Smith Machine Squat

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

Smith Machine Squat Instructions

  • Be in a strong athletic position: knees flexed, core and glutes activated, chest up, and shoulders back. 
  • Get underneath the bar, placing it on your traps.
  • Situate your feet slightly more in front of you. This will cause you to feel as if you are leaning back into the bar.
    • A setup similar to a hack squat.
  • Feet are slightly outside shoulder-width and pointed out slightly. 
  • You still want a strong, vertical torso position with your chest up and eyes fixed straight ahead.
  • Extend your legs to 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 glute focused. 
  • Always look straight ahead, never look directly up or down. You want to maintain a neutral neck position. 
  • Be aware of the fixed bar path before you squat.
  • 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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