The Smith Machine is a great piece of equipment to use when the gym is busy. Instead of walking around the gym and trying to find an open machine or the dumbbells that you need, you can do your entire leg workout on the machine. It is also good to use if you are a beginner because it's going to help you maintain good form. Generally, step ups and split squats are performed with dumbbells but using the smith machine is a great variation.
3 x 12 Smith Machine Squats
Before loading the bar with the weight you are going to want to set the bar on the height that best matches your height. Step under the bar and place it slightly below the neck. Position your legs with a shoulder width stance and toes slightly pointed out.
As you begin to squat you'r going to want to inhale, keep your head looking straight and maintain a straight back. Squat down to a 90-degree angle. Exhale by pushing off the floor with the heel of your foot.
3 x 10 Close Stance Squats
This exercise is very similar to the first one. Instead of your feet being shoulder width apart you are going to put them only about 3 inches apart with toes slightly pointed out. Remember to keep your head looking straight and maintain a straight back! This exercise is going to put a lot more emphasis on the quadriceps than the normal squat.
3 x 8 Single Leg RDL
To begin, set the bar to the middle of your thighs. After you have loaded the bar grasp the bar using a pronated(palms facing forward) grip that is shoulder width apart. Next, you are going to place one foot slightly in front of the bar and keep one bent behind you(this is the modified version, you can take your foot completely off the ground).
Inhale, lower the barbell down to the top of your feet by bending at the waist. Exhale, bring the barbell back up to your starting position. It is extremely important to keep your back and neck aligned during this exercise!
3x 8 Split Squat
You are going to need to grab a bench or a step for this one. Set the bar at shoulder height. You are going to start in a staggered stance with your nonworking leg elevated on the bench and then your working leg will be placed slightly in front of the bar. Inhale, and begin to lower the body down, drive through the heel to return to starting position. As always make sure to keep a straight back!
3 x 10 Step Ups
For this exercise, you will need a bench, step up, or you could just stack plates as I did! You are going to want to get under the bar with one foot on the step and one hanging off.
Next, you are going to lower down while keeping a straight back until your working leg is at a 90-degree angle. Push off driving through your heel to return to your starting position. Try only use your working leg!
3 x 10 Vertical Leg Press
You are going to start by positioning the bar a couple feet of the ground. After loading the weight, lie underneath the bar( I highly suggest using a mat) Place the middle of your feet on the bar and tuck your knees to your chest.
Begin the movement by pushing through your heels to move the bar up, then back down to the starting position. Do not lock out your knees at the top of the movement. I personally like these better than using the regular squat machine!