Smith Machine Squats

I know I’m gonna get a load of stick for this, but here goes.

I need to know the safest way to do squats using a Smith Machine. I would do them using a squat rack, but the gym I go to is really a health club and they’ve filled the place up with Cybex and X-trainers - hey, at least I get the run of the free weights because all the pussies in there mince about on CV machines!

Anyway, I’ve read how to do Poliquin ‘ass to grass squats’ and have been trying them on the Smith but I get real bad lower back pain. At the minute I’m keeping my heels in the same plane as the bar, but should I move them forward a bit? Or would that exert too much shear on the knees?

The alternative would be to load up a bar then clean lift it, over my head, then rest on my shoulders. Not ideal, especially as I’m following the GVT2000 programme and want to puke and fall over at the end of a few sets!

Any help/abuse much appreciated.

If your following a GVT type program, you’re doing 10 sets of 10. This being the case, you are not going to be using maximal loads. Maybe you could do dumbell squats. If 10 sets of 10 reps using dumbell squats, holding 100 lbs in each hand, is easy then your either doing them wrong or your the man!!


Doh! I hadn’t thought of that, I’ll give it a go.

But what happens at the end of my GVT programme when I want to do some low rep, high weight strength sessions?

Thanks for your help Jamie.

That’s kinda like asking how can I safely catch a bullet with my teeth. Doing the kind of volume that GVT requires I think your setting yourself up for pattern overload as Chek talks about in his article. I also would recommend some DB squats, or DB DLs (this place has no place to do squats?). DLs and Lunges can be very effective using GVT.

With the Smith Machine, I would do regular paralell squats, particularly if you are going heavy. Do light, high rep ‘ass to grass’ squats. I find them particularly hard on the knees and the Smith Machine does not give you a great deal of movment (give), making ‘ass to grass’ more taxing on your joints. this is my guess as to why your back hurts, I can’t even do them on a Smith Machine, it puts me in an awkward postion.
My two cents,

Thanks guys, I’m gonna use the DB’s and throw in some DL’s - that should do it!