I have recently begun weight training and for the most part have been progressing well. However,I am currently limited in choice of equipment which can be used for squats. The area in which I workout lacks a Squat/power rack and I am forced to improvise on a smith machine . I have found the smith machine to be very unnatural in its range of motion, especially for someone my height (6'4).
I now realise that I need access to a Squat/Power rack and I will be changing gyms in the next few months,hopefully to one with a Squat rack.
In the meantime I am wondering whether I should use the smith machine to squat or whether I should learn to front squat via cleaning the weight into position. Obviously the weight I can front squat would be limited by my ability to clean it into position,but I feel that the range of motion is far better then the smith .
Sorry about the long post.If anyone can provide insight as to whether I should opt for front bb or smith squats please post your opinions your input will greatly appreciated.
Problem is that you can probably squat far more than you can clean. (that's the case with me, anyway). If you do have plans of moving to a new gym, maybe use the Smith for now, or find some way of improvising. Hell, when I didn't have access to a squat rack, I built one out of 2x4 and used it at home--worked like a charm!
I'm 6'1 and can see how the smith could be a problem for a guy your height. I never had any problems using the smith for squats, but if it dosent feel right for you then don't do it. You could pre exhaust your quads with lunges or thigh extensions first, then do some front squats via cleans afterwords.
One thing i may suggest, that just may kick your butt, is something i learned from Olympic Weightlifting training. I, myself, had a bit of trouble until I found a gym with a power rack, especially when i worked out at home. I would take a weight that i could comfortable clean and press, then, with weight held overhead, squat with the barbell. Took a LOT of effort and concentration, but it GREATLY improved my overall strength and gave me new confidence in my squats. Try it. If you have any questions, private message me.