Smith Machine Squat: Variations, How-To, Variations, Alternatives
Smith machine is a strength machine for pumping a large number of muscles throughout the body. It is available in almost every gym. Someone considers it too primitive due to the motionless plane and non-functional due to the fact that it does not build abs. But others build buttocks and legs.
The machine is suitable for performing a variety of exercises, but the most popular squats in Smith machine, which correct the figure, and allow you to lose weight, and build muscle.
Features of smith machine squat
It is important to understand that the squats in Smith machine are primarily a load on the muscles. Accordingly, the result will be their growth and increase in volume. In particular, the emphasis is on the buttocks, quadriceps, and the back surface of the hips. Due to the neck, the forearms also work. Therefore, do not be surprised after a week of an impressive increase in muscle mass in these parts of the body.
This exercise is primarily chosen by male bodybuilders for pumping quadriceps, and women for buttocks. The latter especially benefit, since within a month the figure begins to change, beautiful reliefs appear.
For the purpose of losing weight, they are used only as an additional part of the program. To carry them out, considerable efforts are always required, which are always accompanied by burning calories, the effectiveness can be improved by performing them in combination with other exercises, diet and massage .
History of creation. In fact, Smith machine was created by Jack Lalane, an American actor who was interested in bodybuilding. However, the manager of the gym, where the new machine was installed, was quick. He supplemented the model with improvements and launched into mass production. The result – it got his name.
Smith machine squats execution technique
Squats in Smith machine can be different. But if we take classic version, then the execution technique is following:
- Always start by stretching and warming up the muscles of your legs and back.
- Put the bar on the machine to the desired level so that you do not have to stand on your toes or sit under the barbell.
- You can approach from different angles. Try both options and choose the best one. Athletes most often stand up to the outside, with their backs to the bar.
- To stand under the bar so that it falls on the trapezoid (the section of the back between the neck and shoulder blades).
- Take the barbell with a comfortable grip.
- Raise your elbows up, to reduce the shoulder blades as much as possible. Feel that the weight rests on the muscles between the shoulder blades. It should not fall on the neck or vertebrae.
- Feet put out of the bar.
- Bend the lower back, slightly push the pelvis back.
- Crank the bar, remove from the safety brackets.
- In the squat, the knees should not extend beyond the toes. The pelvis is retracted, the body leans forward slightly.
- Sit down so that your hips form a parallel with the floor.
- Linger in this position for a second.
- On exhalation, return to the starting position.
If the squatting technique in Smith machine is mastered and performed flawlessly, a quick muscle boost and reducing the risk of injury to zero will be a nice bonus.
Smith machine exercises variations
Depending on what exactly you want to pump more, this or that exercise is chosen.
Smith machine knee squat technique
Squats on knees in Smith are rarely used. Most often – powerlifters and weightlifters. They give a load at an unusual angle and affect such parts of the body that everyone usually forgets about. The buttocks and hips, semi-membranous and semi-tendon muscles are well worked out.
- Kneel so that they are apart slightly wider than shoulders.
- Legs are parallel to each other.
- Toes rest firmly on the floor.
- Bend your back slightly.
- Put the bar on the trapezius muscles.
- Lower until the buttocks touch the calves. In this position, you need to feel what an excellent stretching of the buttocks gives squats from the knees.
- Stand up.
- In the upper position, a pause of 3-5 seconds is allowed.
Smith machine front squat form and technique
One of the varieties of classical exercises in Smith machine is front squats, when the barbell is held not on the shoulders, but on the chest. They work out the abs, lower back and hips; reduce the load on the spine and knees; Develop balance and accelerate fat burning.
- Cross your arms, place a bar on them. The elbows should be parallel to the ground.
- Legs at shoulder level, toes at 45 °.
- Strain the abs.
- Keeping your back straight, begin to squat slowly, until the thigh becomes parallel to the floor.
- Perform a heel push to return to the starting position.
- It is believed that front squat is more effective than classical one, with a barbell on the shoulders. They reduce the risk of injury and work better on the hips and buttocks.
Smith machine exercises with different position of legs
It is very important how the legs will be placed, as this distributes the load between the muscles.
- classic variation pumps the buttocks and hips;
- wide squats (sumo), when the feet are far apart – the inner surface of hips;
- exercise with a narrow legs stance – the outer surface of the hips;
- high setting of the feet – buttocks, and back of the hips.
Squats are especially difficult when you need to put your legs together – this increases the load not only on the outer surface of the hips, but also on the knee joints.
Bulgarian split squat technique
In Smith machine you can perform the famous Bulgarian squats on one leg (the second at this time is fixed on a hill), on which the whole load is concentrated.
- Remove the bar from the machine, place it on the trapezius muscles.
- Place one leg on a bench (only the toe or the whole foot – it does not matter).
- Put the second one step forward.
- Slowly lunge, directing all the load on the leg in front.
- Return to starting position.
- Do the same with the other leg.
You do not need to combine different versions of squats in the Smith machine in one program, planning to pump all the muscles at once. This will result in excessive stress and a complete loss of strength. Set a goal – choose the setting of the legs – train according to the chosen scheme – achieve the desired result.
It is interesting. The creator of Smith machine, Jack Lalane, was a bodybuilder, nutritionist, naturopath, led a healthy lifestyle. He claimed that nutritional supplements are harmful. He died in 2011 at the age of 96.
Squats on Smith machine for women
For women, squats in Smith are good for pumping buttocks. Here’s what trainers recommend:
- Do not do classic squats with standard leg stance, because there is always a risk of pumping the hips, but at the same time not increasing the volume of the buttocks at all;
- give preference to the high position of the feet, which will work more on glutes;
- Do not load the bar with weight: for about a month, exercise with an empty barbell to master the technique of exercise is a recommendation for beginners;
- weight gain should occur gradually: add 2-3 kg per week, the maximum limit is 10 kg;
- class routine: three times a week, 10 repetitions, 3 sets.
Undoubtedly, squats in Smith are very attractive for women, as they give some of the best results for pumping buttocks. But you should not forget that there is always a risk of pumping hips. Click here if you want to know real anabolic steroids ratings. To reduce it, the correct technique is required. And preferably – under the supervision of a trainer.
Is it bad to squat on a smith machine: Advantages and disadvantages of Smith machines
Why are squats in Smith used by far not all athletes, despite their versatility? Along with the obvious advantages, this machine has disadvantages due to which it is bypassed.
- loads of various muscle groups;
- variety of exercises;
- you can shift the load on different parts of the legs, changing only the setting of the feet;
- ideal load for beginners;
- the ability to work without insurance;
- easy technique.
- Muscle stabilizers remain inactive;
- a fixed trajectory of movement in which the athlete is constrained;
- contraindications: problems with the musculoskeletal system, knee injuries, varicose veins, pregnancy, lactation.
Especially athletes are not happy with the fact of a one-joint training. That is, the knees work at full strength, and the hip joints and ankles remain inactive.
Smiths machine exercises recommendations
To perform the correct squat in Smith, it is not enough to study the technique – you still need to take into account the nuances that are usually told by experienced athletes and trainers. If you listen to them – the result can be obtained much faster.
- To prevent bruises on the back and not pushing too hard, use the circular bar linings that are found in all gyms.
- You can’t start training with squats in Smith machine. They must be performed with already well-warmed muscles.
- Knees should be turned forward: do not move them apart, but do not bring them inward.
- From the bottom point, go up, starting from the heels, not the middle of the foot.
- The entire foot during training should be glued to the floor.
- The gaze should be directed forward, and not under the feet.
- If you work with weights, the weightlifting belt will come in handy, it will protect against injuries and overstretching.
- Adhere to the technique of proper breathing: we lower ourselves on inspiration, rises on exhalation.
- Recommended training regimen: three times a week, up to 5 sets, up to 15 repetitions.
Feel free to ask how to do them correctly if you do not understand something or have doubts. Remember: not only successful muscle pumping, but also your safety depends on the accuracy of execution. Understand: you yourself can protect yourself from injuries.
What are Smith machine squat alternatives?
If for some reason you cannot work on Smith machine, this exercise has several alternatives, equally effective replacements with other squats:
- classic – with a barbell;
- on one leg;
- hack squats.
Deadlift and leg press are also suitable, especially for men for pumping quadriceps.
Why does my lower back hurt after squatting in Smith machine?
If the technique of the exercise is correct, the lower back will never hurt. If this happens, most likely you are making mistakes:
- compensate for excessive weight of the bar with a load on the lower back;
- bend forward more than necessary;
- stand up due to the muscles of the back, and not the legs;
- tear off the feet from the floor while lifting from the squat;
- constantly look at your feet;
- round your back.
If you correctly and regularly perform squats in Smith machine, after 2 weeks you can feel how the muscles of the buttocks, calves, arms, quadriceps are filled with pleasant strength and increase in volume. Do you want to pump your ass and make it as delicious as possible? Then this exercise is exactly what you need. And since it requires an incredible amount of power, during the workout you will lose enough calories, which will entail losing weight.