Just Use the Bar to Lift

In the fitness industry’s perpetual quest to sell more equipment, even the the simplest and most effective exercise, squatting with a bar, has been replaced by a machine. The Smith Machine consists of a barbell that is fixed within steel rails, allowing only vertical movement.

A recent study out of the University of Saskatchewan recently found that the muscle activity was 43% higher in free weight squats than with a Smith Machine. The particular muscles that were more involved were the rectus femoris (quad), biceps femoris (hamstring), and gastrocnemius (calf), due to the increased need for stabilization.

Is there ever a time or place for this machine?