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How To Do Smith Machine Squats

The Smith machine is an excellent piece of equipment on which to try a bunch of different strength workouts. Amongst these is the squat. Today, we want to go over how to do Smith machine squats. So, let’s get into that now.

How To Do Smith Machine Squats

Smith machine squats are great if you are working out alone without a spotter, or are learning how to squat with weight across your back. 

1 | Adjust the bar

When starting with Smith machine squats, you will want to make sure that the bar is at your shoulder height. You will want the bar to be high enough that it lays at your shoulders, but low enough that you can slightly lift it to “unlock” the bar. 

2| Add Weight

If you are new to Smith machine squats, we recommend starting small. If you are used to using a squat rack or have not squatted before, you will need to get used to doing this workout with proper form. So, load the bar equally on each side with a small amount of weight, lock it on, and see how it feels. 

3| Place the Pad

Having a bar lay across your back can make your trapezius uncomfortable at first. Locate the nearest bar pad and wrap it around the center of the bar where your neck will be. 

4 | Get into position

Stand in such a way that the bar is lying across your shoulders and lightly resting on the back of your neck. Place your hands wide on the bar, and, take your legs hip-distance apart, and point both of your feet forward as if they are mirror images of one another to finish your stance. You will play with this as you learn, and adjust to your most comfortable starting position. 

5| Squat 

Now is the fun part. Engage your core, sit back on your heels, and begin to squat down. You want to make sure that you are pushing your glutes back and keeping a firm stance. Come down to 90-degrees, ensuring that your knees don’t go over your toes. When you go down to 90-degrees (or as far as you can make it), keep a strong core and push back up into the starting position. Then repeat 10-15 times. 

Mistakes to Avoid

1| Forgetting to lock the weight back into place

One of the main benefits of using the Smith machine for squats is that you can lock the weight back in at any time. So, if you are coming to the gym alone and don’t have a spotter, it’s a great way to be able to work on those glutes. However, you must remember to lock the bar at the end of your set or when you need a rest. If not, the bar will still fall. So, before you begin your first squat, get comfortable with the locking and unlocking of the bar, and then remember to do so when you are finished! 

2| Misaligning feet

If one foot is forward and the other is back, or if one foot jets out to the side and the other is straight forward, you will be susceptible to injury. So, as always, be very mindful of form. Make sure that your feet are aligned in a strong stance to lay the foundation for a perfect squat. 

3 | Not Paying Attention to Form

If you are learning to squat in a Smith machine and hope to take that knowledge over to your other squat workouts, you need to have proper form. Proper form is essential in every single workout to avoid injury. Take the time to make sure that your body is aligned correctly, that you are engaging your core when you do your squat, and that nothing feels “off.” If you feel like something doesn’t feel right, stop. Readjust. Ask for help. Look up advice. Our greatest hope is that you get through all of your workouts injury-free and with beautiful form. 

Remember when taking your squats off of the Smith machine and doing them in any other way that the form will be different. We must always remind ourselves to correct our form for the specific workout at hand, whether that be a Smith machine squat, bodyweight squat, or a free weight squat.

We have Smith machines at all of our locations. So, stop by and give this fantastic workout a try. We cannot wait to meet you!

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