I started training again about six months ago after a horrendous 13 year self abusive layoff. I had a lot of experience from previous training and knew that I’d better break myself in sensibly before going heavy to avoid having to scoop various connective tissues off my basement floor. I started squats on the smith machine for safety reasons and subsequently got used to it and stuck with it. My lifting progress skyrocketed after the first few weeks of breaking myself in. However I started noticing a more “complete” burn in my left leg than my right and went out of my way to conciously compensate. Today I decided to put some plates on an olympic bar and go for free bar squats.
I went with what I thought would be light weight and kept excellent form. WHAT A DIFfERENCE!! Holy Shit, I'd forgotten. Perfect resistance in both legs and 40% less weight kicked my ass thoroughly. The smith machine has it's place and I've made great gains in leg size and strength up til now, but it'll be the old fashioned bar from now on for the most part. I'm quite certain I'm not bringing any galactic revelation to most of you guys, but thought I'd mention it.