- Target Muscle Group
- Exercise TypeStrength
- Equipment RequiredMachine
- Force TypePush (Bilateral)
- Experience LevelBeginner
- Secondary Muscles
Abs, Adductors, Calves, Glutes, Hamstrings, Lower Back
Smith Machine Squat Overview
The Smith machine squat is a variation of the squat and an exercise used to build the muscles of the legs. In particular, the Smith machine squat will place a lot of emphasis on the quads.
Utilizing a Smith machine will ensure the bar path remains in a fixed position, eliminating some of the need to stabilize during the exercise.
Smith Machine Squat Instructions
- Position the bar just below shoulder level and adjust the safety stops right above knee height.
- Place your pinkies on the smooth ring of the barbell.
- Get under the bar and position at the base of your traps looking straight ahead.
- Unrack the bar by rotating your wrists to remove the safety hooks.
- Take a deep breath and keep your elbows in line with your torso.
- Descend by simultaneously pushing the hips back and bending the knees.
- Once your thighs reach parallel with the floor, reverse the movement by driving your feet into the floor and flexing your quads.
- Finish the lift by exhaling as you fully extend the hips and knees.
Smith Machine Squat Tips
- Low bar will not work well with smith machine squats due to the completely vertical bar path.
- Toe angle is highly individual - experiment to see what feels best for you.
- Experiment with a “false” (i.e. thumbless) grip as this helps to eliminate elbow and wrist issues in some folks.
- Drive through the whole foot - you want 3 points of contact: big toe, little toe, and heel.
- Imagine you’re trying to drop your back pockets straight towards your heels. Down, not back.
- Some forward translation of the knees over the toes is alright provided that the knees don’t deviate excessively inward or outward. Those with longer femurs will have to allow their knees to come farther forward if they want to remain upright.
- Drive your traps into the bar and try to squeeze your elbows in towards your body as you reverse the movement out of the hole.
- Neck position is highly individual as well - some prefer a neutral neck position (i.e. keeping the chin tucked throughout the lift) while others do well with looking straight ahead. Experiment with each and see which one works best for your anatomy.
- Don’t push the knees out excessively but ensure they track roughly over or slightly outside the 2nd toe.