I had planned to do a lot of experimenting, but I try to stay open minded to other peoples suggestions until I know if they work for me or not. Like the calf raises and shrugs I wouldn’t had thought of using it. When you used for squats what kind of set up did you use, heels elevated, low or high bar etc.[/quote]
Basically I used to squat back then like I saw all the guys do in the bodybuilding magazines: high bar, fairly narrow stance. I tried heels elevated once or twice back then, but didn’t stick with it as it felt awkward.
However don’t get lost too much in the minutiae: the fact that you’re training legs at all, with any consistency and with the intention to raise the weight on the barbell over time already puts you ahead of over 90 percent of ordinary guys going to the gym. Not every detail of your workout has to be perfect immediately, you change and improve as things go along.
Do I recommend you to do squats with free weights? Yes (mainly out of personal concern of what that linear path of the Smith-Machine will do to either the knees or vertebrae over the course of many years of lifting heavy weights). Will it destroy all and any possibility of gaining mass on your legs if you do squats with the Smith-Machine? No. The muscle is contracting under the stress of weight, has to adapt and BOOM hypertrophy .