Have you always wanted to add more weight to your squat and build up your legs? Here’s a list of Smith machine exercises that can help you achieve that goal.
What is a Smith Machine?
A Smith machine is a rectangular-shaped bar that has a weight stack on one side of it. The bar is always attached to a rail system so that it can move back and forth along the rails, which allows for safer weightlifting. A Smith machine can be used to perform many exercises including squats, leg presses, and calf raises.
The Smith machine is great for both beginners and advanced weightlifters. Since the bar is attached to the rail system, it’s nearly impossible to get hurt by dropping the bar on yourself since it will immediately stop following the rails. It’s also much safer than squatting a barbell with maximum weight.
The most common exercises that are performed using a Smith machine are back squats, front squats, lunges, leg presses, and calf raises. However, many other options can be performed using this equipment as well.
The Benefit of Use The Smith Machine
The Smith machine takes weightlifting to a whole new level by allowing gym-goers to perform exercises that would be impossible on a barbell. Since the bar is attached to the rail system, it can be firmly supported and stable while moving back and forth. If you want to perform an exercise that doesn’t involve holding free weights or having your hands connected to a barbell, then you’ll want to look into using a Smith machine.
For example, you can perform a squat and leg press by following the rail system and pushing the bar back and forth. If you had to hold onto a barbell while performing these exercises, it would be nearly impossible to control the bar while moving it back and forth.
Using a Smith machine is also beneficial for people who have trouble balancing when holding free weights. The weight is evenly distributed over both sides since there is no swing involved in using this exercise equipment. This means that there is very little risk of injury caused by improper balance.
6 Excellent Smith Machine Exercises for Legs
Free weights are indeed superior to Smith machine exercises, but many people see Smith machine exercises as a quick and easy alternative for developing strength in the lower body. The smith machine works out a lot of your lower body muscles due to its stability and ease of use.
We have compiled a list of 6 excellent smith machine exercises that will help you build strength in your lower body. These are particularly useful for those who have problems with their backs and instead of using the barbell on the ground, this targets those lower body muscle groups from a different perspective.
Smith Squat is a good variation for those who have difficulties with squatting deep, both because the Smith Machine lightly supports your back and because it positions the bar differently than a squat rack. The Smith Squat will allow you to squat more weight, with less risk of back injury, than if you were to use traditional squats.
To perform the Smith Squat, position yourself under the bar so that it rests across your upper back. Keeping your toes pointed forward, squat down until your hips are lower than your knees. Exhale as you do this. Inhale as you return to standing. Perform 2 sets of 10 reps with moderate weight for each leg.
Smith Machine Calf Raise
Smith Machine Calf Raise is a triceps-free calf exercise. The most important point about performing this exercise, as with all Smith Machine exercises, is to keep your back straight. The weight plates on the Smith Machine will force you to do so if you don’t.
To perform the Smith Machine Calf Raise, stand on the platform of the Smith Machine with your toes pointed forward. Grab the bar by hanging your hands below the bar. Keep the bar close to your rib cage at all times. Slowly lift so that your heels are off of the floor by 6-8 inches. Don’t arch your back, keep it straight so that all of your body weight is supported by your legs and not on your arms. Slowly lower to start position without bending at any point in between.
Smith Machine Lying Leg Curl
Smith Machine Lying Leg Curl is a hamstrings-only exercise that will give you stronger hamstrings without risking injury to your knees or lower back. This is important because strong hamstrings are important for an athletic body, and they’ll help you run faster without hurting yourself.
To perform the Smith Machine Lying Leg Curl, place your upper back against the pad. Adjust the pad so that it rests under your shoulder blades and so that your lower back is completely supported. Grab the bar with thumbs around the bar, fingers straight. Curl the bar by squeezing your hamstrings until your calves are at maximum stretch. Slowly reverse the movement until your calves are completely contracted. Perform 2 sets of 10 reps.
Smith Bulgarian Split Squats
Smith Bulgarian Split Squats is a good lower body and hamstrings exercise and a great way to work quads, glutes, and hamstrings without putting too much strain on your knees. It allows you to go all the way down until the back leg is almost fully extended.
To perform the Smith Bulgarian Split Squats, stand in front of a barbell on a set of squat stands. Place your back foot on the floor and your front foot on a bench or platform so that your bent knee is at 90 degrees. Grab the barbell with both hands using an overhand grip. Inhale as you bend both knees until they’re parallel to the floor, as far as you can go. Exhale as you push yourself away from the barbell by extending both knees until they’re straight again. Perform 2 sets of 10-12 reps on each leg.
Smith Machine Hack Squat
Smith Machine Hack Squat is a good quad-dominant exercise for those who have trouble performing squats with a barbell. Your knees will still be bent, and you won’t have to worry about your lower back bending with this exercise, either. This makes Hack Squats a great leg exercise for use in addition to your main lower body exercise routine.
To perform the Smith Machine Hack Squat, stand on the floor. Grab the bar with your hands more than shoulder-width apart. Sit down while keeping your elbows close to your body and driving your knees forward. As you sit down, some of the weight of the bar will cause you to lean forward. Contract your quadriceps while keeping them bent, then reverse the movement by driving back up to the start position. Perform 2 sets of 10 reps.
Smith Machine Donkey Kick
Smith Machine Donkey Kick is a great exercise for the inner thighs. It’ll melt fat off your thighs, and you can use it both to stretch and strengthen your inner thighs at the same time. This means that you get two benefits from one exercise.
To perform Smith Machine Donkey Kick, kneel on one knee on the Smith Machine platform so that your right leg is extended behind you. Put your hands on the floor. Keeping your back straight, slide your right leg back so that you are left with an unbearable stretch in the inner thigh of the right leg. Hold it tightly for a few seconds, then slide your leg forward to return to the start position. Do 2 sets of 10 reps then switch legs and repeat for another side.
Most smith machine workouts are for one joint at a time, but this workout combines both legs to make it easier. What is great about this workout is that it uses the same setup for each exercise, so once you are comfortable with it, you can move on to other leg workouts or create your own.
Tips when Using The Smith Machine
Smith machines are great for developing strength and power in the lower body, but they can also be used to improve stability, flexibility, and speed. Here are some tips when using the Smith machine.
- Don’t go too heavy to start: You can lift an impressive amount of weight on a smith machine so it’s very easy to throw the entire weight and balance off and hurt yourself. Start light and gradually work up to heavier weights as you feel comfortable doing so. Also, do not go for max lifts every time you use the smith machine; this will overwork your muscles and prevent them from getting stronger as fast as they would with lighter loads/reps.
- Watch your knees: The smith machine is a great piece of gym equipment for strengthening the knee joints, but it can strain the knees if you don’t keep them straight. Always keep your knees slightly bent when doing squats.
- Keep your body straight: If you are doing squats on the Smith machine, keep your shoulders squared to the bar, this will make it easier to keep your back straight. If you bend over, this will allow the weight to pull you down which can stretch your lower back out.
- Watch what you wear: Wear form-fitting clothing when using the Smith machine, loose clothing can get caught in the weight and cause injury. Placing a towel over the bar when doing pullovers is also a good idea.
The Smith machine is an excellent piece of equipment that should not be overlooked as a possible choice for your home gym. It can take the place of other forms of equipment and perform exercises you wouldn’t be able to do otherwise. Make sure you follow the tips and watch some videos on how to properly use one and you’ll be glad you did!
Make sure to adjust the barbell position before starting the exercise and use a weight that you can handle. If you’re not sure about the Planet Fitness Smith Machine bar weight, check out our article that explains it in detail (Smith Machine Bar Weight of Planet Fitness).
Why I should use a Smith Machine?
The Smith Machine allows you to perform leg exercises in a standing position and it will provide support and stability. The Smith Machine is very useful for those beginners who may not yet have the strength to perform squats without assistance.
How to use a Smith Machine?
This versatile piece of equipment is designed to be used for a variety of exercises, so it’s important to know how to use it properly. To use a Smith machine, attach a barbell under the “arms” or “focusing point” and set the barbell in place. Depending on your goals, you may want to start with light weights and then progress as you become stronger.
Is it safe to use a Smith Machine?
The Smith Machine provides a natural, smooth, and controlled resistance. The machine is designed with safety features to minimize injuries. The Smith Machine provides greater stability and allows for more controlled movement during the exercise. It is also more effective for those who suffer from injuries by reducing the stress caused by resistance on weight lifting plates.
How are the exercise effects on the Smith machine different from using free weights?
The Smith machine is less risky than free weights because the user is not at risk for joint injury. The risk of joint injury through the use of free weights is an important safety consideration for users who are older or have health conditions that affect their ability to lift heavy-weight loads.
How long should I perform my Smith Machine exercises?
The duration of the workout will depend on the intensity of the exercise. Most people will repeat a single leg movement 20 – 30 times per session or full-body workout 100 – 150 times per session.