Squats vs. Seated Leg Press vs Smith Machine Squat

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 05, 2008 6:43 PM GMT
    I have injured my lower back on four different occasions, once doing the normal squat. I was not wearing my belt that day. (Yeah, stupid). After that healing, I have not returned to doing the squats because I can feel the lower bones in my spine move around sometimes and I fear injuring my back again. However, I really liked to do the squats because of the results, even more so than what I am doing now which is the Seated Leg Press. Recently I have noticed guys doing a similar squat exercise on the Smith Machine. They have their feet way forward of the bar and dip down to a full "seated" position. I was thinking that I could go back to doing squats on that machine because the machine would give me control so I would not twist my lower back like I did when I injured it.

    What I want to know is, does anyone do squats on the Smith Machine and what do you think? Also, which exercise do you think is better, the normal squat or the leg raise and why?

    (there is a new article this week on the squat so that is what got me thinking about this)icon_smile.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 05, 2008 10:07 PM GMT
    Stick with the leg press - but look for a prone leg press rather than a seated one.

    I suggest you get a copy of Target Bodybuilding - Amazon has it:

    http://www.amazon.com/dp/0880119381?tag=primefitnessi-20&camp=14573&creative=327641&linkCode=as1&creativeASIN=0880119381&adid=1T5BRE8GS9KZMQYWGVEH&

    You'll see that by pairing a prone leg press with a leg curl, you can get very full leg stimulation without the risk to your back.

    Joey
    NSCA-CPT
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 05, 2008 10:14 PM GMT
    I have found that a seated leg press is likely to injure my hip. Something about the motion is unnatural for me, because it is difficult to keep everything aligned. I think the seated press puts more stress on the hip than a squat does.

    I do squats on a smith machine, and on a special squat machine, and I try to keep my legs in the same positions as with free weights. I just use the machine when working out alone for safety.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 06, 2008 12:53 AM GMT
    Tanktop, I suspect you're going too "low" - the knees should not go further than a 90 degree angle, and the hips SHOULD NOT MOVE during the exercise.
  • DiverScience

    Posts: 1426

    Jan 06, 2008 4:31 AM GMT
    Seconding Joey, if you're having real back problems, skip the squats. Too easy to hurt yourself. Normally I'm a BIG squat proponent, but not if it's gonna cause permanent injury.

    Smith Machine squats suck. In order not to injure yourself you have to do modified ones that are awkward.

    Leg press, make sure you're not going past 90, but otherwise those are the best if you're having back problems.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Apr 04, 2014 9:36 PM GMT
    Do you use shoes when you squat or barefoot? Just wondering. I am barefoot when I squat.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Apr 04, 2014 9:37 PM GMT
    DiverScience saidSeconding Joey, if you're having real back problems, skip the squats. Too easy to hurt yourself. Normally I'm a BIG squat proponent, but not if it's gonna cause permanent injury.

    Smith Machine squats suck. In order not to injure yourself you have to do modified ones that are awkward.

    Leg press, make sure you're not going past 90, but otherwise those are the best if you're having back problems.


    I agree with DiverScience.

    For squats, use free barbells. Not with a smith machine.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Apr 05, 2014 7:09 AM GMT
    Not a fan of being locked into a smith machine track while doing squats, but a good alternative is squatting on the SLIDING smith machine (four planes of movement - up and down AND back and forth). Since herniating discs in my neck I've had to give up both but found a good squat substitute, squatting with the Icarian squat/hack squat machine, which leaves the neck out of the equation and allows me to squat deeper than I ever thought possible.

    P.S. - Disc problems? Squat LIGHT!