Smith Machine Front Squat

Exercise Summary
Primary Muscle(s) Quads
Secondary Muscle(s) Glutes, HamstringsAbdominals
Equipment Machine
Emphasis Compound
Type Squat

Smith Machine Front Squat Instructions

  • Be in a strong athletic position: knees flexed, core and glutes activated, chest up, and shoulders back. 
  • Place your fingers on barbell. Step one foot underneath the bar and with the same arm, assume a front rack position with your hand and arm, pulling your elbow up under the bar.
    • Repeat on the opposite side
    • Triceps should be parallel to the floor
    • If you don't have the mobility to assume this position, attach wrist straps to the bar. Perform the same movement but grab the straps instead of the bar.
  • The barbell is resting in the crevice between your delt and collarbone with your elbows up and fingers underneath the bar.
    • This may feel uncomfortable if you are new to front squatting. 
  • Your feet are positioned in a slightly narrow stance (compared to your normal squat stance) and feet are turned out slightly.
  • Keep your front rack position in place, screw your feet into the floor, and core tight then unrack the bar.
  • Descend into the bottom position. Try to get more range-of-motion than you normally would on a barbell squat variation. 
  • Once you reach the bottom position, accelerate back up driving your feet through the floor. 
  • Squeeze your glutes at the top position.


  • This variation, because of the machine and your setup, will be more quad intensive. 
  • Be aware of the fixed bar-path before you squat. 
  • Always look straight ahead, never look directly up or down. You want to maintain a neutral neck position. 
  • Don't overextend/arch your back. Focus on core tightness and a neutral spine.
  • Don't bounce out of the bottom, control the exercise through the full range-of-motion.
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