Squats with a barbell are considered to be one of the most difficult (albeit effective) exercises. Despite the fact that this is one of the foundations of both bodybuilding and powerlifting, for many athletes doing squats is far from a pleasant task.
Fortunately, there are several options that differ in lightweight technique and are less traumatic and harmful to the spine. The most important and relevant of them is the squats in Smith’s simulator, with which many athletes often prefer to replace regular squats.
A bit of history: Smith’s simulator
Along with other “personalized” devices (Scott’s bench and Gackenschmidt simulator), this simulator was developed in the middle of the 20th century. He first appeared around the 50s in a gym owned by a man named Rudy Smith – it was his name that got this design. The simulator is as follows: the bar neck is fixed between two racks, which make it possible to move it only in a vertical plane. On the rack there are special stops, and on the neck – hooks that cling to them. This is a kind of athlete’s safety tool – if you feel that you can’t get up on your own, just hook the hook to the stop and it will hold the bar.
In fact, the device, which is now one of the most important and indispensable in any gym, was developed by Jack Lalane (Francois Henri “Jack” LaLanne). A well-known American businessman, he actively worked on himself, practiced sports almost until his death, promoted a healthy lifestyle (he led his show on the same topic).
Now, after more than half a century since the invention, Smith’s simulator is the same familiar device for the gym as, for example, a bench for a bench or a power frame, and it will help everyone who wants to pump up their legs.
Performing squats in Smith’s simulator, we use the same muscle groups and joints that work with a regular squat (albeit with some differences). The greatest load is received by the quadriceps (consisting of four muscles: lateral, direct, intermediate and medial) and large gluteal muscles.
To a lesser extent (although also very significantly) the muscles of the back of the thigh – biceps are loaded.
The static load falls on the extensor muscles (they have to maintain the bend of the spine throughout the exercise) and the abdominal muscles (their task is to increase intrauterine pressure, thereby additionally fixing the vertebral discs).
Differences between squats in Smith’s simulator from classic squats with a barbell
Thanks to a slightly different technique, the load is accentuated on the middle and lower parts of the quadriceps, partially unloading the buttocks. In fact, the efficiency of using the Smith simulator is slightly lower than that of ordinary squats with free weight – in this case, the body stabilizer muscles “turn off” from work, since you do not need to constantly monitor the correct position of the body. However, this same nuance is not only a disadvantage, but also an advantage – it becomes much easier and safer to perform an exercise.
To whom, when and why you need to do squats in Smith’s simulator
What is better to include in the program – a regular squat or squats in “Smith” – is a rather controversial and controversial issue. On the one hand – maximum efficiency, on the other – safety and a lightweight version. That is why every athlete has to solve this issue independently. Bodybuilding is quite a “flexible” sport, and there is where to turn around.
Like the classic squat, this exercise is relevant for all athletes. Especially newcomers should pay attention to it: thanks to a simplified technique, it is thus much easier to start mass building.
Experienced athletes usually squat in the Smith simulator periodically to diversify their program.
On the day of training the muscles of the legs, immediately after warming up – like any other “base”.
It’s important to perform such squats at any time: when typing, they will help to quickly gain muscle mass, and when “drying” – to get a “dry” relief.
The essence of the implementation of any base is the maximum possible load on the muscles used. No isolating exercises can compare in terms of performance with multi-joint exercises – so that they are the basis of any program.
Regularly doing squats in Smith’s simulator will allow you to quickly increase your hips, give your buttocks the right shape and strengthen your back muscles.
Smith Squat Technique
- We stand under the bar, abutting against it with trapeziums. We put our hands on top, at a convenient distance from each other.
- We remove the bar from the stops, if there is – we fold the fasteners (usually performed in the form of hooks) and straighten.
- Feet set on the width of the shoulders a little forward from the line of the body – about 20 centimeters.
- Inhale, hold our breath, and begin to move. Squat gently while pulling the hip joint back (you can imagine that you are sitting on a chair or bench – the movement is almost identical). Keep dropping until the hips are parallel to the floor.
- Without delays at the lower point, we immediately begin the reverse movement. We exhale when the bar passes most of the trajectory.
- Repeat the required number of times.
Important nuances and tips
- Working weight. Due to the reduced load on the spine and the presence of a sound safety system, you can perform the exercise with maximum weight. However, remember that the load on muscle groups is distributed a little differently than in a regular squat – therefore, you should not immediately hang the same weight.
- The number of repetitions. Depending on the period of employment: when recruiting – from 5 to 10 (with average or maximum weight), when working out the relief – from 10 to 20 (with minimum or average weight).
- Execution speed. Moving, especially down, should be emphasized smoothly and slowly. Straighten – too. High speed of movement contributes to the appearance of inertia, which reduces the load.
- Body. Mandatory nuance: the body must remain stationary during the exercise. The slightest flexion of the back can cause injury.
- Head. Throughout the movement, the head remains motionless, and looks strictly in front of itself.
- Delay at the bottom. It is not necessary to linger at performance – it is inefficient. Ideally, the exercise should be non-stop, in one smooth motion.
- Abdominal Press. Make sure that during the movement the abs muscles are strained – to additionally fix the spinal column in the lumbar region.
- Breath holding. Holding your breath is mandatory – also for additional support to the spine.
- Feet. Putting your feet forward is a must. By placing them in line with the spine (as with classic squats), you will almost certainly tear your heels off the floor. The figure given in the description of the technique (20 centimeters) is approximate, and depends on your height. The higher the athlete, the further you should put your feet on.
- Knee-joint. The lowest point of movement is the parallel of the hips to the floor. Ideally, the knee should have a right angle at this point. Otherwise, a dangerous and harmful load on the knees increases.