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Barbell Squats vs. Smith Machine Squats

Which is better, Barbell squats or Smith Machine squats? Well, it depends on your level of fitness. If you have just begun your fitness journey, you may want to start with body weight squats. This will allow you to correct your form and posture before you begin adding weight. If you are at a more advanced level of training, I would suggest utilizing the barbell for squats and use the Smith Machine for supplemental exercises. Though, there are pros and cons to both tools/machines.

Barbell Squats PROS:

It is produced by a natural, everyday motion.

All necessary joints are properly aligned to avoid stress and injury.

Engages several muscles within the body to complete the exercise.

Barbell Squats CONS:

Can cause serious injuries if performed incorrectly.

May require a spotter.

Smith Machine Squats PROS:

Isolates your muscles - by moving your feet closer or further away from the Smith Machine, you can put the concentration on specific muscles.

You do not have to worry as much about losing your balance.

It is easier to throw on more weight due to muscle isolation.

Smith Machine Squats CONS:

The movement pattern is very unnatural. Exercises, like the squat, are there to improve everyday motions such as picking up a box off of the ground. The Smith Machine does not encourage that natural movement.

It can put high stress on certain parts of the body.

Can cause serious injuries if performed incorrectly.

Personally, I am partial to the barbell squat. Which do you prefer?

Front Barbell Squat


- Katharine

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