Smith machine workouts are great when the gym is busy, and you want to claim a spot, get your whole leg day workout in without having to wait in line for other equipment.
Smith machine exercises like smith machine step ups and smith machine split squats are typically done using dumbbells or barbells, but doing them on the smith machine is another variation you can try for your next workout.
I have listed out a detailed description for each exercise, made a demo video of the full workout and below you will see a picture of the written out workout so you can screenshot it and have it handy on your phone at the gym.
3 Sets of 10 Smith Machine Side Step Ups
Position a box, bench, stack a few weight plates or use an aerobic class steppers little off center to one side. Start with one foot on the box and the other on the ground a little closer than shoulder width. Again, it might take a few tries to find the perfect stance. Bend your elevated leg and squat down. Push off the elevated foot to rise back up.
2. 3 Sets of 8 Smith Machine Split Squats
Split squats are like lunges with your back foot elevated and a slightly closed stance. When you lower into the lunge position, you want your front leg to form a 90-degree angle and be sure your knee doesn’t go over your toe. Again, I recommend keeping the weight light for these and increasing the number of repetitions if you need more of a challenge.
3. 3 Sets of 10 Smith Machine Squats
Before you start adding weight bring the bar down to the right height for you. Your form when using the smith machine for squats isn’t much different than barbell squats. Feet about shoulder width apart, maybe a little wider and toes pointing slightly out.
Only thing I’d do a little different is take one or two small steps forward so you can sit back like you are sitting in a chair. It might feel awkward at first and may take a few tries to find what works for you.
Don’t try to be superwomen, start pretty light, maybe even just the bar and make sure you keep your core tight and don’t lean too far forward.
4. 3 Sets of 10 Smith Machine Close Stance Squats
Same as regular smith machine squats, but a narrow stance, feet about 3 inches apart. This really targets your quads.
With both regular stance and narrow stance be sure the bar is on your shoulders, not your neck and keep your knees pointing forward.
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5. 3 Sets of 10 Smith Machine Vertical Leg Press
Find the thickest mat you can find in your gym and lie underneath the bar. The tricky part with these is positioning yourself under the bar in the right spot, but you want the bar to rest on the middle of your feet, and when you lower the bar your knees should tuck at chest height.
Then drive through your feet to press the bar back up. Do not lock out your knees.
6. 3 Sets of 8 Smith Machine Single Leg RDL
Stand with your feet shoulder with apart and a slight bend your knees. Bend at your waist, lifting one leg back, back straight, and lower the barbell as if you were picking something up from the ground until you feel a stretch in your hamstring. Then raise your upper body back to your starting position the same way. I recommend keeping the weight light for these and increasing the number of repetitions if you need more of a challenge.