Within the health world, the Smith machine generally is a sensitive topic and is commonly seen as some type of dishonest. Let’s put that to relaxation proper now.

That remark is just ignorant and outdated. Many advantages associate with the Smith machine, and there’s a cause it has been round for over 70 years and has been a favourite of bodybuilders throughout that point. 

If used and programmed accurately, the Smith machine can present severe muscle-building stimulus in your leg exercises. Nevertheless it will get unfairly dissed, and I would prefer to put an finish to that. It is vital to keep in mind that we aren’t arguing about what the most effective piece of apparatus of all time is.

As a substitute, we’re going in-depth on easy methods to get a implausible Smith machine leg exercise and the way it can differ from free weights. Prepared to make use of the Smith machine to construct severe leg muscular tissues? Let’s go!


The Smith machine is an influence rack with a barbell on vertical rails that help like a spotter. The rack makes use of a guided rod system that places the bar on a set path. It was created by health pioneer Jack LaLanne and made well-known by Rudy Smith therefore the identify. 

A number of variations of a Smith machine have totally different paths, together with one straight up and down, one on a slight angle, and one utilizing horizontal and vertical helps. The final choice is a favourite, because it permits for a extra intensive pure vary of movement. Nonetheless, the most typical variation in business gyms might be both the straight up and down choice or fastened on a slight angle. 

The bar is hooked up to security hooks with stoppers alongside the observe to make sure you can safely rack the burden. You too can arrange security pins, just like a daily squat rack, that stops the bar from going under a predetermined top. 

When evaluating the Smith machine vs squat rack, it is usually seen as extra of an unfunctional approach of coaching for the reason that built-in spotter help rack eliminates the necessity for stability. Nevertheless it does can help you focus solely on constructing muscle with out the necessity for a spotter. I am not arguing that it is the finest coaching type for each scenario, but it surely’s a device within the toolbox with a selected goal. 

Earlier than I’m going any additional, let’s get into the exercises themselves, as that is what you got here right here for! After the exercise, keep tuned as I focus on programming ideas, professionals and cons of utilizing a Smith machine, together with easy methods to carry out every train included in these routines.




Sissy squat



Hack Squat



Entrance squat



Leg Press



Barbell hip thrust



Entrance foot elevated cut up squat



Curtsy Lunge






Hip thrust



Romanian Deadlift



Single-leg Romanian deadlift



Bulgarian cut up squat huge stance



Again squat



Standing calf increase



Curtsy Lunge



When programming the Smith machine into your leg exercises, you continue to want to have a look at your programming as a complete.

Most individuals hit their legs twice per week, and right now we now have two totally Smith machine-based exercises that you could check out. Keep in mind, the Smith machine might be much less about purposeful motion and extra about isolating muscular tissues for enhancing muscular energy and hypertrophy.

Concerning quantity, you want to deal with it like a daily leg exercise. Relying in your coaching stage, anyplace from 15-22 working units might be customary for a decrease physique day. Since sure stabilizers do not give out as rapidly, you could possibly squeak out a couple of extra units than traditional however regulate your fatigue and the way you’re recovering.

You possibly can nonetheless combine in units, and rep ranges for various functions like another exercise. Power actions will nonetheless be round 2-4 units at 4-6 reps. Hypertrophy might be about 2-4 units at 8-10 reps. Muscular endurance might be roughly 2-4 units of 12-15+ reps. 

Let’s check out how one can finest use this device to develop the precise muscular tissues you are trying to goal.

The gluteus maximus is the largest of your butt muscular tissues and general largest muscle in your physique. It sits on the prime of the pelvic bone and connects to the femur.

In addition to being an Instagram-worthy bottom, its primary roles are hip extension and stabilizing the hips and knees whereas strolling, working, and leaping. It additionally externally rotates and abducts/adducts the hips.

The gluteus medius primarily covers the higher outdoors of your butt. It additionally begins on the hip and inserts into the femur. Regardless that it isn’t a main mirror muscle, it performs an important function in a number of actions:

  • Hip abduction to take your legs away out of your physique
  • Hip stability to maintain them stage within the frontal aircraft throughout any actions 
  • Aiding hip flexion/extension when the thigh comes up towards the torso
  • Aiding inside and exterior rotation of the hips 

    The glute minimus is far smaller and performs an analogous function in stabilizing the hips whereas strolling.

    The slab on the entrance of your thigh comprises 4 muscular tissues therefore the identify quadriceps. 

    The vastus lateralis situated on the outer thigh is the largest and works to increase the knee. It additionally offers and absorbs the drive from the influence of actions like strolling, working, or leaping. 

    The vastus medialis, the VMO muscle, is the teardrop-shaped muscle in the course of your thigh. It features to maintain the kneecap aligned and in addition assists with knee extension. 

    The vastus intermedius is the deepest quad muscle and help the whole group with knee extension. Lastly, the rectus femoris crosses the hip and knee joint, which helps with hip flexion and knee extension.

    The calves are composed of two muscular tissues, the gastrocnemius and soleus.

    The gastrocnemius is the most important of the 2, situated proper behind the knee and working right down to the heel. It has extra quick twitch muscle fibers, so it is chargeable for explosive actions like leaping and sprinting.

    The soleus additionally runs from behind the knee to the heel, but it surely’s primarily made up of gradual twitch endurance-based muscle fibers. Subsequently, it is the first muscle for strolling or long-distance working, and it is activated most when the knee is bent. 

    Curious as to why you must contemplate performing leg exercises on the Smith machine? Check out these advantages!

    Since your stabilizer muscular tissues can chill out and never take over, you possibly can really construct extra muscle utilizing the Smith machine than you’d merely utilizing a barbell1.

    For instance, the fixed pressure and elevated isolation in a motion like a Smith machine entrance squat will present a a lot larger coaching stimulus to the quads. And that larger coaching stimulus results in muscle hypertrophy!

    Typically, it is helpful to not fear about balancing the bar throughout compound actions.

    Newer lifters can acquire confidence in these actions by not worrying about wobbling in every single place and struggling to hook up with any muscular tissues. Even superior lifters can profit from not needing a spotter and feeling secure sufficient to push it a little bit additional on the burden they’re utilizing. 

    This level additionally makes it onto our cons record, however we are going to begin with the professional. The fastened vary of movement and built-in spotter require fewer stabilizer muscular tissues, they usually maintain you in a single particular vary of movement every time you do this elevate.

    Not solely can this enable you observe the identical type on every rep, but it surely additionally has the built-in spotter choice to make sure you can safely rack the burden anytime with out hurting your self. 

    As with every gear, it is vital to keep in mind that a Smith machine is only a device. It may possibly break up the monotony of at all times doing free weight workouts. Whether or not you’re simply switching it up out of boredom or try to really feel muscular tissues work higher throughout an train, it’s a nice choice. 

    As a result of your stabilizer muscular tissues aren’t working as exhausting to stability, your physique can elevate heavier weight on a Smith machine. Sure, a few of that comes from the added spotter-type characteristic that the rails present, however do not let the haters let you know this does not rely!

    Positive, there aren’t going to be any Smith machine powerlifting competitions, but it surely does have a spot in permitting you to make use of extra weight on actions, whether or not you are attempting to construct muscle or enhance energy. 

    After having learn by way of the advantages and seeing the exercises, it’s possible you’ll even be prepared so as to add a Smith machine to your property fitness center! If that’s the case, try these 7 Greatest Smith Machines For Residence Gyms!

    Loads of trainees have requested me if squat machines are unhealthy. My reply is a convincing no, however there are some downsides to it. This is why the Smith machine may not be best for you.

    When evaluating the Smith machine vs free weights, the Smith machine and its information rails do an important job of taking the stabilizers out of the equation, however this additionally means that you’re in a really fastened vary of movement.

    Limiting the vary could make sure workouts tougher as a consequence of anatomical variations in trainees. Some Smith machines transfer up, down, ahead, and again, however none would be the similar as a free weight train. 

    Because the Smith machine has much less freedom of motion, it forces you to observe these workouts in nearly the identical style each rep.

    This may be nice observe to lock in that motion, however it may possibly additionally result in overuse accidents. Particularly with the anatomy variations, in case you are performing a motion that’s uncomfortable for you repeatedly in the identical path, you’re prone to get injured. 

    The built-in information rails help throughout this motion, however there’s nonetheless a studying curve for racking the burden.

    When you’re close to your final rep and really feel you want to bail, turning your wrists to lock out the bar onto the rack could be difficult. Regardless that it should slide down the information rails, it nonetheless could be harmful with the prospect of damage. 

    When you solely use the Smith machine, you will miss out on the stabilizer advantages of free weights. Not solely will you be in an unnatural vary of movement, however you will not be difficult your physique to maneuver the way it was designed.

    Coaching that approach means larger muscular tissues which are all about trying good and never performing properly. 

    Some workouts work higher on the Smith machine than others. Listed below are the most effective leg-focused Smith machine workouts.

    Doing a Smith machine Romanian deadlift will construct severe beef in your hamstrings. Taking the soundness out of the equation means that you can really feel a deeper stretch and hamstring contraction, serving to construct the glutes and decrease again muscular tissues.

    Tips on how to do Smith Machine Romanian Deadlifts:

    • Transfer the Smith bar so it’s simply above knee stage, and set your stance simply outdoors, hip-width aside.
    • Seize the bar a couple of thumb’s size away out of your hips and unrack it
    • Pull your shoulders again and pack your lats earlier than starting to bend your knees and hinge on the waist.
    • Preserve your chest lifted as you slide the bar down your thighs and attain your hips again behind you. The bar ought to cease someplace at your shins under your knee, relying in your distinctive vary of movement. 
    • Squeeze your glutes and lengthen your hips ahead as you pull the bar again to the beginning place. 

      This single-leg lunge variation does a implausible job of focusing on the glutes, particularly the glute medius. Normally, this train is difficult to do with a bar as a consequence of its stability, however the Smith machine cures that drawback by permitting you to load it heavier whereas it’s below management. 

      Tips on how to do the Curtsy Lunge:

      • Transfer the bar excessive sufficient to the place you possibly can place it in your traps like a squat
      • Step below the bar and grip it together with your palms outdoors shoulder width and unrack it
      • Preserving the burden in your left foot, step again and behind together with your proper foot on an angle as if dropping right into a curtsy. The left leg ought to seem like a 90-degree angle on the backside place
      • Drive by way of your entrance foot and return to the standing place

      Smith Machine Curtsy Lunge Demo on YouTube

        The sissy squat leverages the Smith machine to isolate the quads like a body weight leg extension.

        Most gyms do not need an precise sissy squat machine, so it is a nice choice to focus on the rectus femoris, and it may be superset with different Smith machine leg workouts for a killer pump. 

        Tips on how to do the Sissy Squat:

        • Transfer the bar towards the underside of the rack in order that when standing, the bar is simply behind the highest of your calf muscle.
        • Stand with the again of your decrease legs resting towards the bar and face away from the smith machine.
        • Squat down whereas retaining your higher physique as upright as doable and specializing in retaining the strain all on the quads. 
        • Exhale, drive by way of your heels and midfoot, and return to the beginning place.  

        Sissy Squat Demo on YouTube

          This Smith machine squat variation will goal the glutes, quads, some hamstrings as an assister, and even the calves.

          Because the Smith machine retains you in a set vary of movement, your physique might be extra upright, putting further emphasis on the quads. You’ll nonetheless get some core activation although will probably be lower than a free-weight squat. 

          Tips on how to do the Again Squat:

          • Transfer the bar so it is excessive sufficient to relaxation in your traps and place your toes below the barbell simply outdoors the hip width. 
          • Unrack the burden and pause to make sure your core is braced. Bend at your hips and knees and start the descent as for those who had been sitting in a chair behind you.
          • Make certain to maintain your again flat and chest up, and permit your head to naturally transfer together with your higher again as an alternative of making an attempt to stare straight forward.
          • Squat till your legs are at a 90-degree angle to the ground, after which push by way of your heels to face again to the beginning place. 

            The entrance squat variation locations a good higher emphasis on the quads and barely will increase the core activation with the barbell in entrance of the physique.

            The rack’s help will guarantee your higher again and spinal erectors don’t give out earlier than your legs. It additionally makes the motion extra doable for folks with wrist points.

            Tips on how to do the Entrance Squat:

            • Set the bar at chest stage and relaxation it throughout your higher chest alongside your collarbone. Cross your arms in entrance of you to the alternative shoulder as in case you are making an X.
            • Unrack the bar and squat down whereas slowly retaining your higher physique vertical. 
            • Squat till you’re near parallel with the ground, after which stand again to the beginning place.

              This train is a extra vertical leg press choice to focus on the quads than the standard 45-degree angle leg press.

              A Smith machine leg press generally is a bit riskier, particularly unpacking, so use the security bars as your place to begin. In case your fitness center does not have these, it would be best to use a spotter. 

              Tips on how to do the Leg Press:

              • Arrange the bar to be round 3 toes from the bottom, and lay beneath it together with your legs straight up and mid-foot on it. 
              • Prolong your legs to unrack the bar, or guarantee it begins on the security pins in an unlocked place. This might be your finish vary of movement. 
              • Press your toes into the bar and lengthen your legs and hips till your legs are nearly locked out. Cease wanting the lockout to maintain pressure on the quads. 
              • Decrease right down to the beginning place with out tucking your hips into the posterior pelvic tilt and repeat. 

                Smith machine hack squats do a implausible job of focusing on the quads, due to foot positioning and rack help.

                In common squats, the transferring components and stabilizer muscular tissues make growing that type of mind-muscle connection difficult. 

                Tips on how to do the Hack Squat:

                • Place the bar so it’s slightly below shoulder top. Get below the bar like you’re establishing for a squat and seize it with each palms.
                • Unrack the bar and step ahead whereas retaining your toes hip-width aside and pointing your toes barely out. 
                • Preserve an upright posture and squat down till the highest of your thighs are parallel to the bottom. 
                • Rise up and repeat for indicated reps. 

                  Unilateral coaching requires a ton of stability, which limits top-end energy and measurement beneficial properties. With Smith machine cut up squats, you possibly can deal with fixing any energy and measurement muscle imbalances because it means that you can focus extra on hip flexion and focusing on the glute max.

                  Whereas there are numerous cut up squat variations, let’s go over the one retaining each legs on the ground. 

                  Tips on how to do the Cut up Squat:

                  • Arrange below the bar such as you would for a again squat.
                  • The 1st step foot again right into a lunge place together with your again heel floating off the ground. You’ll keep this stationary lunge place all through the train. 
                  • Unrack the bar and start squatting down, specializing in 90% of the burden in your entrance leg.
                  • When you get to round parallel to the ground, drive by way of your entrance foot and return to the beginning place. Repeat and change sides.

                    One other cut up squat choice, the Bulgarian cut up squat includes elevating your again leg on a bench behind you.

                    This setup will emphasize the entrance leg, making it a correct single-leg squat. A shorter stance focuses extra on the quads, whereas a wider one will goal extra of the glutes. 

                    Tips on how to do the Bulgarian Cut up Squat:

                    • Place a flat bench or field behind the smith machine the place your again leg could be in a lunge. 
                    • Arrange below the bar with it resting in your traps and seize it with each palms simply outdoors shoulder width aside.
                    • Attain one leg again and relaxation the highest of your foot on the bench with a slight bend in your knee. Place your entrance foot barely in entrance of the bar in a lunge place. 
                    • Start the descent by breaking at your hips and squatting till your entrance leg is round a 90-degree angle. 
                    • Push by way of the entrance foot and return to the beginning place. 

                      That is essentially the most superior of the three cut up squat variations. Elevating the entrance foot will enhance the vary of movement for hip and knee flexion and provide you with wonderful isolation of the glutes. 

                      Tips on how to do the Entrance Elevated Cut up Squat:

                      • Place a riser or stack 2-3 weight plates barely in entrance of the bar the place your entrance foot could be for a cut up squat
                      • Arrange below the bar like you’re making ready to squat and unrack it.
                      • The 1st step foot ahead onto the riser/plates and the opposite foot again right into a lunge place like a daily cut up squat.
                      • Preserve your higher physique and core tight and squat down by flexing each knees. Decrease till each legs are at 90-degree angles or your again knee touches the bottom. 
                      • Energy by way of the entrance foot and lengthen your knee as you come back to the beginning place. 

                      Smith Machine Entrance Foot Elevated Cut up Squat

                        The hip thrust is likely one of the extra widespread Smith machine workouts, however it may be difficult and uncomfortable to arrange.

                        Use the hip extension to construct glutes and enhance lockout energy for squats and deadlifts. It makes the hip thrust simpler because the fastened path means the Smith machine bar rolls much less in your hips.

                        Tips on how to do the Barbell Hip Thrust:

                        • Arrange a flat bench behind the bar, and use a pad for the barbell so it does not harm your hips. 
                        • Arrange together with your higher again on the bench and heart the bar simply above your hips.
                        • Make certain your toes are hip-width aside and are slightly below your knees.
                        • Seize the bar and unrack it by extending your hips earlier than slowly reducing it in direction of the ground.
                        • Squeeze your glutes, lengthen your hips to thrust the bar again to the beginning place, and repeat. 

                          Calves are exhausting sufficient to construct for most individuals, and the balancing act of doing them with the barbell does not make it simpler.

                          The Smith machine will enable you create a mind-muscle connection to the calves in the course of the standing calf increase, really constructing the muscle as an alternative of wobbling in every single place making an attempt to stabilize. 

                          Tips on how to do the Standing Calf Increase:

                          • Place a riser or two weight plates simply in entrance of the bar.
                          • Stand below the bar on the sting of your riser/plates with the bar in your shoulders and seize simply outdoors shoulder width with each palms.
                          • Unrack the bar and rise up straight, retaining your legs locked out.
                          • Press by way of the balls of your toes and lift your heels as excessive as doable earlier than reducing down below management to the ground. 
                          • Repeat for indicated reps. 

                            Listed below are a few of the generally requested questions on Smith machine leg exercises.

                            You possibly can completely construct your leg muscular tissues utilizing a Smith machine. It means that you can isolate the muscular tissues higher and never fear about stabilizers.

                            The Smith machine may help you goal and construct your glutes for those who use the proper workouts. It helps you to really feel the glutes working higher in actions like a curtsy lunge or entrance foot elevated cut up squat. 

                            The Smith machine is great for isolating the quads in numerous positions. They usually are exhausting to hook up with with a number of muscle teams working, however you may get an excellent quad pump with out the stabilizing side. 

                            By successfully programming workouts similar to a exercise with free weights. When utilizing the Smith machine, decelerate and deal with pressure and isolating the muscular tissues as an alternative of lifting quick. 

                            Though the Smith machine generally is a “find it irresistible or hate it” machine within the health world, it has tons of advantages for coaching legs. Particularly for those who’re a bodybuilder-type who’s simply fascinated with muscle development for present, it may possibly enhance hypertrophy and get rid of excuses to coach to failure with no spotter.

                            It is vital to notice that whereas the Smith machine provides sure benefits, it mustn’t exchange free weight workouts totally, because it lacks the engagement of stabilizer muscular tissues and pure motion patterns.

                            Nonetheless, when used appropriately, the Smith machine generally is a worthwhile device in leg exercises, offering focused muscle stimulation and elevated weightlifting capability.

                            Now that you’ve an important exercise, it is time to add a Smith machine to your property fitness center. Take a look at the 7 Greatest Smith Machines to seek out your excellent match!

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