Things You Should Know When Doing Squat On A Smith Machine
Full body compound exercises like the squats are an effective way in gaining overall muscle strength. Using heavy weights, it works more muscle than more popular exercises such as the bench press. However, one of the most important things when doing a squat is maintaining proper body posture and angle so that it will take out the best benefit to your muscles such as the glutes and the quads. This is where Smith Machine inserts. It is one of the most helpful tools in building perfect body posture for squats. So if you are performing the exercise for the first time, you might as well consider doing it through the Smith Machine.
Here are the things you should know when doing squats on a smith machine:
1. There is a difference between a Free Squat vs Smith Machine-Assisted Squat
In order to do a Smith Machine-Assisted Squat, you must stand in the Smith Machine with a shoulder-width stance and rest the bar on your lower trapezius and rear shoulders. Grasp the bar with a wide, evenly spaced grip and unrack the weight by pushing up and twisting the hooks off their resting post. Keeping your chest high, lean your head forward and maintain a good arch in your back. Begin the movement via bending your knees and hips until your thighs become parallel to the floor. Through driving your heels and pressing your hips forward, reverse the motion back and forth to the starting position. You must not forget that as you drive the weight, you exhale. Do not lock your knees. Repeat the movement until you have completed your desired number of reps. Re-rack the bar by twisting the hooks and putting it back on their post.
With this procedure, there is already a big difference between the barbell free squat and the Smith Machine Squat. There is a difference between how far you can bring your feet in front of you in the Smith Machine while with the barbell free squat you are only allowed with one position which is feet directly under the bar. The Smith Machine follows a fixed path, hence there is no need to balance it, allowing you to bring your feet to various points. With this, there is a significant increase in muscle strength because there is reduced need for balance, thus permitting a focused effort on muscles to drive the bar straight up.
2. It will help you perfect your Squat technique
Because Smith Machines are made to have safety systems, it aids people to do exercises without a spotter. This is beneficial especially if you are a beginner in doing muscle exercises such as the squats. You do not need a training partner or a personal trainer to assist you when doing your squats because with the Smith Machine you can do it on your own. Since, the bar in the Smith Machine is guided during movement, performing a squat in the Smith Machine is good for those starting out the exercises. It will allow you to add more weight along the way as opposed to doing the normal squats. More than that, as stated above, even if there is difference between the free squat and Smith Machine Squat, the latter will help you perfect the technique because it requires less stabilization than normal squats, allowing you to improve your body posture and stance to make sure your muscles get the most benefit out of the exercise.
3. It lessens your risk for injury
Because the bar moves in a fixed path along guide rods, you have a more stabilized movement and reduced the need for balance. With this, it helps you concentrate on driving up with your quads and on your body posture, making sure you worry less about drifting forward or backward. With this, there is a sense of mental safety and comfort so you can perform the exercise better. More than that, the Smith Machine has safety catches which can be adjusted at the bottom. It also has a hook system which you are given the benefit of re-racking the bar with a simple flick of the wrist at any point during the exercise when the weight on your shoulders becomes too heavy to carry or there is an unfortunate event such as sudden muscle strains. These safety features lessen the risk of injury when performing the exercise. In addition to that, as stated above, the Smith Machine allows you to squat with your feet out in front and with a variety of other body positions. This permits users to change muscle patterns when there is too much increased stress on specific muscles hence reducing the stress to specific joints and minimizing the risk of injury.
Squat is one of the most basic exercises yet holds important function for overall leg and other muscles development. Keeping enough weight and proper posture are the key elements in performing safe and effective squat exercises. Hence, if you are still a beginner in doing the exercise, you can do it with the Smith Machine. In this way, you can perfect your squat technique without the fear of being injured. It is a good tool in helping you start your squat exercises for there is no need for a personal trainer or training partner to do it. More than that, there is an increased concentration in muscle development because there is no need to focus on balance.
So if you thought that squatting is hard, it is highly suggested that you try doing the Smith Machine squat and you will be astonished by the great differences in your squat technique and muscle strength.
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2. Cotterman, M. L., et al. 2005. Comparison of muscle force production using the Smith machine and free weights for bench press and squat exercises. J. Str. Cond. Res. 19(1):169-76
3. Nunley, K. 2011. Effectiveness of Smith Machine Squats. Retrieved from: https://www.sportsrec.com/286800-effectiveness-of-smith-machine-squats.html. Retrieved on 15 May 202
4. International Fitness Professional Association. 2016. Free Weight Squat vs Smith Machine Squat. Retrieved from: https://ifpa-fitness.com/about-us/ask-dr-bell/free-weight-squat-vs-smith-machine-squat/. Retrieved on 15 May 2020.
5. Trifocus Fitness Academy. 2016. Why Smith Machine Squats Are The Perfect Building Blocks For Squats. Retrieved from: https://www.trifocusfitnessacademy.co.za/personal-fitness-training-blog/smith-machine-squats/. Retrieved on 15 May 2020.