The Smith squat involves many people who criticize him and others who defend him. But what are the positive and negative points of its use?

The Smith squat, or guided bar, as some prefer, divides opinions. Some defend it, others say it is bad for students’ muscular and functional development. As I always like to point out, the vast majority of exercises have contraindications for people or contexts. They can be used at different times, with great benefits.

If we are going to rely on Smith squats, we will see that this is exactly the case. There are times when it is not as effective and even contraindicated. In others, it helps to compose a highly efficient strategy.

But before we speak more specifically of this point, we have to understand the arguments of the people who say it should not be used.

Smith Squat, Execution Issues

Let’s start from the point that the practitioner has no execution problems in this movement. This way we can only evaluate its benefits and harms.

Because the bar is guided, ie has a linear and fixed path, we have some questions.

In the exercise, we have a slight forward tilt of the trunk to maintain balance. This is the functional movement. That is, the trajectory of the trunk is not linear. It projects forward between 15 and 45 degrees, depending on each case.

In squats on the guided bar, this does not happen. That is, there is no greater distribution of the load by the trunk. Thus, depending on how the movement is performed, there is a greater overload on the lumbar portion.

There are already machines on the market that do this degree of trunk angulation, but they are still not very popular in the gym. Also, there are many people who do the squats wrong on Smith. From foot placement, movement, breadth and everything. But in this case, it’s not a device problem, right?

Common errors and correct execution

ERROR 1: Very common in the gym, because in the search for a 90 ° angle, people lean on the bar putting their feet forward, thus causing pressure on the cervical spine, caused by the bar itself and, when descending, rectifies the lumbar , causing an overload on the vertebral discs, and leaving the exercise inefficient for thighs and buttocks.

ERROR 2: Proper initial positioning, but on the way down the hip is not projected, causing an overload in the knees and lower back. In this case, we can see that in all movement, only the anterior part of the foot is being forced against the ground.


CORRECT IMPLEMENTATION: Positioning under the bar, as with free bar squats, feet aligned, starting the deciding motion with hip projection back and performing the descent in a straight line. In the ascent phase, distribute all the overload on the feet so as to press both the heel and the front of the feet against the floor.