What’s So Bad About Squatting In A Smith Machine?

Today is a good day to ask ourselves – what’s so bad about squatting in a smith machine?



‘Pure lifters’ look at smith machine squatters as sissies who are afraid to do ‘real’ squats. Without a doubt there is some truth to this and usually fear of squatting is one of the reasons people use the smith machine – it seems safer than having a heavy barbell on your back that can move in all directions. This is usually caused by the large amount of disinformation lifters encounter when they start training. Magazines, phony natural bodybuilders and mad bro-scientists are to blame. They fill the heads of the newbies with all kind of garbage and as result you end up with lifting zombies who are afraid to do all the cool exercises. Truth be told in order to squat properly in the smith machine you need to learn how to squat with a free weight first. It’s more natural and learning to squat in the smith machine first is the equivalent to learning how to hack squat first. It makes no sense.

There is nothing scary about squatting. Just start light.


One of the main reason lifters do smith machine squats besides the global pussification that’s going on is to target the quads more directly. Back in the day the popular British bodybuilder Dorian Yates used to swear by smith machine squats and hacks. He thought regular squats were not targeting his legs enough.

The smith machine allows you to assume a position similar to the hack squat and as result there’s more stress on the quadriceps compared to a regular squat.

You can see how smith machine hack squats are done in the video below:


One of the main downsides of the smith machine is that it forces you to perform all exercises in a super straight line. This is not natural and the body does not operate as precise as a digital clock. That’s why people often experience back, neck and knee pain when training on the smith. To understand better what it’s all about consult the video below:

Conclusion: Smith machine squats still suck for the most part. Sure, you can use them to target your quads a little bit more but they don’t teach you as much as regular free weight squats.

One comment

  1. John Johnson

    I am 60 year man, and I have been doing smith machine squats in my basement gym, for over 20 years. I do them with my feet close together and in front of my body. Also my toes are pointed outward.

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