Machine Squat VS Barbell Squat


We know that the squat is one of the king exercises for strength gains and also for boosting testosterone and growth hormone in the body. But which type of squat is best. In this post we compare the differences between machine squat (Smith machine) and barbell squat (Free weights) to see which one has the most positive benefits. What is best for muscle growth? What is best to prevent injuries? What is best for strength? Well let’s cover all these questions one by one.

What is the best for muscle growth?
Performing barbell squat with free weights will engage your core and stabilizer muscles and you have greater fibers muscles being used during this exercise tan doing machine squats, leading to a better hypertrophy. Barbell squat is the winner.
What is the safest for injuries?

It is a big mistake to use the smith machine for squatting. People believe they are doing free weights while using the smith machine, but the squat motion is much more complicated than the motion of the smith machine. It is not because an Olympic barbell is attached to the machine, that you are performing a squat. The unnatural movement pattern of the smith machine will put lot of stress on your joints and your body, this could lead to injuries. As opposite, the barbell squat using free weights when performed correctly will be adapted to your own body structure, you can do many variation depending on your body length proportions, allowing you to perform this exercise without any harmful stress on your joints or your body. Barbell squat is the winner.

What is the best for strength?

It is very to answer this question. The smith machine is a 2D exercise, the barbell being on track and guided, it just can go up and down, eliminating the stabilizing function of the muscles and ending in an easier exercise than the free weight squat. However the barbell squat with free weights is a 3D exercise, meaning it engages your core and stabilizer muscles, all your muscle will need to stabilize the weight, because the barbell is not guided at all during the exercise. In fact, it your body which is guiding the barbell, you have the total control of the weight, which means that you use more fibers and also you will develop more raw strength than using a machine. Barbell squat is the winner.


Without a doubt we can say that the barbell squat with free weight is better in every aspect over the smith machine squat. It is also same thing with any other machines that try to recreate a motion which is nearly impossible to recreate as the human body is very complexed and different from one person to another person.


So my advice to you guys is to start learning squatting properly with free weights, it will make you bigger, stronger, and will keep injuries at bay!