- Ditching free weights to use smith machine exercises like the smith machine squat or the smith machine split squat
- Mr Smith
- Target acquired
- Sit down!
Ditching free weights to use smith machine exercises like the smith machine squat or the smith machine split squat
When it comes to lifting it’s almost scary how many options there are. You’ve got free weights, bodyweight exercises, squat racks and more. But, with the right confidence levels and a little bit of knowledge using some of the most powerful equipment in the gym can definitely boost your game.
Now, there’s no right answer here…
It’s down to you.
While different methods present varying pros and cons the aim of the game is always the same – utilise tools to stimulate muscle growth. Oh, and feel fantastic every time you do.
But what is a smith machine workout and why am I setting up this entire intro to talk about it?
”Alongside the free weights and resistance machines there is a piece of equipment that you might be less familiar with. It’s called the Smith machine and it looks like a barbell attached to a supporting frame. Have you seen it? The Smith machine is designed to give you more support during barbell exercises as it uses a fixed ‘up and down’ movement. It doesn’t allow you to sway forward or back out of the alignment of the frame; making typical barbell exercises a little easier.”
Let’s find out what you can do with it.
The smith machine picture in this article, like all smith machines, helps you target the quads, glutes, and your core. Like the squat rack, this tool gives you big opportunities for big gains, through compound exercise design. Using the smith machine is multi-applicable too, through a variety of usage methods that target different areas of the body.
Let’s stick to the squat for now…
So how should you do it?
Metro: ”Resting the bar on your shoulders and traps, position your feet 3 to 4 inches in front of the bar. Standing position should be at a comfortable distance keeping your feet at least hip-width apart with your toes either straight on or pointing slightly outwards.”
After that starting instruction, keep your back straight, keep your core tight, and begging to sink your hips slowly. You’ll want to push your butt out here but make sure those hips are back until your thighs are at parallel position to the floor.
Next, keep your feet flat to the floor as you drive through your heels and push yourself back up to the start position.
And there you have it.
Make sure to manage risks with these exercises though as they can be pretty dangerous. If done incorrectly, you can cause back damage and other strains (or worse) so be careful. Don’t round your back, lift your heels off the floor, look up high (keep looking straight ahead) or collapse your knees inwards.
Is a smith machine bench press possible?
Absolutely, just make sure you’re not hogging it if the bench is free and people want to squat.
Are standing calf raises good for you?
If you want definition and strength in your calves then absolutely.
Is the free-weight bench press technique better than free-weight barbell squats?
It completely depends on the exercise, and body part you are wanting to target as they are different. Bench presses are mainly focused on the chest area whilst a free weight barbell squat is focused on your legs but more inclined to give a full body workout in comparison.