regular squat vs smith machine squat?

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    regular squat vs smith machine squat?

    Hi all, the gym i now have to train at doesnt have a squat rack so i have to use the smith machine. I love squating and its like a different exercise altogether and its taking some getting used to.Just wondering by not having to stabalize the weight ect how much less affective is it and how will my gains suffer?

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    Use the search option for a generic question like this. Even google will yield good results. Please use this forum for personal questions such as personalised training routines.
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    Just don't use the Smith machine to squat. Clean and jerk the weight onto your shoulders and then squat it or rack the weight on a bench or something.

    What kind of gym has no squat rack?

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    Quote Originally Posted by gtbmed View Post
    Just don't use the Smith machine to squat. Clean and jerk the weight onto your shoulders and then squat it or rack the weight on a bench or something.

    What kind of gym has no squat rack?
    I cant clean and jerk what I squat. Even one rep.

    If your gym has a bench rack that isn't attached to a seat, you could just do it off there. You'd have to start from an awkward position though.
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    Well, I would seriously consider changing gyms, or trying to go somewhere that has a power cage. You'll need it for so many thing.

    In the mean time, I'd just ditch squats and go with DB work. You can do DB bulgarian split squats, lunges, step ups, etc.

    Or, hell, why didn't I think of it, you don't need a cage to do all squats. What about hack squats? Zercher squats? (those can easily be performed off a bench press...that's what I used to do when the cage was busy) Gaz's little love interest the Jefferson squat?

    So many more possibilities to train your quads than racked squats.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gtbmed View Post
    Just don't use the Smith machine to squat. Clean and jerk the weight onto your shoulders and then squat it or rack the weight on a bench or something.

    What kind of gym has no squat rack?

    These pussy gyms. ^

    Agree, Smith Machine not good for squatting as it's not a natural movement.
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    Quote Originally Posted by EDD View Post
    Hi all, the gym i now have to train at doesnt have a squat rack so i have to use the smith machine. I love squating and its like a different exercise altogether and its taking some getting used to.Just wondering by not having to stabalize the weight ect how much less affective is it and how will my gains suffer?
    Smith machine is bad for any exercise (except calves..then it's God) because it forces your muscles to push or pull in a fixed plane of motion. This is especially bad with back-oriented movements like squats where your spine could potential pick up the slack of the load your carrying. With the smith, there's no leeway, no room to move to the body's natural paths.

    Plus, there's all these little muscles you don't see (what you may have been heard in gym talk referred to as the stabilizers) that are involved in free weight lifts. When you constantly train the muscles in fixed planes of motion those little helper muscles fail to develop. What's worse, those other visual muscles that DO get trained become strong -- stronger than the stabilizers. This is where you get muscular imbalances, and injury can happen very easily.

    A lot of guys injure their rotator cuffs because (at least I've noticed) most casual lifters tend to do most or all of their upper pushes on the smith or on machines in general, like bench or should press. The RC is one of those muscles I mentioned. When pressing in that fixed plane the RC is taken out of the equation. It comes weak relative to the neighboring delts.

    Take it from a guy who started lifting a year and half ago like a complete moron: free weight squats may feel weird for the first while, but soon you come to think why the hell wasn't I doing this all along. They feel more natural.

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    ironmagazineforums.com/training/54792-squat-machine-vs-free-weights-1rm.html

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    Quote Originally Posted by T_man View Post
    I cant clean and jerk what I squat. Even one rep.

    If your gym has a bench rack that isn't attached to a seat, you could just do it off there. You'd have to start from an awkward position though.
    Clean and jerk 70% of what you squat then. Still, it's better than doing them in the Smith.

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    I'm getting close to 50 and have had some knee surgeries. Smith squats are great for someone like me. I've actually seen a good amateur BBer and close friend put 3 inches on his legs in a year making Smith squats his primary leg movement. Of course he is hardcore in his training and goes up to 8 plates on a side on a pretty heavy duty machine. But still, the free squat is the king of leg builders and core strength.

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    In my opinion, no one should ever use the smith machine to do squats. You put a lot of unnecessary shearing forces on your knee joint. We don't move in straight lines, we move in arcs. I'd rather see someone do a leg press than a smith machine squat. Alternatively, you can do unilateral leg exercises or other squat variations. Do a front squat, just clean the bar into place first. Hell, I used to do back squats in my basement before I had a rack. I just clean and pressed the weight over my head to get it in place for the squats.

    Better yet, find a new gym. If they don't even have a single power cage it shouldn't be called a gym, it should be called a worthless pile of shit.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Gears View Post
    i use the smith for Bicep curls and walking lunges but thats it
    How do you manage walking lunges w/ a smith?

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    i know what ur sayin cowpimp its a bullshit gym but its temporary because of work commitments. its obviously no good for the knees as today an old ligament injury came back and fucked my workout.gettin the bar up any other way aint gonna happen cause of a torn rotator cuff.oh well deadlifts for breakfast

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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Gears View Post
    i use the smith for Bicep curls and walking lunges but thats it

    can you come to my gym do some walking lunges with the smith go straight out the door and come back in with a power rack?

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    Quote Originally Posted by sassy69 View Post
    How do you manage walking lunges w/ a smith?
    Disregard.......He's an ass~clown.

    Either that ^^^ or he picks the thing up and walks around with it.

    I feel confident in my original statement.


    While the Smith might interfere with proper form, I don't think it is entirely useless. I've used it for bench press in a pinch.
    I think, as Glycomann mentioned, it might not be so bad for someone who is more mature in years who isn't pushing an enormous amount of weight (unlike the friend he mentioned), or an ultralight beginner who has no spotter. Besides, EDD, or someone like him, might not have the luxury or financial means to go to another gym.
    Personally, I would find another alternative (lift) and just treat the Smith like many other "machines" in the gym...just know the limitations of the machine.

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    Hmmm... How can a machine that is known to kill your knees be of benefit to an OLDER lifter?

    Sassy, thank you - I read that and thought "wtf?"
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    ugh...smith machines! I agree I would rather a client jerk it and put it on their back, or do fronts with dumbbells or NO weight before squatting in that thing.

    And I agree, if you've had knee problems then you REALLY need to stay away from it. I've talked enough about the smith machine in other posts...it will give me a damn aneurysm to do it again...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Built View Post
    Hmmm... How can a machine that is known to kill your knees be of benefit to an OLDER lifter?


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    i don't get how it "kills your knees". i do all my squats on a smith and have never had any problems. granted, i don't get crazy with the weight (i'm old) and i've never had knee problems of any kind to come back and haunt me. i like it though.

    once i have the bar on my shoulders, i take about a 1/2 step forwards. that actually puts me in a slightly leaning back position. such that i would fall backwards if not on the smith. it feels a little weird, but as soon as i start my squatting motion, my back and everything falls into perfect alignment and gives me a very natural feeling through the entire squat. it also allows me to squat much deeper without bending me forwards.

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    Quote Originally Posted by klc9100 View Post
    i don't get how it "kills your knees". i do all my squats on a smith and have never had any problems. granted, i don't get crazy with the weight (i'm old) and i've never had knee problems of any kind to come back and haunt me. i like it though.
    I went over this already. There are increased shearing forces on your knee joint. Now, this doesn't guarantee that everyone will develop knee problems in their life time. It also doesn't mean you still couldn't develop them later. Furthermore, we have no idea what your depth is like, how frequently you do them, what kind of volume you work with, if you do any other leg work, if you have a history of knee problems, how strong you are, etc. Basically, we don't know shit about you, and even if we did, n=1, so sorry to say your individual anecdotal account doesn't mean anything. Biomechanics dictates that the smith machine sucks monkey cock for squatting.


    once i have the bar on my shoulders, i take about a 1/2 step forwards. that actually puts me in a slightly leaning back position. such that i would fall backwards if not on the smith. it feels a little weird, but as soon as i start my squatting motion, my back and everything falls into perfect alignment and gives me a very natural feeling through the entire squat. it also allows me to squat much deeper without bending me forwards.
    Maybe your spinal position in isolation is in perfect alignment, but it's not possible for your hips, knees, and ankles to be in a perfect position when doing a smith machine squat. Also, the fact that you don't bend forward at all is one of the primary reasons for increased shearing forces on the knee joint. The lever is acting almost entirely on the knee joint because your center of mass is unnaturally shifted way posteriorly.

    Perhaps it only feels "natural" because you have failed to address your mobility deficits. As such, going into somewhat of a deep squat without a machine to buttress your torso against feels unnatural, when in fact, squatting deep is a very natural movement.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CowPimp View Post
    I went over this already. There are increased shearing forces on your knee joint. Now, this doesn't guarantee that everyone will develop knee problems in their life time. It also doesn't mean you still couldn't develop them later. Furthermore, we have no idea what your depth is like, how frequently you do them, what kind of volume you work with, if you do any other leg work, if you have a history of knee problems, how strong you are, etc. Basically, we don't know shit about you, and even if we did, n=1, so sorry to say your individual anecdotal account doesn't mean anything. Biomechanics dictates that the smith machine sucks monkey cock for squatting.
    whatever man, i'm not talking about donkey dicks, biomechanics, ect. i'm simply sharing my personal experience with the smith machine at my gym, which is the only option i have for doing squats.

    you're right though, you don't know shit about me, so why are you being an asshole to me?

    i thought this was a discussion board. i was just trying to discuss, dude. i wasn't saying you were wrong or anything. damn, i'm sorry

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    Quote Originally Posted by klc9100 View Post
    whatever man, i'm not talking about donkey dicks, biomechanics, ect. i'm simply sharing my personal experience with the smith machine at my gym, which is the only option i have for doing squats.

    you're right though, you don't know shit about me, so why are you being an asshole to me?

    i thought this was a discussion board. i was just trying to discuss, dude. i wasn't saying you were wrong or anything. damn, i'm sorry
    I didn't intend to be an asshole. I am just often curt with my responses. Sometimes it rubs people the wrong way, so sorry about that.

    Also, I offered up some other options for you to get your leg work in. There are usually other options. I would suggest giving them a try.
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    Why is it your only option for squats? No power rack? No olympic barbells to just do front squats with? No heavy DBs/kettlebells to do goblet squats with?

    No space to do pistols? (1 legged squats - you really don't need weight for that, trust me)
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    Quote Originally Posted by CowPimp View Post
    I didn't intend to be an asshole. I am just often curt with my responses. Sometimes it rubs people the wrong way, so sorry about that.

    Also, I offered up some other options for you to get your leg work in. There are usually other options. I would suggest giving them a try.
    it's all good. i will be researching a few of the other types of squats you mentioned before it's leg day next week.

    Quote Originally Posted by danzik17 View Post
    Why is it your only option for squats? No power rack? No olympic barbells to just do front squats with? No heavy DBs/kettlebells to do goblet squats with?

    No space to do pistols? (1 legged squats - you really don't need weight for that, trust me)
    no, this gym doesn't have much. it's small. the only reason i go there is because it's literally 1 mile from my house, so it's very convenient. because of time restraints (job, kids, homework, cooking, cleaning, laundry, ect. - i'm a single parent) i simply can't make it to a "real gym". yes, i'm a man, but i have custody of my 2 kids (14 & 10). the closest "big" gym is 20 minutes away.

    i just do the best i can with what i have to work with. this is a little 24hr gym, and i guess they don't have stuff in there that you could hurt/kill yourself with, if you were in there alone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by klc9100 View Post
    yes, i'm a man, but i have custody of my 2 kids (14 & 10). the closest "big" gym is 20 minutes away.
    Good for you. That must be quite a handful.

    i just do the best i can with what i have to work with. this is a little 24hr gym, and i guess they don't have stuff in there that you could hurt/kill yourself with, if you were in there alone.
    That's all you can do....just get creative with what you have.

    And, while I understand you are (relatively) new here, I think its important to understand how easy it is to misinterpret the tone of some folk's responses....Mods included. You have to understand that these guys (and gals) field the same questions regularly, and while you may not get that warm fuzzy feeling from their advice, they are usually on point. But, like you said....It's all good.

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    Quote Originally Posted by klc9100 View Post
    i just do the best i can with what i have to work with. this is a little 24hr gym, and i guess they don't have stuff in there that you could hurt/kill yourself with, if you were in there alone.
    I totally get that. In addition to what I said too, a lot of machine movements are not necessarily a bad thing. Some people are so anti-machine as to be ridiculous. I think they have their uses, but the majority of work you do with any given movement pattern should be done with free weights in my opinion. So if you throw in smith squats periodically it's okay, but I would just recommend trying to avoid doing that all the time.

    With that said, we had a very knowledgeable member here who was a badass. He squatted big boy weights on the smith machine regularly and didn't see to have issues. At the same time though, part of his reason for it was his strict HIT training programs, where safety can potentially be an issue with some freeweight exercises.
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    Hack Squats are killer if you dont have access to a squat rack. I lift at home and dont have much room so my only option is hack squats. You also wont need a rack and you wont need any spotter for these.

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    Alright, I've been silent long enough. BULLSHIT!!! The Smith machine is NOT the dreaded knee/back destroyer that it's claimed to be. The only reason I've heard so far is that it forces you to move in a single plane which isn't natural, therefore it MUST be bad. Again I say BULLSHIT. If that were the case then the linear leg press would be getting lambasted every bit as much as the Smith machine.

    As a matter of fact, in some cases the Smith is superior to regular squats. For people with little or no Achilles flexibility, it allows them to place their feet a bit forward of the bar, keep all the weight on their heels. This isolates the quads and takes stress off the knees.

    Are Smith machines better than free weight squats? Of course not but, that doesn't make them bad.
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    Quote Originally Posted by klc9100 View Post
    i don't get how it "kills your knees". i do all my squats on a smith and have never had any problems. granted, i don't get crazy with the weight (i'm old) and i've never had knee problems of any kind to come back and haunt me. i like it though.
    With all due respect, using this logic, I also know a few people who were on Meth and or Crack...they recovered and now lead pretty normal lives. I would, however, still caution EXTREEEEEEMELY HEAVILY about not using Crack or Meth.



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    Quote Originally Posted by T_man View Post
    Use the search option for a generic question like this. Even google will yield good results. Please use this forum for personal questions such as personalised training routines.
    WTF you goin on about

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