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  1. #1
    Chasing youth cryoung's Avatar
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    Smith Machine resistance more than free weights?

    Due to remodeling in progress at the gym at my office, I've had to join the big purple gym. It's temporary and it's really not that bad.

    One thing I've noticed on chest day is that I'm not able to lift the same weight I typically do with straight up free weights for BB Press.

    Is this a standard thing? I've typically always done just free weights and never used a smith machine before this.
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    Originally Posted by cryoung View Post
    Due to remodeling in progress at the gym at my office, I've had to join the big purple gym. It's temporary and it's really not that bad.

    One thing I've noticed on chest day is that I'm not able to lift the same weight I typically do with straight up free weights for BB Press.

    Is this a standard thing? I've typically always done just free weights and never used a smith machine before this.
    I've always been given the impression that the Smith machine was about 25lbs lighter than a standard 45lb free weight bar. I'm not sure if this is true or where it came from. The only thing I use the Smith machine for is lunges, so I really wouldn't know. I'm interested in hearing what others have to say about this.
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  3. #3
    Lanky Brit Richie71's Avatar
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    They all will vary. Some are counterbalanced and effectively zero, some will be 20kg.
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    Also the smith machine dictates your bar path/groove of the bar which could effect your strength on it.
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    Smith Machines vary greatly. At my main gym, the smith bar alone feels like 55 to 65 pounds, while at my other gym it feeling 15-20.

    It does not matter what weight you put on it,as long as you are progressing.
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    Grumpy Achy Mod ctgblue's Avatar
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    The smith makes you stay in one plane, you cannot bounce or move around to gain an advantage
    people with excellent form on the bench can usually bench even with or more than free weights, if you tend to move around a bit, then it may seem heavier as you simply cannot cheat at all, and it will force you to use the muscle combination you dictate with your body position under the bar.
    if it is a straight up and down rack, then try giving a notch of incline to the bench, this more closely resembles the path of the free bar, this may help
    but you need to be "smarter that the machine" so to speak, using a light weight, experiment with body positioning until you 'feel right', then it will feel much better and you're good to go

    I've used them on and off for years

    BTW, as for weight of bar, there are numerous configurations: std hollow bar usually about 35-40lbs with slides and hooks, std solid bar 65-70lbs with slides and hooks (I had one of these), counter-weighted full bar - usually set to 10 or 15 lbs weight at the bar (most commercial gyms have this type bar, look at the top, if a cable goes over 2 pulleys and into a guarded area - it's counter-weighted)
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  7. #7
    Chasing youth cryoung's Avatar
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    Great advice, thanks for the input


    Originally Posted by ctgblue View Post
    The smith makes you stay in one plane, you cannot bounce or move around to gain an advantage
    people with excellent form on the bench can usually bench even with or more than free weights, if you tend to move around a bit, then it may seem heavier as you simply cannot cheat at all, and it will force you to use the muscle combination you dictate with your body position under the bar.
    if it is a straight up and down rack, then try giving a notch of incline to the bench, this more closely resembles the path of the free bar, this may help
    but you need to be "smarter that the machine" so to speak, using a light weight, experiment with body positioning until you 'feel right', then it will feel much better and you're good to go

    I've used them on and off for years

    BTW, as for weight of bar, there are numerous configurations: std hollow bar usually about 35-40lbs with slides and hooks, std solid bar 65-70lbs with slides and hooks (I had one of these), counter-weighted full bar - usually set to 10 or 15 lbs weight at the bar (most commercial gyms have this type bar, look at the top, if a cable goes over 2 pulleys and into a guarded area - it's counter-weighted)
    The pain is short term. The benefits are long term.

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  8. #8
    Registered User andhen2003's Avatar
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    IMHO smith machines are much easier because you're not expending effort to "steady" the bar. But if they're taking you out of your normal pressing groove, then I suppose that's why it's tougher for you.
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