Throughout most major gyms in the country, you’re likely to find the Smith Machine, a piece of equipment that, if used correctly can be a great addition to your workout. Like any piece of fitness machinery though, if use incorrectly, you could injure yourself, so it’s important to get to know this piece of equipment and see if it’s right for you.
Getting into a solid workout routine can be a fun challenge and adding new equipment and new goals can keep working out fun and interesting, but adding something without knowing what you’re doing can be dangerous, so if you’ve never used the Smith Machine before, take a minute to figure out if it’s right for you.
The Smith Machine is basically an imitation of a power rack. It consists of a vertical frame and barbell, which can be hooked in the slots made on the vertical frame. The frame itself limits the freedom of movement, making this a great piece of equipment for short, partial-range training, but not for other workouts where a linear line of movement can be hard on the body and joints. The Smith Machine was designed to make focusing on partial-range training easier than using free weights, and when used for this purpose, it works great.
The best ways to use the Smith Machine are for partial-range training, calf raises, especially if your gym doesn’t have a calf raise machine, seated overhead press, drag curls, upright row, bent over row, behind the back shrug, close grip bench presses, reverse grip bench presses, and potentially squats.
There is some debate about using the Smith Machine for squats as the machine limits you to linear motion. This is good and bad as the weights are stabilized by the machine itself, allowing you to use more heavy weights that you may not try with a free barbell. Using the Smith Machine can be a great way to increase weight in your workout set, but if you push yourself too hard, too fast you can end up with a serious injury, just like you can using a free weight barbell.
The main thing to remember when using the Smith Machine or any other piece of fitness equipment is to use it properly. If you’re not sure how to use a piece of equipment then ask a trainer at your gym. Trainers can help you incorporate new equipment into your workout routine and teach you how to use equipment properly to avoid injury. If you don’t have access to a trainer or are using equipment at a home gym or a small gym, you can find videos online, on various fitness websites and on YouTube that can teach you how to properly use machines such as the Smith Machine. This machine can be a great addition to your work out plan, but make sure you know what you’re doing before you start using it, this way you can improve your body and stay safe while doing so.