Squat It Baby, Free Bar vs Smith Machine

Squat It Baby, Free bar vs Smith Machine

I did a Spin Class this morning and showed up a tad early… what’s better than burning out your legs right before a spin class? Nothing. So I did Squats, Dead Lifts, Calf Raises, Step ups on a 3 ft box, and then ended it with 3x max push ups. All exercises were a basic 3 rounds of 10 reps – EZPZ. I fit this in 15 minutes, little rest with shortness of breath. Wallah!

I was complimented on my squats… which I used an Olympic Bar… free weights. No it wasn’t by some guy staring at my a$$, but a lady who was working out near me. She just mentioned that she was impressed with how low I can go with all the weight I had on… I felt like saying ‘you should see how low I can go on the dance floor’ … but instead said thanks and said it looked like she was working hard. She said she used the Smith Machine for squats. I then told her I prefer the Olympic Bar because it’s more unstable and you use a greater amount of muscle stress. I could have rambled on and on out of hobby of preaching fitness but didn’t. 🙂

I decided to look it up and share. Here’s a quick read from publmed.gov about a study using electromyography comparing a free weight squat to a smith machine squat. Here’s a piece of it:

Electromyographic activity was significantly higher by 34, 26, and 49 in the gastrocnemius, biceps femoris, and vastus medialis, respectively, during the free weight squat compared to the Smith machine squat (p < 0.05).

Real Quick – those muscles are your calves, hammies, and quads .

The EMG averaged over all muscles during the free weight squat was 43% higher when compared to the Smith machine squat.

Full Article: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19855308

So while being true that the free squat is harder, you also have to consider risks vs benefits. BTW the Smith Machine is the machine with the Olympic Bar in a tracking system that you unhook and hook to lock.

Ok back to risks vs benefits…. if you are a beginner exerciser the Smith Machine can help you learn good form, it can help you gain confidence with the squat and will also give you a great workout and duh, make you stronger. You’ll notice that having the same weight on a free bar is harder than a Smith Machine, so if you swap back and forth you’ll notice the change in intensity and learn to appreciate what both forms offer. If I do heavier weight 1 day, I’ll use a Smith Machine if I’m solo at the gym because I don’t want to collapse… – even though I know many guys in the gym would LOVE to spot me… lol. eeewhhh.

Newbies, “spot me” just means that someone would stand behind me and help me bring it up if I’m having trouble… 😉

OK! Til Next Time!

One thought on “Squat It Baby, Free Bar vs Smith Machine

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s