The Smith chair squat is a compound leg exercise which effectively builds muscle and strength in all leg muscles which include the quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. But it also effectively works the core muscles since they play a role in stabilization during the exercise.
Now, beginners can do this exercise but it’s recommended to start very light and practice the proper technique before increasing the resistance loads. But, once you become experienced with this exercise, it’s a great squat variation and an excellent addition to any leg routine.
The Smith chair squat is unique since you’re actually simulating sitting in a chair as opposed to squatting deep and below parallel like a conventional free weight squat. But it’s just as effective if you do it consistently with high intensity.
In This Exercise:
- Target Muscle Groups: Quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves
- Type: Strength
- Mechanics: Compound
- Equipment: Smith Machine
- Difficulty: Beginner/Intermediate
- Position yourself beneath the Smith machine in a squat position so your traps are supporting the bar.
- Then, place both feet far enough out in front of you so that your butt is directly aligned with the bar.
- Position your feet so they’re slightly wider than shoulder-width distance apart and keep your feet pointed forward.
- Now, squat down until your upper legs are parallel to the floor as if you’re sitting in a chair. Inhale during this portion of the exercise.
- Then, squat back up through your heels until your standing up straight but don’t lock out your knees at the top. Exhale during this portion of the movement.
- Repeat for the desired number of reps.
Variations & Tips:
- You only want to squat parallel to the floor to simulate sitting in a chair.
- Position your feet so that your knees do not move forward.
- Start with lighter weights and warm up your knees before training heavy to prevent injury.
- Using a Smith machine provides you with more stability and balance which allows you to focus more on executing the movement effectively.
- The Smith chair squat works all legs muscles which include the quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. But your core also gets trained as a stabilizer muscle during the exercise.