How Smith Machine Lunges Isolate Your Legs For Growth


Beef up your legs with smith machine lunges.

While using free weights to enhance our leg day is great, a smith machine can be of great assistance and smith machine lunges are a safe and effective way to build lower body strength. While there are many exercises to perform to build those legs, using a smith machine can allow you to work on form while also packing on the weight to really increase growth. While some may not approve of smith machine lifts, don’t let that deter you from a great exercise in smith machine lunges.

Lunges are a great way to build strength and promote power and explosivity. For those sport specific movements, the benefits of the lunges cannot be overstated. For bodybuilders looking for a real increase in size, what you will find is that lunges allow for those quads to become defined. A great exercise to include in your leg day routine, lunges, in particular smith machine lunges, can give you the best lower body development around.

Let’s take a look at smith machine lunges and see what makes this exercise so great. From what it is, to muscles worked, the many benefits associated with it, and how best to perform it, you will have all the tools to enhance your gains and build serious lower body strength.

smith machine lunges

What Are Smith Machine Lunges?

Smith machine lunges are an exercise using the smith machine to target your quads, as well as other lower body muscles, in a compound movement to increase strength and provide for many other benefits.

A pushing motion, this also works to improve power and explosivity and as a beginner exercise, is great for those lifters of all ages. Since this uses the smith machine, it is a safe exercise, but focusing on form is key for you don’t want to build bad habits. Nice alternatives exist using free weights, like barbells, dumbbells, and kettlebells as well to shake up your workouts.

Muscles Worked

With smith machine lunges, your quads are the primary muscle worked. As a result of the pushing movement, your quads will feel a burn and will receive the most gains. Other secondary muscles associated with and worked with this exercise are your hamstrings, calves, glutes, and adductors.

All of these work for strength, support, and stabilization of the movement to better enhance growth. Since your core should be engaged throughout, you do get some core work done here too.

smith machine lunges

Benefits Of Smith Machine Lunges

The benefits of smith machine lunges are hard to ignore and putting this in your routine will be a game changer. For those who dread leg day, change that mindset and look to include a great workout into the mix.

Benefits of smith machine lunges include:

  • Increased quad growth: Working to really improve strength and size in those quads, smith machine lunges can give you that desired growth you want most (1).
  • Other lower body development: By working other lower body muscles, you can target muscles like your hamstrings and glutes for better development of your lower half.
  • Less back strain: With the smith machine, you can focus on form and alleviate any unwanted strain on your back, especially your low back.
  • Improved lifts: Working this into your routine, you work to build more improvement with bigger lifts like the squat.
  • Nice variation: This is a nice variation of the traditional lunge that allows you to pack on weight to see even bigger growth.
  • Enhanced safety and effectiveness: The smith machine can enhance safety and effectiveness by providing the chance to focus on form and give you a chance to increase weight in an ambitious, yet responsible, way.

How To Perform Them

Here are the steps for performing smith machine lunges:

  1. Position the bar on the smith machine to where it is most comfortable. Step under and have the bar rest on your shoulder blades. Using a pad will help here too.
  2. Lifting the bar off the rack, step one foot forward into a lunge with your back knee almost touching the ground.
  3. Drive through your foot and return to the starting position.
  4. Repeat for your desired number of sets and reps.

Best Smith Machine Exercises To Pair With

The smith machine and smith machine exercises tend to be understated but what these can do are increase your gains by allowing you to focus on form while still packing on weight. Other great exercises for the smith machine include those like the smith machine deadlift, to really give your overall deadlift development a boost, and front squats, so you can challenge yourself without unwanted strain.

To isolate certain muscles, smith machine calf raises and smith machine shrugs will allow you to focus on that singular group to build better strength and size in an effective way.

Smith Machine Lunges Alternatives

The nice part about this exercise is that there are many alternatives you can use to change up your workouts to still see similar gains for this exercise. While smith machine lunges are a variation of the traditional lunge already, knowing the other exercises that involve the lunging motion can better improve strength, power, and explosivity for only the best gains to your lower half (2).

Alternative exercises to the smith machine lunges include:

  • Dumbbell Lunges
  • Barbell Lunges
  • Kettlebell Lunges
  • Bulgarian Split Squats
  • Single-Leg Press
  • Reverse Lunges
  • Step-Ups

Wrap Up

Smith machine lunges are a great lower body exercise to increase quad growth while aiding in the development of those other lower body muscles. With benefits like strength, size, less back strain, and more gains, this is a must have in your leg day routine. Plenty of alternatives exist as well to shake things up and provide for a perfect lower body routine. Give smith machine lunges a try and see what these can do for all your lower body gains today.


  1. Jonhagen, S.; et al. (Forward lunge: a training study of eccentric exercises of the lower limbs”. (source)
  2. Cronin, J.; et al. (2003). “Lunge performance and its determinants”. (source)
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