It certainly feels like a lot of your bodyweight is being removed from the situation. I just wonder how much?
Background - I was in an accident that damaged one of my inner ears. My balance is a little screwy because of it. If my "good ear" gets plugged because of a head cold, allergies or what have you things get a bit "tilty" (benign position vertigo). I don't want to miss a squat day because I am worried about the room beginning to spin while I am at the bottom of a squat. The machine has potential for bad days but if someone is Squatting BW 225 on a BB Squat I wonder what amount of extra weight you'd have to put on the machine to get close(r) to equivalence.
It depends on the angle of the machine. Let's guess that the bottom angle, closest to where your feet are placed, is 60 degrees. We can now find the mass of whatever object moves parallel to the surface upon which we are working. So if you have 100kgs on the machine (or you weigh 100kgs combined with the sled, you get the idea) at a 60o angle the equation would look like this: Mass being moved=100kgs*Sin(60). Which would give you 86.6kgs of mass to be repped! Luckily these machines glide very easily so we don't really need to take into account friction, but if you've got a really sticky one we can talk about that, too. You'll be able to do a lot more weight on this than normal squats because of the added stability of the back pad and the consistent groove the machine makes you work.
Don't care about how much of your bodyweight you're lifting when squatting. Care about it on weighted dips and chinups.
Learn to work up in weight and feel how heavy it feels. Then pick a weight for your top set(s) and rep that shit out. It's that easy. But to answer your question, if you use 2 plates per side with a barbell, I think you could lift 3 plates per side on that machine.
The reason I wanted some idea is that my main is BB Squat and I only want to screw with machines on days the room is tilting. It's more of how to assess when you are doing one exercise and then switching 3-4 times a month every other month. I am sure as I learn I'll get a better feel for stuff but it's good to be able to do some quick mental math and have a general sense of what I should try.
Do not compare a machine exercise to a free weight exercise in terms of how much weight you are lifting.
Smith bench vs. free bench, machine squat vs. free squat etc... They are simply different exercises.
Just ramp and see where you end up if you don't know what weight to use...
Once you've done the exercise for the first time you should have the numbers in your logbook anyway, so you can just look that up next time you do it and try to beat it by a little in weight or reps. No need to calculate anything.
Are you saying that if I can't Free weight squat every time I should be consistent and use the machine every time? I really rather Squat with BB whenever I can and only use the machine to avoid killing myself. I suppose their is something to be said for consistency but...yeah...
what? anyway op, with your balance issue, how bad is it? have you tested yourself with goblet squats etc? maybe focusing on one point infront of you when you lift will help balance, just like focusing on the road while driving on twisty roads instead of keeping your eyes closed - therefore sight and inner ear balance dont match up. did that make sense?
My balance is great most of the time. Basically the vestibular system in my left ear was destroyed. It's a none issue most days because we have redundancy, a second ear. If my "good" ear get's stuffed up because of a cold or allergies the room can start spinning at random. It comes and goes but could be really ugly if it hits at the bottom of a BB squat. When it hits it's complete vertigo, everything rush in a circle, the room literally seems to spin. If I know I am stuffy I want to have a backup exercise "just in case" but I don't want have an idea of how much weight to use in relation to my normal squat so I don't waste time loading different weights at random. I was also thinking about trap bar squats, if things go side ways I can just drop weight.