The smith machine is a very controversial piece of equipment and for good reason.
Many experienced weight lifters and bodybuilders hate the machine while many other experienced lifters love the machine.
The barbell slides along fixed vertical bars
I've seen people get into some huge arguments over this controversial machine.
I take the middle road on this debate as you'll soon see. I believe the smith machine has some good uses and then there other exercises that the smith machine should never be used with.
You just have to know when to use a piece of weight lifting equipment and how to use that equipment.
Any machine that allows you to lift progressively heavier weight, will help you make progress. It's as simple as that. But…
First, Listen to the Arguments!
I don't think either side really understands the other in this debate. Some weight lifters strongly oppose the machine no matter what is said.
Open your eyes and never be one of those people that will not listen to an argument.
Listen and learn. No matter what side of any argument you may be on, you should always listen.
Many times the other side will have some good points.
Machines can fit into a weight lifting program. You just have to know how to fit them in and why to fit them in. Don't just use them because a sales person is trying to make some money.
I just love these people selling exercise equipment in stores that have never lifted a weight in their lives.
I ran into one the other day.
I just kept quiet and didn't say anything.
I'm not here to argue about the use of machines, though. I am here to tell you how the Smith Machine can fit into your weight training program. It can be good and bad.
A Must Read for Beginners So You Don't Get Scammed Into Something…
Many true beginners to weight lifting get conned into buying a smith machine by many of the weight lifting equipment stores.
They tell beginners that they'll need no spotter to lift weights and that they'll be able to work out safely alone.
So the beginner sees that as a huge benefit and buys the machine. The beginner then uses the machine frequently and becomes locked into a single plane of movement on every exercise performed.
Most likely, this will eventually lead to injury.
You may get lucky, but then you might not. Why take the chance? The smith machine may seem like an easy way out compared to free weights, but really, it's not.
Don't fall into that trap.
Beginners should always focus on free weights. If you take your time at increasing the weights, you can lift safely with free weights on your own. If you have a spotter or exercise partner available, that would be even better.
Use your common sense and don't do anything stupid.
A power rack will have safety bars that you should always take advantage of when lifting weights. I've been lifting weights for many years, and I've never had one accident.
And I know many other people that have done the same. So, you can lift weights safely at home with free weights if you use common sense and never put yourself in an unsafe situation.
If You use The Smith Machine…
If you decide to use the machine for one of your weight lifting exercises or several exercises, just make sure that you are doing free weight exercises too.
You want to work stabilizer muscles with free weights that the smith machine does not work so that you don't become injured.
No matter what you do, always have some free weight exercises included in your weight lifting program — never use machines exclusively.
Free weight compound exercises are the absolute best for building muscle because they'll work so many more muscle groups in your body than any machine could possibly work.
That is the truth.
A machine can and does have its place in weight lifting, though. And it's not just to lay your towel on like so many other weight lifters believe.
You see, the smith machine balances the weight for you as you lift the weight. This means your stabilizer muscles aren't getting worked. They need to be worked.
So, a balance of free weight exercises with machine exercises will keep those muscles strong.