T Nation

Who Smith Machine Squats?


i know how everyone here loves the smith machine and think its prolly the best piece of equipment in the gym, but i was curious as to whether or not it can be used effectively for a limited amount of excercises.

i currently perform two excercises on the smith machine, they are also 2 excercises i have never done before prior to this program and these two excercises are front squats and bulgarian split squats. is it better to use the smith for these 2 excercises simply because you can remain extremely stable and use much more weight than you could using a barbell ?

(im 21 years old 197 pounds and doing a 5x5 related program looking to build strength first and foremost but also buld muscle, building muscle is my long term goal im not training to be a powerlifter)


the smith could be used for both those exercises. however, many do the FS and split squat BECAUSE they are hard to balance/involve the core/develop "stabilizers" etc

what are your goals? if they are purely bodybuilding then the leg press is probably superior to the split squat. have you seen many Mr O contenders regularly do bulgarian split squats?

if your goals are "athletic" or "functional" then surely doing those exercises in a smith defeats the purpose?


With legs I really like smith machine lunges, when I do squats i tend to bounce up and down it feels strange.


I actually use the smith machine for bench isometrics.


I had to rely on a Smith for squats. I like to go ass to calves, and eventually it caused me continual ankle pain (I think to due to overstretching my achilles tendon).

The Smith fucked my form all up.


i only use it for those 2 excercises mentioned above, i use a barbell for regular squats of course


i've only used it for calf raises, then i realized i looked silly. i also didn't get a good enough ROM.


I recently maxed out the Calf raise machine in my gym and was going to start using the smith machine with a block underneath for Calf Raises, why did you think it looked silly? I really don't want to take up a squat/power rack for Calf Raises.


How the FUCK, does one do bulgarian split squats on a smith machine?


I've done a variation of a seated calf raise on the smith. Put a block under the bar so not to cruch your quads..:slight_smile:

If you don't have the balance to do a split squat with any real weight then I guess that is something you need to work on and doing splits on the smith won't help you work on your problem.

Calf raises are an option...but you can do that on a calf raise machine if you have it.

Also good for 2-1 negatives. Push the weight up with two arms...down with one...try doing that with an Olympic bar..:slight_smile:


jCaesar88 wrote: How the FUCK, does one do bulgarian split squats on a smith machine?

this is exactly what i do, maybe its not exactly a bulgarian split squat i may have had the terminology wrong i apologize if i did


LOL. Ok I consider myself a noob at weightlifting/bodybuilding/whathaveyou, but there's no way that this exercise's (while using a smith machine) benefits outweigh the negatives. Even if you look at the animation that you posted, the figure's thighs go nowhere near parallel with floor. My guess would be it's because the limited range of motion that the smith machine provides.
If you wanna do this exercise (i love this one myself) do it while holding dumbells next to you. Start with light dumbells, or no dumbells if you need to.
If you're doing it with a smith machine cuz you have no balance, you're pretty much avoiding the problem.
just my 2 cents.
If I'm wrong or someone more knowledgeable wants to chime in, feel free to correct me


i used the smith machine for my last rehab after getting a knee cleaned out, i agree with the above, ruined my form, its taken months to correct. however, it did its purpose during rehab.


I don't :wink:


If I ever did...I'd kick my own ass....


I personally love smith machine squats.

I do not squat without it.

I think my leg development is ok.

I basically exclusively used smith machine squats & DB walking lunges until about 3 months ago.

Pic is from like december. Was still squatting using the smith machine weekly.


I do them after normal squats.. Super close stance feet about 6 inches apart, use oly shoes, but i used to put a plate on my heels, go down (ATG) pause and up. I feel this is really improving my quad sweep, better so then normal squats. I also kind of lean on the bar, not so much stand under like i see a lot of people do.


If you are a bodybuilder the squat method does not really mater; whatever works. I use Smith squats and I think they work better at hitting the quads than the back squat.


Jouko Ahola worlds strongest man 97 and 99 did smith front squats in his training DVD...he also did leg presses...

seems to work for him...


i understand what you are saying jCaesar88, i just find it really burns and i go much deeper than the animation shows im interested in trying the dumbell method seems like it would make more sense and be more effective