Love / Hate Relationship With The Smith Machine?

The Smith Machine is fixed vertical plane-of-motion exercise that you may have came across in your local gym. The smith machine is one of the most popular machines for having very mixed feelings…some love it, some hate it. It’s a very unique piece of equipment so here we’ll go over why some people avoid using it and the benefits of using one if you haven’t before.

  1. Limits forward/backward movement
  2. The fixed motion can cause extra stress on joints if you’re not set up properly
  3. Some people see it as cheating when it comes to strength due to counterbalancing on the machine
  4. Not an essential exercise for athletic development due to the isolation and fixed motion (doesn’t carry over to sport specific movements)

So as you can see there are some negatives when it comes to using a smith machine, but what if you’re not an athlete, or someone who’s purely looking for high strength numbers. What are the benefits for your average gym goer who may not have used this machine before?

  • Less need for a spotter as the machine can assist a little while also having an easy lock in system to re-rack the bar.
  • With the bar being more stabilized, this can be a good tool for beginners
  • Helps to isolate a muscle group like other machines due to it’s fixed movement pattern
  • You can lock the bar in at multiple heights, making it safe to use

Thoughts…

Just like any machine or exercise done in a gym, people will always have differing opinions. The main point to take home though is that the smith machine definitely has its values (otherwise it wouldn’t be in so many gyms). It all comes down to form and instruction. Any exercise can be ‘un-safe‘ or ‘ineffective’ if it’s not done correctly. We recommend at least giving it a try, set up correctly on it and allow it to be a possible extra tool that you use overall in your training routine. Variety is key, make your own mind up on it after trying and find what works for YOU not others.

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