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  1. #1
    Registered User MikessekiM's Avatar
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    Smith Machines, pros and cons...?

    I have never used a smith machine until this week. And to be honest I absolutely loved it. I did rows, upright rows, and shoulder press this week all on a smith machine. Now I know that it definitely knocks off alot of weight with the guide rails but I felt that it help me be more focused and symmetrical on my lifts. My question is if it is alright to depend on smith machines for some primary exercises such as shoulder press, squats, and bench...I also plan to do dozens of other free weight and cable exercises. I am not trying to rely solely on the smith. Whats your guys take on smith machines? Is there something I am missing because so far it seems to be a real help.......thanks in advance

    http://www.fithacker.com/images/smith.jpg
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  2. #2
    The Russian md3sign's Avatar
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    Pros - don't need a spotter.

    Cons - unnatural range of motion (bi-direction smith machines are a little better at this), little use of stabilizers.

    Also, it doesn't help you become more symmetrical - it does the exact opposite. If you're lopsided when bench pressing with a barbell, guess what? You have to compensate for the lower arm and finish out the rep. When you're benching on a smith and one arm is weaker, the other one just finishes it up since the bar doesn't move to one side or the other.

    Smith machine is good for some things, but not as a main source of weight training. If you use it as a primary source, you'll develop imbalances which could lead to performance problems and injury when you try to lift similar weights without the help of rails.
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  3. #3
    Not now chief... TonySturch's Avatar
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    The smith is great. The only place where Id be careful about the smith's use is where it affects the natural movement of the lift. For instance, benching and squats with a barbell will not move in a perfect straight line, however the smith will lock you into the straight line of movement. At best it will compromise your lift by not being in proper position. At worst it becomes dangerous and can cause injury, ie. rounding of the back. As long as youre aware of these downsides, and you do not put yourself in danger, the smith is a great tool. I wouldnt hesitate to use it for those lifts you mentioned. Actually, more often than not im forced to use the smith due to a lack of spotter. Have at it.
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  4. #4
    Banned DeluxePeanutWaffle's Avatar
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    Good for working through an injury.
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  5. #5
    Registered User MikessekiM's Avatar
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    I never have a spot for bench, and you can only go so far without a spotter when trying to increase your strength. I havent actually tried the smith for bench yet, but I think I will next week. I think I may try a few weeks with it, then switch back to barbell/dumbbell and see where I am at. I suppose I could go from there. I dont know, like I was saying above, I just feel that it really hit the muscles I was trying to hit when I used it...
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  6. #6
    Not now chief... TonySturch's Avatar
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    If youre gonna try bench on the smith, ive found a couple things help. Flat bench with flared out elbows really feels quite awkward, and may even be a contributing factor to my nagging R/C soreness. I woudl suggest keeping teh elbows tucked, using a powerlifter style stance for flat bench. Even though you wont make use of the J curve that power lifters do, its still feels much more comfortable to have the bar a little lower down the abdomen rather than at nipple height. Also, incline bench seems to be much easier on teh shoulders when using the smith machine, even if you prefer a wider grip and flared elbows.
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  7. #7
    ŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻ Requisite 101's Avatar
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    I generally only use the Smith machine for two things: Seated Shoulder Press & Shrugs (when all the barbells are being used).

    I never have a spotter like most people, so I feel it's safer to throw on the weight within the Smith Machine.

    Furthermore, our two areas for Seated BB Press are awkward. The bar is either way in front of you or the bar is way behind your head, which in turn, forces you to need a spotter to get the lift off for you (probably just me). I would adjust the position of the seat, but it's combined with the rack.

    Looks almost like this, but more space:

    http://www.fitnessscape.com/Merchant...er-press-m.jpg
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  8. #8
    Registered User SmithMachineGuy's Avatar
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    The Smith Machine is a versatile piece of eqipment that can be used to train your entire body. With the Smith Machine you do not need a spotter, the power is in your hands alone! As a weapon against the flab, the Smith Machine has no equal. The Smith Machine has no known weaknesses.
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  9. #9
    Registered User Hanzou's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Requisite 101 View Post
    I generally only use the Smith machine for two things: Seated Shoulder Press & Shrugs (when all the barbells are being used).

    I never have a spotter like most people, so I feel it's safer to throw on the weight within the Smith Machine.

    Furthermore, our two areas for Seated BB Press are awkward. The bar is either way in front of you or the bar is way behind your head, which in turn, forces you to need a spotter to get the lift off for you (probably just me). I would adjust the position of the seat, but it's combined with the rack.

    Looks almost like this, but more space:

    http://www.fitnessscape.com/Merchant...er-press-m.jpg
    My gym has two of those set up and I almost never see anybody use them. Like you said, the bar rests so far behind you that its almost impossible to lift it off the pegs. I tried it once and could barely lift off th bar with no weights on it.
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  10. #10
    Banned -Lucifer's Avatar
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    I only use the smith for shrugging.

    I have used it in the past to do seated OH presses and incline bench presses as well.
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  11. #11
    Registered User Shortstop36's Avatar
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    love using the smith machine when i dont have a spotter
    Baseball player Turned Football player
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  12. #12
    Registered User ringorock's Avatar
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    i read about a study on this a few days ago...people that use a smith is weaker than ones that do not simply because of the range of motion that you get when you are free bb pressing. the smith limits your range of motion and does not attack as many angles as free pressing. also it created the illusion for noobs that you are stronger but the smith bar usually only weighs about 15lbs rather than 45 like free bb

    i use the smith for bench throws just because it would land on my face otherwise. i also use it for standing calves

    ill bench on it when my rc is bothering me as well
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  13. #13
    The BACKMAN DJAuto's Avatar
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    Bodybuilders prefer the Smith due to its isolation-style properties.
    Bodybuilding is 60% training and 50% diet. Yes that adds up to 110%, because that's what you should be giving it. Change the inside, and the physique will follow.
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  14. #14
    THE HEAVY IRON SQUAD,CUZZ ygbodybuilder10's Avatar
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    i hate the damm smith machine, i belive its the reason why i messed up my shoulder


    the smith machines makes the body move in uncontrolable motion, its even worst if the damm machine is crooked when u get on it
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  15. #15
    Doesn't Eat Wheaties MWheatley's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by -Lucifer View Post

    I have used it in the past to do seated OH presses and incline bench presses as well.
    I throw these in my routine on occasion
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  16. #16
    Registered User TheAntar's Avatar
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    I used a smith machine last week twice ... for the first time ever. I was out of town and my hotel had one, but no other way to do squats and deads. I was thankful for at least some alternative way to keep my squats and deads moving forward for the week. Yay!
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  17. #17
    Registered User Memorial93's Avatar
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    I hate the smith machine now. When I was squatting yesterday I pushed the hooks back to get it on and they didn't go and it crashed hard on my vertebrae. It hurts like hell now.

    Luckily my gym owner showed me in perfect form how to do squats properly with a regular barbell
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  18. #18
    Banned -Lucifer's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Memorial93 View Post
    I hate the smith machine now. When I was squatting yesterday I pushed the hooks back to get it on and they didn't go and it crashed hard on my vertebrae. It hurts like hell now.
    Luckily my gym owner showed me in perfect form how to do squats properly with a regular barbell
    The Smith ain't good for back squats, bro. I myself used to do that when I started out - thanks to my PT. *sigh*
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  19. #19
    Doesn't Eat Wheaties MWheatley's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by -Lucifer View Post
    The Smith ain't good for back squats, bro. I myself used to do that when I started out - thanks to my PT. *sigh*
    Ever try doing sumo squats on the smith? I put my feet out in front of me as well and lean into the bar. This is by no means as effective as a free weight squat, but i usually alternate between these and leg press each week.
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  20. #20
    Banned -Lucifer's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by MWheatley View Post
    Ever try doing sumo squats on the smith? I put my feet out in front of me as well and lean into the bar. This is by no means as effective as a free weight squat, but i usually alternate between these and leg press each week.
    Nope.

    I tried out front squats once though and they felt pretty good.
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  21. #21
    Bulk it and HULK it hulkinout's Avatar
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    I owe the bulk of my pec development to 30-degree incline Smiths. Nothing else blew mine up like the Smith, and I'd already been working out for years...

    I occasionally use it for shrugs (although I don't perform shrugs often), and sometime for delt presses (though I prefer the Hammer Strength), but I wouldn't write off the Smith as some guys do.

    If it works for you, use it. If it doesn't, don't. If you're not sure, try it for a while, then make an educated decision.
    Keep on hulkin'.

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  22. #22
    Registered User AntM1564's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by hulkinout View Post
    I owe the bulk of my pec development to 30-degree incline Smiths. Nothing else blew mine up like the Smith, and I'd already been working out for years...

    I occasionally use it for shrugs (although I don't perform shrugs often), and sometime for delt presses (though I prefer the Hammer Strength), but I wouldn't write off the Smith as some guys do.

    If it works for you, use it. If it doesn't, don't. If you're not sure, try it for a while, then make an educated decision.
    Hulk where would you bring the bar to when performing incline bench; to your neck/collarbone, right below collarbone, or middle of chest?
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  23. #23
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    I don't have experience with smith machines, but all I can say is..

    My friend benched 255 on a smith machine for reps...

    He picked up 60 pound dumbells and struggled to press them 8 times.

    I honestly believe, and although I am not an experienced lifter, that free weights are the way to go.
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  24. #24
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    I only use it for incline bench presses, would never use it for squats.
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  25. #25
    Registered User dvdrestrep's Avatar
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    I like using the smith for calves
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  26. #26
    Registered User MikessekiM's Avatar
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    Well I went ahead and did my primary exercises on the smith this week. For instance on my chest day I did flat and incline bench, shoulders I did press and shrugs, and for back I did rows. I didnt do legs this week due to extreme soreness from flag football lol. But anyways, I feel like I got some of the best workouts this year using the smith. I obviously did other workouts outside the smith, but I just don't see why more people dont use it, atleast here and there....
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  27. #27
    mezzie madaozeki's Avatar
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    The Smith Machine is a perfect place to drape my towel during my workout.
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  28. #28
    Doesn't Eat Wheaties MWheatley's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by madaozeki View Post
    The Smith Machine is a perfect place to drape my towel during my workout.
    lol.

    Try stacking up 3 plates on the ground and using them as a platform to do calve raises. I like it because it isnt as stressful on the ankle as some weighted machines.
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  29. #29
    Bulk it and HULK it hulkinout's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by AntM1564 View Post
    Hulk where would you bring the bar to when performing incline bench; to your neck/collarbone, right below collarbone, or middle of chest?
    Sorry for the delayed response, Ant. Right below the collarbone. I make sure to keep a really good arch in the sternum as well and keep tension on my pecs throughout the move. Full stretch on the pecs at the bottom, but I stop before I feel the tension move to my delts. Likewise I raise up until I feel the weight starts to shift, stopping a couple inches before locking elbows. The pump is pretty insane when it stays in the zone.
    Keep on hulkin'.

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  30. #30
    Banned -Lucifer's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by madaozeki View Post
    The Smith Machine is a perfect place to drape my towel during my workout.
    The Smith machine is an excellent tool, if used correctly.
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