T Nation

Smith Squat Form


I'm switching out the leg press for smith squats now. I've stopped making progress and I only feel it in my glutes now. However I've seen two types of smith squatting. The first is keeping your feet right around just underneath the bar.

The other way is with your feet out in front of the bar. It kind of looks similar to a hack squat machine IMO. My main goal is big quads with this lift and nothing else. What type do you guys prefer?


how do you feel the leg press in your glutes mostly? there's not a lot of hip extension going on.

try placing your feet lower on the leg press (if you want)


THe feet out in front version will work your hamstrings more. You probably shouldn't do that one if your goal is to develop your quads.

I was just thinking about this when I was doing hack squats in my gym's machine; I don't really like the way it's set up because I have to put my feet out real wide and up at the top, and I noticed my hams were getting hit more than I expected.


have you tried one legged leg press?


Why not just do front squats, they are proven.


ive never done these zep but my guess is that if u were too do them with ur feet under the bar it might feel wierd, so trying it with your feet out might make it feel more natrual and like u said like a hack squat but then again this is only a guess maybe u shud try both and see which ones hit the quad more


they are next in line after I stall out on the smith squats.


Go to the smith squat machine. Then take large steps away from it. As many as it takes to get away from it and toward the squat rack.


FRONT SQUATS next in line after you stall out on smith squats? Terrible idea. Just atrocious.

Smith squats by nature put your body at unnatural, joint compromising angles when you "squat" if thats what you call it....

When you naturally squat, your body is able to align itself relative to the bar and your center of gravity and blahbblah. Essentially, the goal is to keep your vertebrae as perpendicular to the floor as possible. This requires movement throughout the horizontal plane.

Smith machines dont allow for movement in the horizontal plane. They are fixed. They force your vertebrae to remain diagonal to the floor. Its like asking for thoracic injury

besides, what happened to free-motion building total-body stability and synergy? by keeping the bar in a fixed plane, youre preventing a lot of stabilizer mouscles from doing work

Get up to 30000lbs on a smith squat, and your front squat, back squat, whatever will be 10% of that. Scientifically proven....

Leg presses...hack squats...smith machine diagonal squat-like presses...dude, ARE YOU AFRAID to squat?...


Dude, i tried these once two years ago and they are not good news. Do front squats. BEtter for you and better results and you wont look like the dude i saw in the gym today.

in case you were curious, that was retarded..


How about.........


They will give you so much more. There is a reason why people on SS do them 3 times a week. They are compound to the max ie, it does pretty much everything (glutes,core,ham,quads,chest,calves,lower back) except maybe the upper region apart from chest.

Here are the Top 10 uses for a smith


more T-Nation dogma...

Listen, personally, I don't have any experience with the smith for squatting, but i've heard, and it would make sense, that squatting with your feet right under the bar would emphasize your quads more. Think of it this way, powerlifters oftentimes use the low bar position when squatting so it helps them sit back more and utilize your glutes and hams more. Front squat, you have the bar in front of your body, utilizes quads more.

so it looks to me, like smith squatting with your feet right under the bar would emphasize more quads, you could also elevate your heels by standing on a 25pder, that'll really take your backside out of it.


You can only squat 10% of your smith machine squat weight? I don't know how you figure that is scientifically proven. The corollary would mean that I can squat 3,150 lbs on the smith machine. Sure there is less balancing involved but I have managed to mimick a regular atg squat with the smith machine on the few occasions I did them.

The horizontal movement you are talking about during free weight squatting is minimal. The movement plane of the bar does have to remain somewhere near the center of your foot. If it went beyond the heels or the toes you would fall backward of forward accordingly. Especially as the weights get heavier the bar travels in an even lesser arc.

I understand what you are saying about avoiding the barbell squat, but those examples are a bit over the top. Even Smith machines have their place as one of the many ways to change things up once in a while.

But front squats are definitely the bomb!


Ah, you are wise, probably much beyond myself, but did not catch the hyperbolic nature of my post. but thats okay

I feel that someone who is intending to work their way up from leg press to smith squat to front squat is missing the picture

i do not believe that smith squats should be used until a stagntion point and THEN front squats should be brought in

the progression of his exercises seem to be based on loose knowledge and some kind of fear of free-ROM exercises

i mean, would the best idea not be to start with a lower weight of front squats and then increase that rather than consider smith squats a necessary precursor?

i just think they are an inefficient tool for us to use. the ONLY purpose i see in squatting in a smith rack is to do pin-squats. when i do them sometimes the bar slides up and down the pin. this would be avoided on a smith machine

there is just so much potential for shitacular form on a smith squat. like, ive seen people exclusively bench on a smith machine and once they get to barbell its like "whoa, i need to control the bar? what is this nonsense?"

i guess im biased...


A few months ago I'd have commented on this, but I guess it's no use.

@Zep Imo just try which foot-placement feels better... Depending on whether you go low or hi-bar the foot-placement should actually come naturally... If you want to bring your quads up, do Smith Front Squats.
Jason Wojo does 'em perfectly: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1YwkX6gmyM

Edit: Make a vid of your smith squats and put it into your log, or pm it to me and I'll see if I have anything to add.


You do realize that the OP is a powerlifter and Squats plenty.
And your numbers aren't really all that stellar, no offense. I wonder why you feel the need to give out advice here though. Especially on a bodybuilding forum, against the smith.
We've had this shit before, by the way, about 300 times.


yes, yes. ive read other posts from him while rolling around the boards and learned a little more

and i know my numbers arent stellar, so no offense taken

i like the smith machine for some exercises but
IMO smith squats arent the best. there are so many exercises that arent as restrictive, i feel. in a forum, people post different opinions to different questions posed

but i do appreciate being chastised by you in every board ive posted in. it keeps me on my toes and asking questions to myself. it doesnt really matter that you didnt comment on any other person that said similar things on the board.
BUT questions for the OP, and serious ones,,,,

Why wait until you 'stall out' on the smith to move to front squats?

what about jump squats?

if you are a powerlifter, what are you trying to accomplish on the smith? very seriously, what is your goal? power? strength? i just dont see the smith being the best vehicle for those goals

just my opinion


? I only post in this board.

I have done so in the past, but it's pretty hopeless. For some reason you people who have read a bunch of articles think you are really qualified to give out advice here. I'd expect you to at least get to an advanced/high-up intermediate level with your stuff before preaching dogma.

Now I understand the forum/different opinion issue, but do you think it's a good idea for someone who's either
a) broke or b) never made much money in the first place to give out financial advice?

You are seriously talking about Jump squats here? Wonder what he's trying to accomplish? If you don't even know that (and him asking in the bodybuilding forum about getting bigger quads should give you a "hint"), why comment?

Ok I realize I must sound like a total ass, and I certainly don't mean to be quite so aggressive towards you, but damn man...
It's a tough pill to swallow and all that, but please gain experience before you comment on things like this or at least know what exactly is going on.

There is a strength sports forum, by the way.


Smith machine Front Squats are a lot better than normal smith squats imo. I never liked hack squats anyway. Too much glute work. Zep the smith front squats are great for the quads. It is different from normal front squats of course so you need to experiment with foot placing and bar placing to find the sweet spot.


Many smith machines have slight angle to the track with the low end more to the front of the rack the top end more to the rear. When squatting in one of these types it would be better to place your feet slightly in front of the track. With your feet directly under the bar the travel of the bar will force your torso forward which will result in a poor alignment and more lower back activation (poor form). By placing your feet more forward you can stay more errect and squat more safely.

Several made the point that a free weight squat is superior and this is true. You can still get plenty of good work from a smith machine squat though.

It was mentioned that the OP was a powerlifter. If this is the case I have to question why use the smith machine at all for squatting? It would be more benefitial for you to train squats with free weight. The squat should account for 30% or more of your total score in PL. It would be a shame for you to lose your familiarity with the lift by training in a smith machine.


Oh really? Please provide a link to this scientific study where someone reached a 30000lb smith squat, and it didn't positively affect their free weight squatting.

The rest of your post just wreaks of fanboyism.

Do you also believe that Hack squat machines put your body into "unnatural, joint compromising angles"? Because depending on how you perform smith machine squats, they can be very similar biomechanically speaking.

If you don't know how to do them properly, then don't do them. But telling someone else that they are "retarded" for wanting to do them is...well retarded.

I've done them before, and I'm sure that lots of other experienced guys on this forum have as well. I did not injure myself, and I doubt that anyone else else that knew what they were doing did either.

Zep, here is a video of Ron Harris doing some squats in the Smith:

That's pretty close to the form that I generally use, only I tend to go lower than him.

It's really about knowing where you body is in space and finding just the right foot placement that allows for the most comfortable ROM. I couldn't tell you exactly where that is for you, but if you play around with it a little, you'll likely find where that is for you.