Smith Machine Squat Exercise Guide & Video

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Watch Smith Machine Squat

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Step 1. With your feet shoulder-width apart, position yourself underneath the bar. Your knees should be slightly bent.

Step 2. Push up and rotate the bar, straightening your legs and removing the bar from the rack.

Step 3. Bend at the knees and lower the weight, keeping your back straight and bending at the waist as you lower the weight. Keep your toes straight forward and make sure your knees do not move inward. All you weight should be on your heels not on your toes.

Step 4. When your thighs are parallel to the ground, press back up and straighten your legs. As you press with your legs, push your pelvis forward to help drive the weight up.

Step 5.  Once you are finished with your repetitions, rotate the bar forward and rehook the weight.


The squat is the primary exercise for building size and strength in the legs. With a proper and full range of motion, it works the quads, hamstrings, and glutes. The smith machine squat is a variation on the squat. What makes this exercise more appealing to some users is that it limits the risk of injury when performing the exercise. One of the risks of performing a squat is that the user will lose the weight either forward or backward. Since the smith machine controls the weight during the movement, the user does not have to worry about balance. This control can also allow the user to get deeper into the movement, really hitting the hamstrings and glutes. There are two downsides to performing a smith machine squat. The first is that the rigidity of the motion may be uncomfortable for less flexible users. The second, as with all smith machine exercises, is that the stabilizer muscles are not being worked because the machine is controlling the horizontal movement of the weight. The typical stance for the smith machine squat is slightly wider than shoulder-width. The user may angle their toes outward and use a wider stance if working the inner part of the leg is desired.

Smith Machine Squat 4
Smith Machine Squat 3

Updated: March 30th, 2015