Does your gym also have a power rack? attached. You set the rods at the correct height that if you fail you can set the bar on the pins. This way you are still in a free range of motion and don’t need a spotter.
In my opinion, the smith machine squat does not feel natural because the barbell is locked in to one plane of motion. When you squat naturally, the bar will travel forwards and backwards. All my opinion of course and if your gym doesn’t have a power rack it is irrevelent.
Thanks for the advice. Yes, there is a power rack as well, and that would make me feel comfortable upping the weight significantly without worrying about killing myself!
My only concern is that I notice at home (a rack with the pins on the outside, and I have to step back from it to squat) is that when I push the weight, I know my form starts to suffer (too much leaning forward with the lower back) so I didn’t know if the Smith would prevent that. Then again, maybe that means I shouldn’t be doing weights I can’t do with perfect form, huh?
I’ll try both the Smith and the power rack and see. I agree with the first post, that being able to watch myself in the mirror will help significantly (I don’t have a mirror at home).
“Then again, maybe that means I shouldn’t be doing weights I can’t do with perfect form, huh?” I think this nails it. Don’t use the smith machine as an excuse to use more weight than you can really do.