Why The Smith Machine Is Better Than Barbells For The Front Squat

A new look at the front squat.

Everyone knows free weights are better, right? The age old question between free weights vs. machines have been answered and the balance and muscle activation it takes to move a weight in free space makes it head and shoulders above the rest. Right, but wrong. While free weights maybe better better in functional movement, if you want to wow the crowd, you better re-think that Smith Machine baby!

While barbells are great for a front squat for football or any other functional sport, front squatting with a smith machine takes pressure off the rhomboid and back muscles, allowing you to do higher reps with higher weights. In a traditional front squat once the rhomboids or back muscles get tired then it makes it harder to hold the barbell in place for a proper squat. The Smith Machine makes it  far easier to hold the bar in rack position therefore letting you get extra reps in. As most builders know, using a machine allows you to lift higher weights as the smaller muscles used for balance don’t have to work as hard. This allows you to use higher weight with higher reps while focusing on a specific area. Translation: your legs are about to BLOW UP!

Here’s IFBB Pro Mark Dugdale showing us this theory in action.

Apply this to not only the front squat but to any exercise you want to focus on primarily for size. Now when you see a Smith Machine you don’t have to deflate in disappointment, take it for what it’s worth.

In truth you should use both methods, barbell front squat to lay down the foundation and then the Smith Machine to add the candy red paint. Fashion over function? Choosing is a thing of the past, incorporate both exercises into your arsenal for second looks and major gainzzzzz.

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