The Sideways Smith Machine Squat is a Move That will Totally Rock Your Quads
This fact means more muscle activation is driven to your quads and glutes.
But the fixed ROM means the body must adjust; for some, their joints don’t enjoy the lack of variability in the range of motion. But when Smith machine squats are programmed correctly as an accessory exercise, they are another tool in the toolbox to improve your regular squats and build massive glutes and quads.
“The Sideways Smith Machine squat takes advantage of the Smith Machine by utilizing the fact that all the energy is spent vertically. The fixed range of motion eliminates any need for extra energy spent balancing the load.
Turning sideways removes the disadvantage of the fixed ROM by allowing the hips to be in a perfect position relative to the bar. The feet can be moved to the correct position for each individual’s unique torso and limb length so each lifter’s movement pattern is optimal. It allows for a leg-press-type motion with the additional benefits of the squat, such as glute activation, hip power, range of motion, and core strength,” explains Prather.
Sideways Smith machine squats, unlike the regular variation, is an offset exercise because the load is outside your center of mass. So, ensure your hips and core are strong enough to move the weight evenly with both legs. If not, drop the weight and aim for proper form on each side.
Take time to put the bar in a position on your traps (close to where they meet your neck) to prevent injury and eliminate unnecessary movement during the lift from adjusting the bar position. Adjust for comfort if necessary, or add a squat pad for extra comfort.
Adjust your foot position to a distance that allows your hips to drop below knee level at the bottom. Doing so will activate the glutes and allow you to build and generate power in your hips when rising from the hole.
Keep your torso upright as possible, with your shoulders back and your chest up, to protect your lower back and to keep your spine neutral for the entire movement. This allows the lower body to do the necessary work to keep the weight moving vertically.
Prather recommends three to five sets with repetitions of six to eight on each side with little to no rest between sides. Start with a manageable weight that lets you maintain proper form before going heavy.
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