Squats are a great addition to any lower body workout program, but doing them correctly is going to be an absolute must-do. If you are not going about your squats correctly, you won’t see the results you’re looking for and you could wind up injured. This makes it more important than ever that you learn how to do things correctly.
One big error that some people make is utilizing the squat machine as they squat. While this may work for the very new beginner the first couple of times they squat so they can get the feel of the movement, overall it’s not the most ideal way to get this exercise in.
Let’s go over why so that you can see why free barbell squats are superior.
It Locks You Into Position
First, using the smith machine means that you will be locked into a fixed range of movement. Now, if you are someone who is either taller or on the shorter side, this range of movement may not be ideal for your body and as such, you may not be able to generate maximum force while doing the exercise.
This then means much lower progress as far as strength is concerned.
It Takes Away From The Core Strengthening Benefits
Second, using the smith machine also means that you won’t reap the core benefits that you would otherwise see. Remember that one of the key advantages of the squat machine is that it’s going to strengthen your core muscles, but if you’re being guided by the machine, this takes away from how hard your body has to work.
This is a big reason why free weight squats tend to be superior over the leg press, but by going with the smith machine, you might as well just have done the leg press.
It Sets You Up For Injury
Finally, going back to that fixed pattern of movement, using the smith machine is also going to set you up for an injury.
If you are moving about the exercise in a very unnatural manner, this is only going to mean you wind up straining or pulling a muscle, taking yourself right out of the game entirely.
Injuries are far more common in smith machines than in free weight squat stands, so really think hard about whether you want to risk this.
So next time you’re in the gym, head for the regular squat rack instead. You’ll get far greater progress by using this piece of equipment over the smith machine.