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  1. #1
    Registered User stephaniegalea's Avatar
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    Smith machine squat

    Hi,

    Wanted advice on best way of performing squats with a smith machine. I see people perform squats with their legs way forward such that their back is perfectly straight (slide against the wall kind of thing). I normally perform them as I would perform a normal back barbell squat (with slightly less depth as I feel smith machine doesn’t feel comfortable for deep squats).

    Wanted your opinion of which is lost effective way to perform squat machine squat i.e forward with legs or normal stance. Also please consider I use smith machine because I just find it friendlier for the knees compared to back barbell squats.

    Thanks in advance!
    Stephanie
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  2. #2
    Moderator SuffolkPunch's Avatar
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    I think it's more likely to bother your knees so don't do it for that reason - if you feel intimidated by barbell squat, start with goblet squat or split squat first.

    If smith really is your only option, I've found that front squats seem to work better for me. With back squats, it either bothered my back or my knees depending on positioning.
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    Registered User stephaniegalea's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by SuffolkPunch View Post
    I think it's more likely to bother your knees so don't do it for that reason - if you feel intimidated by barbell squat, start with goblet squat or split squat first.

    If smith really is your only option, I've found that front squats seem to work better for me. With back squats, it either bothered my back or my knees depending on positioning.
    Agreed - I like to mix it up a little adding front squats too.

    thank you for your advice!
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    Registered User BeginnerGainz's Avatar
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    Feet forward squats will put the quads under greater tension.

    Front squats with the Smith machine are great since it takes the back out of the movement.

    Both are good options for building size and strength in the legs.

    I wouldn’t try to replicate a barbell squat with the Smith machine though, I’d choose one of the above and take advantage of its unique patterning.
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    Registered User Garage Rat's Avatar
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    Depends what your goal is with them.
    They certainly take out the balance factor which helps focus more on quads.
    Most usually keep legs forward as mentioned,stance is usually where you are trying to target.
    Close stance is more outer quad(sweep)and wide ballet style toes more outward hit inner quad and the medialus around the inside knee area.
    Both of these are usually done with upper body straight up or feet slightly forward.
    That being said the hack squat machine does pretty much the same thing if you have on available.
    The nice thing with at the hack is it supports the back with a pad.
    Good luck.
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    Registered User BeginnerGainz's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Garage Rat View Post
    Depends what your goal is with them.
    They certainly take out the balance factor which helps focus more on quads.
    Most usually keep legs forward as mentioned,stance is usually where you are trying to target.
    Close stance is more outer quad(sweep)and wide ballet style toes more outward hit inner quad and the medialus around the inside knee area.
    Both of these are usually done with upper body straight up or feet slightly forward.
    That being said the hack squat machine does pretty much the same thing if you have on available.
    The nice thing with at the hack is it supports the back with a pad.
    Good luck.
    Like he said, if you have a hack sled squat machine, use it instead of the Smith machine.
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    Originally Posted by stephaniegalea View Post
    Hi,

    Wanted advice on best way of performing squats with a smith machine. I see people perform squats with their legs way forward such that their back is perfectly straight (slide against the wall kind of thing). I normally perform them as I would perform a normal back barbell squat (with slightly less depth as I feel smith machine doesn’t feel comfortable for deep squats).

    Wanted your opinion of which is lost effective way to perform squat machine squat i.e forward with legs or normal stance. Also please consider I use smith machine because I just find it friendlier for the knees compared to back barbell squats.

    Thanks in advance!
    Stephanie
    Some people like me have knee pain and back pain with stupidly light loads on smith machines while doing perfectly fine with barbell squat. You should try both and keep what you feel is best for you.
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    Emperor of Antarctica JoshLV's Avatar
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    By far my favorite quad developer.
    I keep a comfortable stance that’s slightly narrow and not too far forward. Almost like a normal bb squat. Then control the weight down by pushing my knees forward. Smith squats can blow your legs up because it’s easy to solely focus on the flexing of the quads.
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  9. #9
    Registered User NomadNA's Avatar
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    John Meadows isn't my favorite Guru but my favorite guru's respect and defer to him alot. So he's a valid data point. He says legs out in front on SM.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKJoIWiBwkA

    RP, who's articles I'm starting to listen to more, also confirms feet forward. They discuss what's too far forward though, which can be equally bad.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fEuYM-miK5U

    As a contrasting data point, I did see an interview recently with a worlds strongest man athlete who said he does SM with regular stance. Caveats to his advice, are he's an athlete not a coach or PT. Also he started the video by talking about his terrible knee pain... not the most encouraging but he was obviously very successful in his field. Sorry no link to that interview.


    If you're having knee pain on your regular squat, you might want to consider trying to diagnose it rather than work around it. Here are some random shots in the dark that might help.

    1. Knees should point roughly same direction as your toes (slightly out). If your toes are in and your knees are out (or vice versa) that can cause pain
    2. Make sure your weight is equally distributed (midfoot) through the full range of motion. If you're on your toes to much that can cause knee pain.
    3. Are you going to low? If you go past your ankle mobility it'll can pull you onto your toes which is bad. Solution, don't go as low (hopefully you can still get to parrallel).
    4. What kind of shoes are you wearing. Barefoot or a zero drop/low cushion shoe can help you better gauge if the weight is on your midfoot. I do like a heel raise for other goals/problems.
    5. Double check your bar path and overall form.


    If you're uncomfortable with barbells for whatever reason, you can try any of the following alternatives instead of SM: Goblet squats, bulgarian split squats, walking lunges, plyometrics, wall balls. They'll have different affects on the body, but contribute to a common foundation. Depending on your objectives this list will have better full body carry over to the squat than a SM. If you just want quads, the leg press is king for the rectus femoris and not bad for the others.
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