises are DB based. Bar lifts are done in the smith where I also do my widowmakers for squats
even when doing the heavy set with regular squats and not quite to failure…
Some people do seem to forget that for most bodybuilders, squats really are a quad exercise, not “leg exercise” or “full body exercise” or whatever. Sure they benefit more than just your quads, but that’s how we organize our workouts.