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5 Home Squat Machines for Strong Legs and Toned Glutes

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5 Home Squat Machines for Strong Legs and Toned Glutes

A firm, toned derriere is the result of a lot of hard work on the squat machine. If you’re hoping to strengthen your legs and glutes while giving your core a workout in the process, squats are just about the best way to get there.

With your own home squat machine, you’ll be able to work towards your goals without driving to the gym or waiting in line at the squat rack. Having your own squat machine will offer you many advantages, helping you work more effectively to achieve your fitness goals. Eliminate excuses and barriers to exercising and getting the body you want by investing in your own gym equipment. 

Not sure where to find a quality squat machine? This buying guide will help you make important decisions about whether to purchase a squat machine, the types of squat machines available and how to choose one. In addition, we’ve included helpful information about the benefits squat exercises provide.

Why Purchase A Squat Machine?

Why Purchase A Squat Machine For FitnessWhy would you need a squat machine? Squats are one of the most essential exercises for developing and building lower body strength. Any fitness enthusiast will be sure to tell you that if you want to make progress in your lower body strength, you’d better include squats in your routine.

There are many benefits to building up your home gym equipment. If you’re like most people, you face some barriers to actually exercising on a regular basis. According to Harvard Health, some of the most common barriers to exercising include lack of time, lack of motivation, fear of being embarrassed when exercising in front of others, and weather conditions, among others.

Having your own squat machine can eliminate many of these barriers.

Without the drive to the gym, you gain precious minutes you can now spend actually working out. Furthermore, you won’t have to wait in line for the machine or worry about people watching you when you do your squats at home. Concerns about the weather are also eliminated since you won’t even have to leave the house. It could be pouring rain outside and you can still do your squats without getting wet. Finally, you need less motivation to head to your squat machine in the garage, basement or spare room than you’d need to get into the car and drive somewhere else.

In addition to making your life easier and making you more likely to exercise, having your own squat machine will offer you many health benefits.

Benefits of Doing Squats

Benefits of Using Squat Machine For FitnessSquats are an excellent exercise and target muscles from the core down. Here are just a few of the benefits that squats offer:

  • Strengthen  Muscles

Doing squats strengthens plenty of your muscles. Studies show that in particular, they strengthen your glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps and plantar flexor muscles. In addition, they strengthen your hip extensors and knee extensors (1). So, if you want to sculpt your rear and thighs, squats are essential on your list of exercises.

  • Positive Health Outcomes

Weight lifting in general, including using the squat machine, has been linked to many health benefits. Just a few of the benefits include: weight loss, strong bones, improved posture, more energy, decreased inflammation, and improved balance.

  • Mental Health Benefits

There’s a mountain of evidence that shows that weight lifting can alleviate and prevent depression. This means that you can help improve your mental health simply by hauling iron. One great way to do it is with your squat machine.

  • Real Life is Easier

Is carrying groceries in from the car a challenge? Are your back and arms tired from hauling your toddler around? When you strengthen your muscles through weight lifting exercises including squats, you will find it easier to complete your everyday tasks (2).

  • Longer Life

Strength training improves balance, bone density and muscle tone. This means that as you age, you’ll be less likely to fall. Some scientists are linking this to longer lives. So, if you want to live longer, get that squat machine, some barbells and free weight plates and make sure you include strength training in your exercise routine.

These are only some of the benefits you can gain by doing squats on a regular basis. The aesthetic advantages of squats are also unsurpassed. When you strengthen your booty and legs, you’ll get that firm, toned look you’re hoping to achieve. You’ll be able to wear those leggings or skinny jeans with pride, showing off your strong, muscular lower body.

Now that you’re up to speed on why you need a squat machine in your life, you need to learn about the various types of machines from which you can choose.

Types of Squat Machines

If you’ve been to a quality gym, you’ve probably seen a few different types of squat machines. Among all the apparatus, it’s understandable if you’re not clear on which machine is which and the names that they have. Take a look at our guide to the different types of squat machines below:

Free Weight Squat Rack

Possibly the most well-known and the most basic of squat machine options, a free weight squat rack is a great squat machine. Basically, it’s a tall rack where a barbell can rest. It also includes safety pegs so that if you max out while lifting, you can simply squat to the floor and the rack will catch the barbell. Squat racks may also feature pegs where free weights can be stored.

With a free weight squat machine, it’s up to you to know the correct form and technique for doing squats. It’s just you and the barbell and the rack for support when lifting and lowering the barbell at the start and end of your set.

A free weight squat machine is ideal for those who already have some experience doing squat exercises. However, a squat rack is appropriate for lifters of any level. You can adjust your weight as you go and also vary your form more greatly than if you use other types of machines. For home use, it’s fairly safe, thanks to the inclusion of safety bars if you should fail while lifting.

The Bottom Line

As far as squat machine types go, the rack is the most flexible. You’ll get the most mileage out of this type of machine because you can always up your weights and adjust your form to add challenge.

Smith Machine Squat

The Smith machine squat exercise is very similar to the free weight squat rack, but offers additional safety and stability features. Not only a squat machine, the Smith machine also serves as a bench press machine and can be used for other exercises as well.

The Smith machine allows you to lift the amount of weight that you’d like. But, the machine ensures that you are lifting straight up and down. The barbell moves along runners that stabilize the weight you’re moving. In addition, it includes a safety feature that means you can get help should you fail out at any point while lifting.

However, research shows that among squat machine options, the Smith machine works muscles the least. Perhaps because it offers such stability and limits the range of motion, scientists found that free weight squat caused activation of muscles that was 43% higher than the Smith machine (3).

The Bottom Line

Smith machines are ideal for beginning weight lifters who need support and help to maintain good form while lifting. They are also safer for home use where you might not have a spotter to help you. If you fail at any point while lifting, the machine can simply support the weight. However, this squat machine isn’t as effective at activating muscle as using free weights such as the squat rack.

Hack Squat Machine

Also known as the squat press machine, the hack squat machine is a piece of weight lifting equipment that allows you to lift in a reclined position. According to the Strength and Conditioning Journal, the main advantage of the equipment is that it reduces stress on the knees while still strengthening the muscles in the legs and buttocks.

The support provided by the hack squat machine also means that your core muscles don’t have to work as hard. As a result, lifters can usually lift more weight using the hack squat machine than using free weights (4). However, this doesn’t make hack machine squats better than squats done with free weights. They’re just different. You’ll work more muscle groups with free weight squats due to the instability, but you can still get a good workout with the hack squat machine.

The hack squat provides similar safety advantages to the Smith machine. Even if you don’t have a spotter, the machine is safe to use thanks to the support the machine provides. In addition, it’s ideal for people who have suffered knee or core injuries and need support in these areas.

The Bottom Line

Opt for a hack squat machine if you’re a beginner or struggle with knee or back injuries. This machine is very safe for home use and will help you develop your lower body. However, it’s not as versatile as the squat rack, which activates more muscle groups.

The Best Squat Machines on the Market

Ready to learn more about the best squat machine products on the market for home use? Purchase a squat machine and you’ll be able to get your squats in a few times a week and build those legs and glutes you’ve been hoping to achieve.

Fitnessator’s Top Pick

Fitness Realty Super Max Power Cage

Fitness Realty Super Max Power CageWhy We Love It:

This power cage squat machine is versatile and durable. Add in a weight bench and your free weights and you can do a complete lifting routine with this cage.

Details:

  • Weight capacity of up to 800 pounds
  • Choose to purchase just the cage or include the lat pulldown attachment
  • Features safety bars
  • Doubles as a pull up station

Things to Consider:

To use this equipment, you’ll have to purchase your own barbells and free weights.

Customer Reviews:

Customers love this rack because it’s sturdy and allows them to perform a wide range of exercises including squats.

Who Should Purchase This Product:

If you’re hoping to do free weight squats, this is a great rack that will also allow you to bench, do pull ups, and include other cage attachments for other exercises.

Fitnessator’s Runner Up

Body-Solid Leg Press/Hack Squat Machine

Body-Solid Leg Press/Hack Squat MachineWhy We Love It:

This Hack squat machine offers a commercial grade piece of equipment you can use to lift heavy weights without putting yourself at risk.

Details:

  • Can be modified to do squats or leg presses
  • Heavy duty materials
  • Weight capacity of 1000 pounds

Things to Consider:

This is a great piece of equipment and the price tag matches. Consider it an investment.

Customer Reviews:

Customers love the smooth operation of the machine and comment that it feels solid.

Who Should Purchase This Product:

If you want to lift heavier amounts of weight, but don’t have a spotter, this piece of equipment is ideal for you. It offers great safety features that allow you to stop lifting whenever you max out. It’s also great for those with knee issues.

Fitnessator’s Honorable Mention

CAP Barbell Power Rack Exercise Stand

CAP Barbell Power Rack Exercise StandWhy We Love It:

This basic, but solid, no-frills squat rack is perfect for fitness enthusiasts on a bit of a budget. You can do your squat machine exercises with no problem, as long as you get your own bar and free weights.

Details:

  • Weight capacity of 500 pounds
  • Made of heavy-duty steel tubing
  • Also features a pull-up bar

Things to Consider:

You’ll need to purchase your own bellbar and free weights to use this product.

Customer Reviews:

Customers are thrilled that this product is durable, stable and very affordable.

Who Should Purchase This Product:

If you need something basic, but sturdy and reliable, this is the squat machine for you. It offers very basic safety catches, so it’s best if you can use a spotter while squatting with this rack.

An All-In-One Workout Machine With Squat Rack

Marcy Workout Machine

Marcy Workout MachineWhy We Love It:

This product offers you so much more than a squat rack. With this home gym, you can meet all of your basic lifting needs.

Details:

  • Features squat rack to use with free weights
  • Includes weight bench with leg developer, bicep preacher curl, lat bar, triceps rope, chrome row handle, ankle strap, butterfly press station and linear-bearing smith machine
  • Weight capacity of 300 pounds for bar and 600 pounds for weight bench

Things to Consider:

You’ll need to purchase weight plates to use this machine.

Customer Reviews:

Customers are generally happy with this machine, in particular they are impressed by its versatility and the affordable price.

Who Should Purchase This Product:

If you don’t have any home gym equipment and want to get started, you might want to invest in a workout machine like this that will allow you to perform many different exercises. However, more advanced lifters might prefer a more robust, heavier gauge machine.

Rugged Squat Machine and Calf Raise

Body Solid Leverage Squat Calf Machine

Body Solid Leverage Squat Calf MachineWhy We Love It:

This squat machine is a commercial grade piece of equipment that will allow you to do squats with great form safely even if you don’t have a spotter.

Details:

  • For doing squats and calf raises
  • Weight capacity of 800 pounds
  • Features weight plate storage posts

Things to Consider:

You’ll need to purchase your own weight plates to use this machine.

Customer Reviews:

Customers are thrilled with the quality of the product.

Who Should Purchase This Product:

If you want to lift heavy amounts safely without a spotter, this machine is the one for you. With it, you can use great squat form without modifying the position from traditional squats much at all.

Must Haves in Your Squat Machine

Choosing The Best Squat Machine For FitnessEveryone has a different ideal machine depending on your needs, abilities, and preferences. So, how do you make the final call? Consider these “must haves” and the “What to avoid” section below to help you make your decision.

Affordable

Before you make your purchase, look into your finances and decide on a realistic amount you can spend. It’s better to make a sound financial choice than to stretch your budget beyond what you can afford.

If you end up seeing a squat machine you’d absolutely love, figure out how to save up for it over time rather than making an impulse purchase.

Versatile

If you can buy one piece of equipment that you can use to perform several exercises, that’s great! Always consider this factor when making your decision. This might be the deciding factor between two machines. The more versatile the machine, the more bang for your buck.

This is only true if you don’t already have equipment in your home gym that serves the additional functions.

The Right Size

With size, you have to consider your height and the space you have available in your home. Some machines have lower and upper height limits for users. Remember to consider weight as well. Double check the machine’s limits before making your purchase. Don’t forget to consider other people in your home who will use the equipment!

Also, remember to keep in mind how much space you have available in your home. Double check dimensions and measure out the space you’d need in your garage, basement or gym space. In addition to the footprint of the equipment, you’ll need a bit of extra space around it so that you can maneuver in and out of the machine.

Durable

No one wants to purchase a piece of equipment that works for a few days and then falls apart. Comb through the reviews and product information carefully! Look for materials like steel. You can also check the shipping weight of the product to get an idea of how hefty the equipment is. Finally, the weight capacity is another indicator of how durable the equipment is designed to be. The higher the weight capacity, the better.

What to Avoid in a Squat Machine

As with any product, there are some bad quality squat machine options out there. Make sure you don’t choose a bad machine by following our list of what to avoid:

Bad Quality Materials

Products with very low shipping weights and weight capacities aren’t made for robust use. Also, avoid products made out of light-weight metals like aluminum.

No Growth Potential

As a weight-lifter and fitness enthusiast, your goal should be to lift more and more. If you pick a squat machine with a weight capacity that’s too close to your current lifting ability, you won’t be able to grow.

Another concern is if you choose a type of machine that won’t provide you with enough challenge. Remember that Smith machines and Hack squat machines aren’t as challenging as free weights. Make sure you choose a squat machine type that aligns with your long-term goals.

User Risks

Weight the risks between the different types of squat machines to ensure you choose one with a risk level you can live with. Will you be lifting at home without any spotters? Do you struggle with weak or injured knees? Then you might prefer to choose a hack squat or smith machine option. However, if you’re already a competent lifter and can use the safety bars offered by a squat rack, then this option will allow you greater flexibility and versatility in your workouts.

The Bottom Line on Purchasing a Squat Machine

With a quality squat machine in your home gym, you can develop your glutes, quads, legs, and core, building a body you’ll be proud to show off. Now that you know exactly what to look for in a squat machine, all that’s left is to make that final decision. Before you know it you’ll be squatting like a pro and have the body to go with it!

Already have a home squat machine? Tell us about your buying experience and the pros and cons of your machine in the comments below.

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