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    Default Squats and Smith Machine

    Hey,

    I have just joined a new gym due to my old gym being very small with very limited equipment and I have kind of out grow it.

    The new gym I joined because that's where one of my friends go.

    My issue is there is no squat rack, only a smith machine. A smith machine is still better than my old gym as that had nothing.

    My questions are....

    1, Are smith machine squats still good? Looking on a few websites they get slated, however a few do say they are still good.

    2, Might sound a bit daft, but the gym has the barbell bar and plates, it's just getting it on my back. Are there any other ways other than a squat rack to get a free weight barbell on your back?

    Thanks


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    Ypu can raise the smith barbell all the way to the top then set the barbell on the smiths hooks. If youre really tall this may not work.

    As for smith vs free weight it'll depend on you. Some people can do squats with them with no issues though they seem to be the exception not the rule. I, like most people, find the restrictive bar path to be killer on my knees with anything more than a half squat.
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    I did think about if I could just put the bar high out the way and then use a free weight bar, but not till I was back home. This is possible then? I'll have a look next time I'm in the gym. I'm certainly not tall so that won't be a problem ha ha


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    Quote Originally Posted by Skep View Post

    1, Are smith machine squats still good? Looking on a few websites they get slated, however a few do say they are still good.

    2, Might sound a bit daft, but the gym has the barbell bar and plates, it's just getting it on my back. Are there any other ways other than a squat rack to get a free weight barbell on your back?
    1. Not really. Smith machine puts more compression on your spine, and more pressure on your knees during the motion
    Not to mention it takes your core 100% out of the movement and is on a fixed plane, so there are 4 bad things about the smith machine alone compared to a regular barbell squat.

    Do they have a power cage? You could use that to set up for a squat?
    I would consider going to a new gym TBH, a gym without a squat rack is pretty weak, You could do a lot of hack squats,leg press, sissy squats, lunges, extensions etc. but a squat is a very good exercise and one of the big 3 for a reason.
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    The Smith machine is sound for Smith squats.

    If that is all the equipment you have then it is quite fine to perform Smith squats. Just be in mind that Smith squats are not barbell squats. The key factors are Smith squats will allow for more weight. You may also find you need to place your legs slightly more forwards than you would for barbell squats.

    There is no reason to avoid Smith squats. They need not be 'dangerous'. Any exercise can be dangerous when not performed correctly.

    The compression factor is a concern, true. But then this holds for barbell squats also. If that is an issue for you, you can always try a different version of the squat: front squats and hack squats are two options.

    Front squats require less weight and so it is not too hard to clean the barbell up to position. Hack squats are brilliant if you are comfortable with the movement -not everybody is.

    The leg press is also a valid tool, if you have access to one. That machine arguably allows you to better target the hamstrings or the quadriceps than the barbell squat.

    Train with what you have. Your legs won't care what exercise they or using. Or the equipment you are using. I've performed squats in the middle of the Sahara desert with loaded sandbags. My legs adapted just fine.

    It isn't the exercise per-se that will provide the results. It's the manner in which you train your legs that matter.

    Don't count other squat variants wither. Sissy squats and pile squats are tremendous exercises.

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    Every time you squat on a smith machine (aka "shrug machine") a kitten dies. Do you hate kittens??

    Any gym without a squat rack is not a gym.....so either make up a squat rack or go to a real gym.
    Talk to management, not gym should be without a squat rack.

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    Frequent Poster difranchise's Avatar
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    Every time you squat on a smith machine (aka "shrug machine") a kitten dies. Do you hate kittens??

    Any gym without a squat rack is not a gym.....so either make up a squat rack or go to a real gym.
    Talk to management, no gym should be without a squat rack.

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    M&S Elite Member robsorangegym's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by difranchise View Post
    Any gym without a squat rack is not a gym.....so either make up a squat rack or go to a real gym.
    Talk to management, no gym should be without a squat rack.
    Agreed. How in the world can there not be a squat rack in a gym?
    "Success is not final…..failure is not fatal…..its the courage to continue that counts." -Winston Churchill
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    Quote Originally Posted by difranchise View Post
    Every time you squat on a smith machine (aka "shrug machine") a kitten dies. Do you hate kittens??

    Any gym without a squat rack is not a gym.....so either make up a squat rack or go to a real gym.
    Talk to management, no gym should be without a squat rack.
    Quote Originally Posted by robsorangegym View Post
    Agreed. How in the world can there not be a squat rack in a gym?
    So you are confirming that you are unable to train without a squat rack?

    That suggests you aren't particularly skilled in training.

    As mentioned above, I have been able to successfully train in many a place with a lack of equipment. Once in western Africa I visited a 'village gym'. The trainees there were using old axels from various vehicles to train with. No squat rack in sight. And yet, some of them had better leg development than me. What do they know, huh? No squat rack!

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    Frequent Poster difranchise's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by clab View Post
    So you are confirming that you are unable to train without a squat rack?

    That suggests you aren't particularly skilled in training.

    As mentioned above, I have been able to successfully train in many a place with a lack of equipment. Once in western Africa I visited a 'village gym'. The trainees there were using old axels from various vehicles to train with. No squat rack in sight. And yet, some of them had better leg development than me. What do they know, huh? No squat rack!
    “Nobody wants to work hard these days. Everybody wants the easy way. Fu** that
    the 20 minute abs, the 10 minute this, the 10 minute that. … fu** that! Come to the gym. Work your ass off. Earn it. …"

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  11. #11
    M&S Elite Member robsorangegym's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by clab View Post
    So you are confirming that you are unable to train without a squat rack?

    That suggests you aren't particularly skilled in training.

    As mentioned above, I have been able to successfully train in many a place with a lack of equipment. Once in western Africa I visited a 'village gym'. The trainees there were using old axels from various vehicles to train with. No squat rack in sight. And yet, some of them had better leg development than me. What do they know, huh? No squat rack!
    It sounded to me like the man joined a gym. Not in western Africa, nor some hillbilly set-up like mine hidden in the Appalachian mountains. It sounded to me like he joined a gym because one of his friends works out at that gym. To me, and probably most people, that usually means he chose that one and is going to be paying for a membership. I read the post thinking the OP paid to join a gym that does not have a squat rack. Maybe thats normal where you lift, maybe I'm spoiled because every gym I've ever paid to go to had at least one squat rack, but it is very unusual for a commercial gym to not have a squat rack. I've seen pictures of people using axels as well but that isn't acceptable in most gyms where you pay to be a member. Can I train without a squat rack? Sure. Would I join a gym without a squat rack? No way, I wouldn't want to pay for a gym if they didn't have what most lifters in commercial gyms consider basic equipment. Just to be clear for you, I am not confirming I am unable to train without a squat rack, I am confirming that I would not join a gym that does not have a squat rack. My hillbilly set up has a home made squat rack, every commercial gym should have one. Regardless of training skills, gyms should have a squat rack. Commercial gyms should have dumb bells instead of milk jugs filled with sand or cement, things unskilled lifters such as myself have used at home where no one was paying for memberships.
    Last edited by robsorangegym; 09-30-2014 at 09:26 AM. Reason: grammer for D
    "Success is not final…..failure is not fatal…..its the courage to continue that counts." -Winston Churchill
    Dead Lift: 415
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  12. #12
    M&S Elite Member robsorangegym's Avatar
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    Plus the kitten thing:
    Attachment 21186
    "Success is not final…..failure is not fatal…..its the courage to continue that counts." -Winston Churchill
    Dead Lift: 415
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  13. #13
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    Sadly, in the UK, a large number of commercial gyms do not have squat racks. There's probably a different one he could go to, sure, but if his reason for joining that gym was to train with a mate, then maybe he doesn't want to move gyms.
    2013 Gym PRs
    Squat = 140kg ...... Deadlift = 180kg ...... Bench = 95kg
    2014 Gym PRs
    Squat = 162.5kg ...... Deadlift = 192.5kg ...... Bench = 105kg
    2015 Gym PRs
    Squat = 170kg ... Deadlift = No improvement ... Bench = No Improvement

  14. #14
    M&S Elite Member robsorangegym's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nezzy View Post
    Sadly, in the UK, a large number of commercial gyms do not have squat racks. There's probably a different one he could go to, sure, but if his reason for joining that gym was to train with a mate, then maybe he doesn't want to move gyms.
    I had no idea Nezzy. When I was in Islington we trained at a gym that was fully stocked. Heck, even in Walthamstow you could stumble out of Charlie Chan's on your way to the dog track and get some squats in. I will say those were the only two places I trained there and the fact that I remember Chan's (and the dogs!) tells you its been a few years. Personally, I wouldn't join a gym that didn't have a squat rack but I understand your point Nezzy. I'd rather rely on my training skills than not lift at all but if I had to pay for it I'd probably offer to build them a squat rack!!
    "Success is not final…..failure is not fatal…..its the courage to continue that counts." -Winston Churchill
    Dead Lift: 415
    Squat: 325
    Bench: 305
    Bodyweight: to be checked soon!!

  15. #15
    M&S Power User Nezzy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by robsorangegym View Post
    I had no idea Nezzy. When I was in Islington we trained at a gym that was fully stocked. Heck, even in Walthamstow you could stumble out of Charlie Chan's on your way to the dog track and get some squats in. I will say those were the only two places I trained there and the fact that I remember Chan's (and the dogs!) tells you its been a few years. Personally, I wouldn't join a gym that didn't have a squat rack but I understand your point Nezzy. I'd rather rely on my training skills than not lift at all but if I had to pay for it I'd probably offer to build them a squat rack!!
    I'm with you, I've gone a long way out of my way in the past to find a squat rack, and have trained in some pretty shady establishments in order to find one. I'm fairly lucky that my gym at work is properly equipped, but it's rare to see a gym with more than 1 squat/power rack. The normal ratio is 100 cardio machines per 1 squat rack. My brother's gym has two power racks, it's one of the biggest gyms in the North West of England and has recently undergone a £1.5m refurbishment.
    Last edited by Nezzy; 09-30-2014 at 10:09 AM.
    2013 Gym PRs
    Squat = 140kg ...... Deadlift = 180kg ...... Bench = 95kg
    2014 Gym PRs
    Squat = 162.5kg ...... Deadlift = 192.5kg ...... Bench = 105kg
    2015 Gym PRs
    Squat = 170kg ... Deadlift = No improvement ... Bench = No Improvement

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    Time To Rebound! LayzieBone085's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by difranchise View Post
    You mean Darren ?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nezzy View Post
    Sadly, in the UK, a large number of commercial gyms do not have squat racks. There's probably a different one he could go to, sure, but if his reason for joining that gym was to train with a mate, then maybe he doesn't want to move gyms.
    This is true. I am fortunate to have my home gym. The entire gym is based in a single garage at the end of my land - which was weirdly used to store a ride-on lawnmower by the previous owners.

    Anyhow, I have a power cage; just the one. A local David Lloyd gym boasts 3 floors of gym space in a huge warehouse type facility. That gym has 200+ cardiovascular devices - that's 200+ more than me. However, it has a single squat rack - not even a more versatile power cage. And so if we can accept that a power cage\rack and a squat rack are relatively equivalent, all that space and yet our gyms match each other for rack availability. The difference? My gym has one member (sadly I live alone). David Lloyd has thousands of members.

    I may seem to take this matter seriously. But it is because I truly believe people shouldn't worry about what they haven't got. After all, imagine if I had the best racing bike in the world. And Chris Hoy was given my rusty old mountain bike. If we were to race, I very much doubt I would win. Unless the poor chap fell off perhaps. Even then, I‘m not so sure! It's not the equipment that makes the deciding factor.

  18. #18
    M&S Power User Nezzy's Avatar
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    Coincidentally the gym I was talking about was David loyd (near Cheadle) they added a second power rack after the £1.5m refurbishment.
    2013 Gym PRs
    Squat = 140kg ...... Deadlift = 180kg ...... Bench = 95kg
    2014 Gym PRs
    Squat = 162.5kg ...... Deadlift = 192.5kg ...... Bench = 105kg
    2015 Gym PRs
    Squat = 170kg ... Deadlift = No improvement ... Bench = No Improvement

  19. #19
    M&S Power User Nezzy's Avatar
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    If you were on a track on a track bike, provided you could get the gear turning and it was a short enough race, you'd beat Hoy on a bike geared for mountains.
    2013 Gym PRs
    Squat = 140kg ...... Deadlift = 180kg ...... Bench = 95kg
    2014 Gym PRs
    Squat = 162.5kg ...... Deadlift = 192.5kg ...... Bench = 105kg
    2015 Gym PRs
    Squat = 170kg ... Deadlift = No improvement ... Bench = No Improvement

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nezzy View Post
    If you were on a track on a track bike, provided you could get the gear turning and it was a short enough race, you'd beat Hoy on a bike geared for mountains.
    You are far more optimistic than me!

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    M&S Power User Nezzy's Avatar
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    If you ever get a chance to see the gearing on a track bike, you'll see what I mean. You're probably strong enough to turn it. Hoy would struggle to move his legs fast enough to keep up on mountain bike gears.
    2013 Gym PRs
    Squat = 140kg ...... Deadlift = 180kg ...... Bench = 95kg
    2014 Gym PRs
    Squat = 162.5kg ...... Deadlift = 192.5kg ...... Bench = 105kg
    2015 Gym PRs
    Squat = 170kg ... Deadlift = No improvement ... Bench = No Improvement

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    Quoted from an article somewhere:

    "The myth: This machine—which looks like a squat rack with a built-in bar that runs on guides—gives you all the benefits of squats, but none of the risk that comes from holding a heavy barbell across your back. That’s because the bar can easily be secured at any point during the movement.

    The truth: Because the bar runs on guides, you can only move straight up and down as you squat—instead of down and back, as you would in a free-weight squat. The result: An unnatural movement that puts extra stress on your knees and lower back. Need another reason to skip the Smith? Canadian researchers found that traditional squats produced almost 50 percent more muscle activity in the quadriceps than squats done on a Smith machine.
    "

    Personally, I would never do smith machine squats. The idea that it prevents the barbell from following a safe and natural range of motion for the body tells me not to do it. Especially since squats can be done with extremely heavy weights.

    Barbell squats are a full body exercise in large part because it uses a lot of core strength to stabilize the bar. The smith machine eliminates most of this benefit in addition to having a higher risk of injury.
    Last edited by Got2squat; 10-05-2014 at 01:19 PM.
    7/6/2015
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    Bench 265
    Deadlift 465
    Total 1125 @ 193.

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    It depends on what you are trying to do. Don't get me wrong, I HATE smith machines and squats in smith machines, but it's what we have to work with here.
    .
    If you're trying to do powerlifting, you have to go to a new gym. No question about it. If you want to squat for powerlifting or for strength, you need to do so with a free barbell, not one tethered to a cage.
    .
    However, if you're just trying to body build, you can absolutely use a smith machine for squats. It is not as good in my opinion, and comes with a host of negative benefits, but it will do the job. Technically, to build large legs you don't even need to squat (Don't shoot me!), although I highly suggest you do.
    .
    Honestly, in the absence of a squat rack, I would rather just do Deadlifts, Leg Presses, Leg Extensions, and Hamstring Curls for my legs. Maybe Power Clean the bar into position and do some lighter front squats as well. You don't NEED heavy back squats for body building, but I highly recommend it.
    .
    Hope that helps.

  24. #24
    Frequent Poster difranchise's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LayzieBone085 View Post
    You mean Darren ?
    Yeah. Lol.
    “Nobody wants to work hard these days. Everybody wants the easy way. Fu** that
    the 20 minute abs, the 10 minute this, the 10 minute that. … fu** that! Come to the gym. Work your ass off. Earn it. …"

    "command some sh** to grow"

    Current weight and ORM 11/13/13
    Weight: 217lbs
    Bench: 295 Squat: ??? Deadlift: ??? Shoulder Press: 85lb dumbbells
    Skull Crushers: 115x8

    Goals: Bench: 315 Squat: 350 Deadlift: 350 Shoulder Press: 100lb dumbbells
    Skull Crushers: 135x8

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    Just joined M&S JonesCrow's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing.

 

 

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