T Nation

Smith machine squats

My gym doesn’t have a squat rack and i would like to avoid changing to another gym as this one is right by my house and has a lot of other things most others dont. The thing is my legs are my weakest bodypart so i have to do heavy squats, the question is; is it safe to do them on the smith machine?? how many of you do this? how hwavy do you go?? thanks

It is not very safe but you can take the weights off of the Smith Machine (the weight tree part) and use that. Just make sure you have a GOOD spotter that knows how to spot someone squating properly.

i’m in shock! what kind of gym doesn’t have have a squatrack? i would reccommend you pressure the gym owner into getting one or find another gym. the free weight squat is too important not to do for a variety of reasons. smith machine squats are not an alternative.

Well, Milo used to squat 500+ lbs without a squat rack by loading up the bar, putting it up on one end, squatting under it, then rocking it into place on his shoulders. next time your in the gym do it the ol’ Milo way. Watch the owner shit. Then tell him you’re going to continue squatting that way till he grows some balls and buys a rack.

AVOID the smith machine like the plague! Do a search on this site as I think Poliquin talks about it somewhere here…but basically doing squats on the smith takes all the pressure off of your hams, and puts them directly on your knees, which causes shearing. Definitely not good. You should definitely do squats to increase leg size, but just start somewhere small and workup. Don’t go heavy right away, but build up to it…ie. just basic pyramiding for a while. Get plenty of rest between sets, (say 3-4 min.) and just do enough weight so that you can do 2 less reps than forced. What I mean is do enough weight so that you can make 6-8 reps, +2 more forced. Stop at this point. Hope that helps, as it’s helped me go from 1 45 plate a side to 3 plates a side (and going up baby!)

Hey man, why don’t you just deadlift? That will get your legs to grow and you’ll get stronger than hell. You could even powerclean or do overhead squats (which will keep your load down). One leg exercises are always an opition as well. Just be creative.

How about Deadlifts, good mornings, walking lunges w/ dumbells, lunge on spot, sumo squat holding DB between legs and step ups onto bench/ box w/ bar on back or DB’s in hand . .bet you still get a good workout
~Coach Mike

I did Smith squats for the same reason until I changed gyms. I can tell you I’ve had more growth in a month using a squat rack with much less weight than I had in 6 months with the Smith. The key, and this is critical, is to start light and do full parallels, nothing less. Do 4 x 12 to start, and go light. Form is everything and you’ll never get it on the Smith. In addition, as said correctly in a previous post, there’s no ham stress and lots of knee stress.

Thanks for the help. For now i’ll start doing deadlifts and if the guy doesnt get a squat rack i’ll change gym. Thanks a lot.

Unfortunate for you but you do have many alternatives. To name only a few Deadlifts, Power-Cleans (with front squat), Overhead Squats, Lunges, Barbell Hack Squats, Good Mornings (standing and seated), RDL’s … The list is pretty big though. Good luck. In faith, Coach Davies