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How to Do Sissy Squats on the Smith Machine: A Guide for Strong and Defined Quads

If you're seeking a way to challenge and strengthen your quadriceps and glutes there's an effective exercise you might want to consider; the sissy squat on the smith machine. The sissy squat is a variation of the squat involving bending your knees while keeping your upper body upright and leaning back slightly. It earned its name from ballet dancers and gymnasts who initially performed it showcasing their flexibility and elegance.

Nevertheless don't be deceived by the name. The sissy squat isn't an exercise. It demands strength, balance, coordination and mobility. Moreover it provides a quad workout that induces deep muscle burn and pump—leaving you sore for days.

In this article I'll elaborate on what the sissy squat is, how to execute it using the smith machine, its benefits as well as drawbacks and how to integrate it into your leg workout routine. By the end of this read through you'll gain confidence in performing the squat, on the smith machine while appreciating its rewarding outcomes.

What is the sissy squat?

The sissy squat works your quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, calves, and core. The sissy squat requires a straight torso and lean back as you lower yourself. In contrast, a squat requires a modest forward lean and an upright torso.

The lack of hip hinge movement distinguishes the squat from other versions. You don't bend or push your hips back when squatting. Instead, keep your hips aligned with your torso and knees throughout the exercise.

You have flexibility, in incorporating weights or performing the squat using just bodyweight. Various equipment options are available to assist and support your legs or ankles during this exercise including barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, resistance bands, benches, pads, straps or machines.

How to do the sissy squat on the smith machine?

The smith machine is a machine that consists of a barbell that slides up and down on vertical rails. It has hooks that allow you to lock the barbell in place at different heights. The smith machine can be used for various exercises, such as squats, bench presses, rows, shrugs, etc.

The smith machine can also be used for performing the sissy squat. The advantage of using the smith machine for the sissy squat is that it provides some stability and support for your lower legs or ankles, which can make the exercise easier and safer.

To perform the sissy squat on the smith machine, follow these steps:

  • Set up the smith machine by placing the barbell close to the bottom of the machine, on about the second hook.
  • Stand facing away from the machine with your feet shoulder-width apart and your toes pointing slightly outwards.
  • Place your lower legs or ankles against the barbell so that it rests just above your heels.
  • Grab the barbell with both hands and lift it off the hooks.
  • Place it on your upper back and shoulders like you would for a back squat.
  • Keep your head up , chest out , shoulders back , and core tight .
  • Start bending your knees while keeping your torso as straight as possible.
  • Lean back slightly as you lower yourself until your thighs are parallel to the floor or slightly below.
  • Pause for a second at the bottom and squeeze your quads hard.
  • Push yourself back up by extending your knees and driving through your heels.
  • Keep leaning back slightly as you rise until you reach the starting position.
  • Repeat for the desired number of reps.

What are the benefits and drawbacks of the sissy squat on the smith machine?

The sissy squat on the smith machine has some pros and cons that you should be aware of before trying it. Here are some of them:

Benefits

  • The sissy squat on the smith machine is an excellent exercise for isolating and developing your quads . It stretches and contracts your quads more than any other type of squat , creating more muscle damage and growth .
  • The sissy squat on the smith machine also works your glutes , hamstrings , calves , and core muscles to some extent . It improves your lower body strength , endurance , balance , coordination , and mobility .
  • The sissy squat on the smith machine is easier to learn and perform than the sissy squat without any support . The smith machine provides some stability and support for your lower legs or ankles , which can help you maintain your form and balance .
  • The sissy squat on the smith machine is safer than the sissy squat without any support . The smith machine prevents you from falling backwards or sideways , which can cause injury . It also allows you to lock the barbell in place if you need to stop or rest .

Drawbacks

  • The sissy squat on the smith machine is not a functional exercise . It does not mimic any natural movement that you do in real life or sports . It also does not train your hip hinge movement , which is important for your posture , stability , and performance .
  • The sissy squat on the smith machine can be risky for your knees if you use improper form or excessive weight . You may put too much stress on your knee joints , especially if you go too deep or lock out your knees at the top . You may also injure your ligaments , tendons , or cartilage in your knees .
  • The sissy squat on the smith machine can be limited by your equipment or environment . You may not have access to a smith machine or enough space to perform the sissy squat safely and comfortably .

How to incorporate the sissy squat on the smith machine into your leg workout?

The sissy squat using the smith machine is an addition to your leg workout routine but it shouldn't be the sole focus. It's important to incorporate squat variations like front squats, back squats, goblet squats and more. These exercises target your hip hinge movement. Engage your glutes and hamstrings effectively.

To maximize the benefits of the squat on the smith machine you can use it as a finisher or pair it with another exercise. For instance you can perform a set of squats followed by a set of sissy squats on the smith machine or vice versa. This approach allows you to work your quads from angles and intensities.


Additionally you have the flexibility to adjust the difficulty level of the squat on the smith machine based on various factors such as foot placement, grip width or stance. For example altering your foot position by bringing them together or farther apart can target your quads differently. Similarly adjusting your grip. Standing with one foot in front of the other can challenge your balance and coordination further.

By incorporating these variations into your leg workout routine with the squat, on the smith machine you can ensure a well rounded and challenging workout for your quadriceps while also engaging other muscle groups effectively.

Conclusion

The sissy squat on the smith machine is a unique and effective exercise for building strong and defined quads. It involves bending your knees while keeping your torso upright and leaning back. It can be performed on the smith machine, which provides some stability and support for your lower legs or ankles.

The sissy squat on the smith machine has some benefits and drawbacks that you should consider before trying it. It isolates and develops your quads more than any other type of squat, but it is not a functional exercise and it can be risky for your knees. It is easier and safer to learn and perform than the sissy squat without any support, but it can be limited by your equipment or environment.

You can incorporate the sissy squat on the smith machine into your leg workout, but it should not be the only exercise. You should also include other types of squats that train your hip hinge movement and work your glutes and hamstrings more. You can use the sissy squat on the smith machine as a finisher or a superset with another exercise, or vary its difficulty by changing your foot position, grip width, or stance.