types of squat machines

Types of Squat Machines for Toned Quads and Glutes

Athletes and fitness enthusiasts use various types of squat machines to help them do different types of squats. Which piece of equipment do you need for your squats? I guess this is the question in your mind. When a product has multiple designs, it’s difficult to choose the right one.

In this article, we’ll cover the most common types. So, read on if you’re looking for the best machines for your workouts. This actionable guide is here to help you fully understand the different types of machines.

Our Top Pick Swat Machines at a Glance:

If you are short on time, here are our top 4 picks:

1. Sissy Squat Machine

2. Hack Squat Home Gym 

3. Smith Squat Machine 

4. Belt Squat D8X Machine

To better understand these machines and why we should squat with machines, it’s important to understand the different squat variations that influence the design of squat machines. Let’s get started!


Squats Variations Performed on Squat Machines

What are the different types of squats?

There are over 10 types of squats that you can add to your workout plan, each variation named depending on the style or tool used to perform these squats.

However, the common denominator in naming a squat are the muscle groups targeted by a variation and the equipment used to perform it.

1. Hack squats

This variation is done on a squat hack machine. Hack squat recruits the muscles of your entire lower body like the quads, glutes, calves and hamstring.

It significantly isolates the quads and engages your core to a fair extent. While on the machine, you push your way up with resistance weight padded on your shoulders.

You can either be at an angle position or upright and adjust the weight plates to match your level.

2. Smith machine squat

You can simply describe this as “mechanized barbell squat”, designed with a loader bar that you adjust to your shoulder level.

You then load the weights and perform the squat as you would with the barbell variation.

It recruits both lower and upper body muscle groups.

3. Leg press

This is an inverted hack squat. As the name suggests, you use your legs to push the weights.

You lie with your back flat or at an angle and push the weight on the leg press machine at an almost upward angle.

4. Sissy squat

Sissy squats can only be performed on a Sissy squat machine. This variation effectively isolates your quads than any other variety. You will use your body weight as resistance, but you can also do it with added weights for an extra challenge.

5. Belt Squat

To perform a Belt squat, you need a squat style of machine specially made with a belt that you tie around your waist and attach to the resistance weight. This variation mainly works the lower body without exerting much pressure to your back, spine or shoulders.

6. Barbell squat

You perform a Barbell squat with the barbell across your shoulder. It is a free weight variation and one of the most extreme variations of squats. It gradually summons almost all muscle groups to action. With a barbell, you can do further modifications like overhead, front squat, Zercher squat, Bulgarian split squats, and many others.

This is a representation of the different types of squat variations and how they perform on different squat machines. As you may have observed, the squat variations match the name of the squat machine used.

Now that we have an idea of squats variations and the muscles they recruit, you must be curious to know about the different types of squat machines. We’ll get to that next.

Read Next: Best weight bench with squats rack for your home gyms

Types of Squat Machines 

1. Sissy Squat Machine

Element Fitness Sissy Squat Machine Superior Leg Extension Substitute

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Don’t underestimate the power of this small and compact machine. A Sissy squat machine is one of the smallest training machines you can find in a gym. It’s a simple machine made of padded metal and a bar at the bottom that helps hold your feet flat on the ground.

This compact machine will take you through a series of challenging exercises to work your core, quads, and glutes in a way that you have never thought possible.

A Sissy machine recruits your quads to create a balance between the posterior and anterior muscles, isolating the quads without exerting too much pressure on your knees. The nature of a sissy set of exercises improves your entire body balance and strengthens the core.


This machine firmly holds your legs in position to allow your body weight to create the desired challenge. Some of the best Sissy squat machines in 2022 in the market are:

1.1 CFF Pro Series GHD Sissy Squat Training Bench

This highly rated machine has a weight capacity of up to 500 pounds and remarkably firm padding. Its distinct design makes it easier for you to execute precise reps without cheating, so it’s definitely a choice to consider.

1.2 Pro Sissy Squat from TDS 

This high-end brand from TDS features non-slippery footsteps, adjustable and firmly padded cushion, and white powder coating to prevent corrosion. It provides comfort to your legs as you work out.

Pro Sissy Squat from TDS 

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1.3 Yukon SSQ-100Fitness Sissy Squat

Constructed of commercial 4″x6″ gauge steel lends this sissy squat unquestionable durability. It has a wide 19-inch footplate, weighs 60 pounds, and requires minimal space.

The Yukon SSQ-100Fitness Sissy Fitness Squat Exerciser helps to isolate muscles of your lower body effectively.

1.4 GYMAX Sissy Squat Machine

This amazing 8-in-1 short workout machine not only helps you do sissy squats but also over 8 other exercises.

It features rope exercises, push-ups, a variety of sissy squats, and other workouts. It has adjustable height and padding to hold you comfortably in position as you exercise.

Since it’s a multi exercise tool, it’s a convenient choice for your home gym.

GYMAX Deep Sissy Squat Machine, 8 in 1 Multifunction Sissy Squat Bench, Leg Exercise Machine for Home Gym Workout


1.5 Conquer 3-in-1 Workout Home Gym Machine

This 3-in-1 provides for deep sissy squats, sit-ups, and push-ups, helping you train and isolate your muscle at home with very minimal space required.

It is small in size and very simple to assemble. The calf pad is large enough and adjustable, with rollers for comfortably locking your feet.

2. Hack Squat Home Gym 

Body-Solid EXM3000LPS Multi-Station

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You can do hack squats either with a barbell or a squat hack machine, but performing hack squats on a squat hack machine is more efficient and gives phenomenal results.

Hack squats work your gluteus maximus and quads slowly. The good thing about this machine is that you can use it to perform both the hack squats and leg press.

Like any other product, hack squat equipment come in different designs and sizes to fit your needs and preference. A squat gym machine is designed to make your workouts more effective and enjoyable.


By design, it helps you maintain proper form throughout your exercise. As you may already know, maintaining form is one of the biggest challenges for most people doing squats, but not anymore. With these 5 select models of squat hack machines, you’re on your way to your best form ever!

2.1 Body-Solid EXM3000LPS Light Commercial Gym

This is the ultimate full commercial hack squat exercise machine that allows up to three people to train at the same time. You heard that right – three people simultaneously! It’s literally a mini-gym in one machine.

It features a non-slip footplate and firmly padded parts for extra comfort. It has weights, bars and other specifications to let you perform more than just squats.

2.2  Body-Solid Leg Press

This is a relatively small-sized squat hack machine that you can set up in your garage and use for both hack squats and leg press exercises.

It has smooth weight motions and a three-point weight lockout position. The firm padding provides steady and comfortable back support as you press weights with your legs.

2.3  Inflight Fitness Seated Leg Press with Shrouds

The Inflight Fitness machine has an artistically inspired design, demonstrating a perfect combination of comfort and workout. You no longer have to stand to do squats.

This hack squat exercise machine comes with eight different ways to sit and do hack squats. Its medium size makes it perfect for home gyms. Sit your way to fitness with this captivating machine.

2.4 Power Home Gym with Leg Press 

Train on this superb fat crusher that gives you incredible sitting comfort as you power your way to a great body. It comes with 160 lbs of weight but allows you to upgrade to 210 lbs. It is an all-around machine that lets you work out all body muscles.

2.5 TDS Calf and Squat System

Simple design with tremendous results – that’s how we describe the TDS Calf and Squat System. It is suitable for your lower body workouts and calves, allowing up to 1000 lbs of load. It has dense padding to provide comfort and minimize injury risks.

To ensure you have proper form, this machine provides a non-slippery extra-full footplate. Quick tip, a calf raise machine will help you tone your calves better than any squat machine.

3. Smith Squat Machine

Marcy Smith Cage Workout Machine Total Body Training Home Gym System with Linear Bearing Md-9010G, Silver (MD-9010)

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A Smith machine is one of the best types of machines. It comes with a barbell fixed vertically on rails and locking points along the up-down tracks to instantly stop the movement of the weights when you abruptly twist your wrist. This feature replaces the spotters found in other types of equipment. It will not only ensure your safety but also give you a lot of independence. 

A Smith machine is an all-in-one piece of equipment that allows you to perform compound exercises, including squats. It is very stable and has a mechanism to guide the barbell on its path. Since it gives you control over the load, you can lift a heavier weight than when you use other machines.

Different companies will have unique features to offer in addition to these basic functions. The bottom line is that using a Smith machine lets you perform squats with safety, efficiency, and the right support to allow you to lift heavier loads.

3.1 Body-Solid Powerline

While many other types of Smith machines may come with weights, a bench, and an assortment of features, Body-Solid Powerline offers a basic solid frame.

You need to buy a bench and some weights if you need to challenge your muscles more. The best thing about it is that its price is suitable for a low budget shopper, and there’s room to customize.

Body-Solid Powerline Seated Calf Raise Machine (PSC43X)


3.2 Marcy Diamond Elite MD-9010

Marcy is an industry-leading brand in fitness equipment manufacturing, so it’s no surprise that they’ve come out with the Marcy Diamond Elite MD-9010 Smith Machine. It is a high-caliber product that you can use to perform more than 100 exercises without stepping away from it.

The adjustable catches increase safety as you dip in your squats and allow you to adjust and control weights.

Marcy Smith Cage Workout Machine Total Body Training Home Gym System with Linear Bearing Md-9010G, Silver (MD-9010)

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3.3 Force USA Monster G3

This is one of the most advanced workout machines available in the market, bringing with it an array of functionalities.

From the solid, sturdy frame to the dual pulley system and other deluxe features, Force USA Monster G3 is a cut above the rest. However, its price and size make it only suitable for commercial gyms.

3.4 Inspire Fitness Ft2 Functional Trainer and Smith Station 

This is a superior assembly of a full workout machine, which you can purchase with or without a bench. It comes with a ball bearing track system that makes barbell movements very smooth.

Its standout feature is the independent weight track that allows you to personalize every exercise. This feature-packed equipment makes squatting with a Smith machine an exceptional experience.

4. Belt Squat D8X Machine

These machines offer you a fantastic way to work out your lower body. Unfortunately, not many gyms have this machine. It works with a belt tied around your waist and attached to a weight and mainly recruits your legs and glutes muscles.

Here are some of the best belt squats machines on the market.

4.1 D8X Belt Squat Machine

The D8X belt squat exercise machine provides a perfect setup to work your legs with plenty of weights. It isolates the glutes and leg muscles without putting too much pressure on your upper body.

D8X Belt Squat Machine
Photo from Gym Steel

This means that even with an injury on the upper body, you can still work your legs. It has a maximum load weight of 350 lbs and works well in both commercial and home gym settings.

4.2 KEISER A300 Belt Squat Machine model 1550

Keiser’s A300 squat belt machine is best for working out your hip and legs explosively without straining your spine or shoulder.

It comes with up to 800 lbs of resistance weight and a digital display to let you know the accurate number of reps and other training parameters

Other features include pivoting handles to accommodate athletes of varying heights. Since it is a pneumatic (air-powered) equipment, you can expect it to be a silent training partner.

Know More about Squats and Squat Machines

Here are a few more pieces of information to help you make up your mind about the machine you’re going to buy. By learning more about squats and squat machines and the benefits you gain from them, you’ll find it easier to decide which type and model will work best for you. 

Benefits of Squats Machines: Why Use a Machine?

man listening to music while using a leg squat machine

Improves Safety

These machines are built to create a safe training environment for you. All types of equipment come with a host of safety features intended to keep you safe from avoidable accidents and injuries. 

Maintains Proper Squat Form 

Machines help us maintain squats proper form. Since the weight moves along a specifically designed path, you’ll keep your body correctly aligned. It helps to prevent postural problems that are common when training with free weights.

Improves Efficiency 

Machines make it possible for you to work out properly and therefore work with more weights or train for longer. As a result, you will achieve your fitness faster than if you trained without equipment.

Saves Time 

The equipment is already set. All you need to do is sit in and start your exercises.

If you own the squat machine, you’ll save precious time because you will no longer need to drive to the gym, find a parking space, wait in line – you know how it works.

Still, on time, a machine makes you achieve your goals in less time and progress to the next level faster.

Factors to Consider When Buying a Squat Rack Machine 

lady at gym using squat machine

Your Fitness Goals

This is the most critical consideration when shopping for a squat machine, and it’s personal because we all have different fitness goals.

You may be training to lose weight, shape your physique, enhancing performance, or maybe gain muscles and strength. Even though all exercise machines may achieve all the mentioned goals, it’s best to work toward a specific goal.

Knowing your goals will help you fine-tune your buying process.

Available Space 

Since these machines come in different shapes and sizes, you’ll have to keep in mind the space available to a new equipment. Consider both the vertical and horizontal dimensions of the equipment and how it can fit in the area.

When assessing space, it’s easy to forget about vertical space, but think how you’re going to perform chin-ups and pull-ups on the squat machine. That’s why vertical dimension is equally important as lengths and widths.


While a top-of-the-range machine may cost up to $4,000, a simple squats rack is only around $200. The difference between the two lies in their functionality, quality, and purpose.

You have to juggle all the elements involved and finally decide on how much you can comfortably spend on a squat machine. Is it worth the price? Does it offer great value for your money?

Can your budget allow you to pay that much? You should answer these questions before you make the purchase.

Ease of Assembly and Portability

No one wants to purchase a product that challenges them during assembly. You may also have to consider whether the squats rack is portable or the type that mounts in a fixed location.

The seller should provide you with assembly instructions that are detailed enough and easy to understand. Assembly should not be so complicated that you will require professional help and incur extra costs to assemble and mount your rack.


Before you get in the squat machine, make sure that the safety features work. When shopping for the equipment, never compromise your safety in any way. 

We all know that an uncontrolled pressure from 200-lb weight plates can prove fatal, causing serious injuries or even loss of life. It pays to read users’ testimonies and counter-check manufacturers’ claims on safety features.

Squats Variations

Make sure you understand what squat variations you can perform on specific machines before you purchase. For example, if you want to go heavy, a sissy squat rack machine is not your equipment of choice.

Check out other options, such as the hack or Smith machines. Study the machine and know all its exercise capabilities and limitations.

Adjustability and Ease of Use

Can you adjust the height, weights, or other features easily? If the answer is no, then you have to rethink. A good machine should give provisions for adjusting parts easily to fit your ability and height.

If setting things right at the start becomes a challenge, it may hinder you from attaining proper form, lead to injuries, and cause you to fail in your fitness goals.

10 Benefits of Squats

two people holding hand weights while doing a squat

Builds muscles

When it comes to recruiting muscle, squats do it better than any other exercises.

According to this study, squats work your quads, hamstring, and calve, glutes abs core and lower back in almost equal measures. This compound nature of squats makes them the best simultaneous muscle builders.

Perfect calories crusher

Building more muscles on your body translates into burning more calories. The intense involvement of muscles during squats makes it one of the fastest way to burn calories and pack more tissues.

It is for this reason that squats go a long way to trimming fats in your belly to give you flat abs. In short, squats burn calories just like other exercises.

Makes you more flexible

When we don’t exercise our tendons, ligaments, and connector muscles, our body becomes more rigid by the day. This is especially true for older people.

A squat exercises tendons and ligaments in every joint on our body, keeping them healthy and flexible.

Improves your balance and mobility 

Feeble legs are not suitable for walking or even running. Squats will work our legs, strengthen our core, and enhance our balance. This form of exercise even works the heart and activates the brain to do balancing acts.

Exercises the heart and lung 

As you perform squats, your muscles will require more oxygen supply. This, in turn, will make the heart work much harder to pump more blood to the muscles.

This is good for the improvement of your cardiac muscles. The deep breaths, on the other hand, help increase lung capacity.

Improves posture and prevents injuries

Many injuries are caused by a weak body that fails to maintain proper posture and gets no support from weak joints and stabilizer muscles.

As squats work all the ligaments, joints, and stabilizer muscles on our body, we gradually gain strength to help us avoid injuries.

lady doing leg press weights at gym

Exercises the joints 

Just like muscles, joints also need exercised. This is what squats do. Squats work your knees, hip, ankles, and to some extent, the wrist joints. Engaging the joints in frequent exercises keeps them healthy and strong.

Strengthens the bones 

Exercises like squats don’t only work muscles and joints, but they also work you’re skeletal system. As you descend into a squat with weights on your shoulder, your bones complement the muscles by working hard to help resist the force. Repeated exercises leave you with stronger bones.

Improves performance

Take athletes, for instance. Doing squats will regularly enhance their running speed, give them more strength and balance in their sporting activity. You’ll get the same benefits, plus, it will improve your daily activities, like walking, sitting, and many physical abilities.

Shapes your body

This is the ultimate goal of every athlete and fitness enthusiast – a well-toned, incredibly shaped bod – and squats will never disappoint. 


1. Is a squat machine capable?

Yes, they are. Squat machines are designed to increase efficiency. When you squat with a machine, you improve form, reps, and you can even work with more weight. This will result in more effective workout sessions.

2. Will 100 squats a day do anything? 

A squat is a compound exercise that intensely recruits your quads, hamstring, glutes, calves, abs and core muscle groups.

Therefore, performing 100 squats every day will gradually give you a well-toned body and more defined muscles. You will experience increased strength and flexibility because squats also work your joints and bones.

3. Do squats make your butt bigger?

Yes, squats will make your butts bigger. Squats work your gluteus maximus muscles (buttocks) massively. This will result in bigger and firmer butts.