Smith Machines For Squats

Yeah, well the title sais it all. In my gym we dont have a regular squat rack. Should I even bother with the smith machine, or just do light weight that I can put over my head like 135 for crazy reps. Thanks.

Deadlifts, hack squats, lunges, bulgarian split squats, sprints, step-ups, etc.

ok I will do bulgarian splits then, and hack squats. Thats the only thing out of that list that I have been leaving out

how many sprints you do anyway, drake? Im ready to get back into them

just got back from the park…did 4 100 yard sprints and a 10 mile bike ride just for an easy day off. ready to pick up intensity tommorrow

Find somewhere with a squat rack, otherwise use the smith machine for these

You can do squats in the Smith machine, I’ve done them before. The movement pattern is a little different from regular BB squats, but still can be effective.

Of course, the other suggestions that brant made are good options as well.

Front squat off an Olympic bench. Enter from the rear. I already had a thread on this a while back. Anyway, do squats this way three times a week. Trust me, it works.

[quote]TheDudeAbides wrote:
Enter from the rear.


Ahem. Sorry.

Zerchers from a preacher bench.

wait, Wait, wait…didn’t you challenge the entire state of Maryland to a squat off in another thread because of how awesome you are yet now we find out all you have is a smith machine?


Do you have a military press? Sometimes (not always) you can jerry rig the military press to squat out of it. If your gym allows you can hang chains from the ceiling to support the bar (my friend did that a home when we were teens) but that may be a bit much. Of course you could always find a new gym :wink:

Also I think you could get good results (size and endurance) from squatting lighter weight for a lot of reps/sets ala Poliquin and his speed skaters that he is always talking about. But if you want to have a kick ass 1RM squat you will have to find a way to practice with heavy weights.

Clean/press 135 and put it on your back. Squat. Problem solved. No need for a rack or anything. High reps built muscle to, or so I’ve been reading on here.

Best thing about that is someone can just lift that weight off your back, since you don’t have a rack.

I’d always prefer that people have access to a way to do regular barbell squats, but it is entirely possible to thoroughly work your legs with the Smith machine. Barbell hacks are great and very overlooked as well.

what’s wrong with smith squats? i see many pro bodybuilders including them their routines. i do them and my quads are coming along fine.

My preference would be barbell squats, but if all I had access to was a smith machine I would use the hell out of it rather then not lift. That goes for any movement.


I have done smith machine squats before, I’ve found that if the weight is heavy enough, you are going low enough, and you learn the movement pattern, that is quite possible to thrash the quads on a smith squat. Problem is most people using the smith don’t fulfill those criteria. I guess the only disadvantage is it might take out some of the core work, but that can easily be made up for.

Just my $.02

[quote]1morerep wrote:
what’s wrong with smith squats? i see many pro bodybuilders including them their routines. i do them and my quads are coming along fine. [/quote]

I think people see them as the wussified version of the exercise. I disagree. They allow more control and higher rep ranges with the same amount of weight. This has nothing to do with standard free squats before this becomes a comparison of the 2. They’re both useful for building size.

I made great gains using a smith machine. I prefer regular squats; but i was in the same situation as you; only a smith machine was available.

The main thing is that even though its a machine you still really need to concentrate on form. I like to put my feet ever so slight forward of the bar and go down as low as possible. Also, dont load up to heavy on it as first until you get use to it as this may prevent you from going as low as you should as its easy to be tempted to overload the wieght because its a machine.

Ive made some great gains using a smith; it also helped my form with regular squats as i can now go down lower than i normally would prior to using smith. I guess the smith caused some neuro memory or maybe it was because i could stretch into a lower position because i could lean against the bar…(i am somewhat inflexible; but the smith did help with my stretch at the lower position)

I must say that using lighter wieghts that you can press over your head to do squats is probably not as good as just simply doing heavy squats on a smith machine.

Smith machines are fine as long as you don’t simply substitute them for your main leg exercise. Most people have a tendency to lean into the bar, which is great for maximizing force output, but it takes the hamstrings mostly out of the equation.

So, Smith machine = good for quads, not good as a squat replacement. I think that’s why they are put down so much.

A lot of pro BB’s seem to do both, which makes sense.