Strength, GYM, Ⓑ Level B Athletes, Ⓒ Level C Athletes

Smith Machine Chair Squat

*Note Alternate exercise below with no equipment

Be sure not to allow the knee to travel beyond the toes when in squatted position/

Be sure not to allow the knee to travel beyond the toes when in squatted position/

Starting position

  1. Set the Smith machine bar to just under shoulder height.

  2. Stand under the bar with the bar across the back of your shoulders, and grasp it at both sides.

  3. Unlatch the bar by rotating it, and stand erect to lift it off the rack.

  4. Take a step forward and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, with your feet pointing slightly out to the sides.


  1. Keeping your back straight and your torso upright, inhale as you lower the bar by flexing your hips and knees. Descend until your thighs are at least parallel with the floor.

  2. Exhale as you push the bar back up by extending your hips and knees, driving through your heels.

  3. Repeat.

  4. Once finished, latch the bar back on to the rail by rotating it.

Comments and tips

  • Keep your feet flat, your torso upright, your chest up, and your head facing forward.

  • Keep your feet and knees pointing in the same direction (slightly out to the sides).

  • If new to the Smith chair squat, perform the exercise without additional weight until you get used to it.

  • The Smith chair squat is different from the Smith squat and the barbell squat in that you bring your feet forward from under the bar. The more you bring your feet forward, the more emphasis you will place on your glutes and hamstrings instead of your quadriceps. As such, the Smith chair squat is glute/hamstring-dominant, whereas the Smith and barbell squats are quad-dominant.

NOTE: this session can be done without a dumbbell. Use another similar sized object as weight or none at all.

Start by standing up straight, shoulders back.

Your feet should be shoulder-width apart and your toes should be pointing forward, with the majority of your weight resting on your heels (but not so much that your toes come off the ground).

Keeping your head up and your spine neutral, bend at the hips and knees knee as you lower your upper body into a sitting position (90 degree angle at the knees … or even deeper if you’re more advanced) using your quads for strength to keep you from crashing to the floor since there isn’t actually a chair there for you to sit on.

Proper Squat FromNothing else except some ankle flexion should be happening and your butt should be sticking out far behind you. Also make sure your nose stays over your hips and your knees do not cross in front of your toes.

Be very careful not to rise up onto your toes.

You’ll need to concentrate on leaning slightly back so that your torso stays erect and your weight stays mainly on your heels. This can be difficult and feel unnatural at first and takes some practice.

If you need to actually place a bench or chair behind you under your butt, so you know where you’re aiming at first then do it.

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