THE SQUAT, part 2: Smith Machine
When compared with the ordinary Barbell Squat and Front Squat, the so called
Smith Squat may generate somewhat less overall benefit. However, it provides
advantages, especially in respect to the protection of knee joints and lower
Also, the Smith Squat generally
for more control over the movement, as the bar does not need to be balanced
by the athlete himself, but just slides up and down vertically along the
guide rods of the machine. Therefore it is easy to stop the descent at a certain
level, which is generally when the upper thighs are about parallel to the
It is this particular feature of the Smith Machine, which allows
for placing the feet forward as opposed to straight underneath the bar, so
that during the execution of the Smith Squat the knees never extend beyond
the athlete's toes. It goes without saying that the knees must always be
kept in line with the toes throughout the entire movement. During the descent
of the bar the
lower back must stay perfectly rigid and stable (arched) with the hips remaining
under the bar . This will keep the stress on the lumbar spine to a minimum.
Allowing the butt to stick out behind during the descent would bring the back
into play and diminish the benefits of the exercise, while increasing the
danger of injury.
The Smith Machine allows for a variety of different squat versions. While
the foot placement for the basic version of the Smith Squat is about shoulder-width
apart, placing the feet wider apart with toes and knees pointing out towards
the sides will shift the focus of the exercise towards the inner thighs ( leg
Performing the Smith Squat keeping the feet back and going down deeper than
parallel to the floor, will emphasize the development
of the glutes.
Whatever version you may choose to perform, be careful not to lock out your
knees at the top. Also make sure that you avoid placing the bar too high on
the neck, but keep it rested low on your rear delts and traps. Last but not
least, always perform the movement looking straight ahead.