T Nation

A Smith Machine That Doesn't Suck?


So, I happened into Sports Authority tonight, and during my usual perusal of the sporting goods section, I see something...different. It's a Smith machine...with the upright and track for the bar on some type of shock absorber system.

According to the advertisment hanging on it, it's supposed to allow the weight to track through whatever range of motion you naturally would move through, with the added safety features of a Smith Machine (basically twist your wrists and lock the bar in place). I messed around with it very briefly ( I was holding my 7 month old at the time) and it seemed to work.

Then again, I was only messing around and there was no real weight on the bar. But it did seem to move naturally and smoothly. Here's a link to it (made by Gold's Gym):


While googling this image, I also stumbled on an article about a lawsuit involving this machine (if I read it correctly). Basically some numbnuts was squating in the machine with too much weight, his quad tore, he fell and was crushed by the weight, which made him quadrapalegic. There are safety stops on the machine, but they either weren't installed or he wasn't using them.


I don't know if those links will work, as I've never attempted to post a link here before, and being a technological caveman, I'm not sure if I did it right.

Take it easy,


I didnt check out the link but it sounds pretty much exactly like the one my friend bought that I used to work out on almost daily.

I dont care for it, the rods that they slide up and down suck, you have to keep the bar very straight or else it binds and you cant really lift it, while I relize you should keep your form good I felt you had to concentrate to much on your form with the smith machine just to get it to WORK that it took away from well, lifting heavy shit

even my friend admits after shelling out near 1 grand that the best thing about it is the pull up bar!

I have since bought a body solid power rack for 300 bucks and like it alot more, now if your lifting real heavy weights you probaly need a beefier power rack, well im not so it works for me.


My gym has just put in what they call a 3D smith machine. It is similar to the one in the pic but it has rails along the top and the bottom of a large power rack type cage allowing for the same type of motion that you described. I used it to Bench Press the other day as all the other benches were taken.

It did not feel as good as doing normal BP but certainly better than a regular smith. I dont think that I will use it much, but it is nice to have another option if all the other equipment is in use.


its still a fucking smith machine. youve got smith machines that are very solid and move only on the plane that they are supposed to. then you have smith machines that cost 200-300 bucks and you can actually get them to move outside of their intended plane because the track that they are on (the vertical bars that the horizontal is actually fixed to) are cheap and lightweight, therefore they will give a little.

someone is capitalizing on the cheap smith machines. either way you slice it, doesnt beat a rack and oly bar.


Personally I limit my smith machine usage to clients who are new, rehabilitating injuries, or if they have never squatted before I will have them do a few on smith to get the feeling of the motion before putting them on a free weight bar.

In my own training the only time I use a smith machine is for shrugs when I feel like taking a break from the regular barbell shrugs.


In my years of training, it's easy to look back at some of the stupid choices I've made. One of them was to use a smith machine for squating, benching and shoulder pressing. I don't know why, ignorance, I guess. I just figured it was a safe option because I always lifted alone (preferred that). I experienced discomfort, but I still used it. Thankfully I learned better before I hurt myself.

I did think the "wobbly" Smith Machine I saw was neat. I'm always interested in pieces of equipment I've never seen before. You wouldn't catch me using most of them, but I like innovation to a certain degree.

Take it easy,


If a Smith machine would suck, that would finaly make it usefull.


Looks fancy, but I don't think it really solves the whole 'Smith-Machine Problem'.

They do make these little gadgets that work basically like a Smith machine, only the catches are connected to cables instead of bars, and thus are able to move freely with the bar.


These things look neat in principle, but I've never used them.


LOL, I've got a body solid rack too. Works well for me, but you're right that if you're very strong you might want something more spendy.


I just recently went to a Nautilus dealer and picked up a couple machines that will give me a nasty circuit and fry my biceps.

Afterwards, I stopped at the Cybex people and picked up some curl machines so I can get ripped abs.

Finally, I found an electro-stimulation machine on ebay, I remember reading about this new technique from Boyer Coe.


I was in SA this wek and saw the saw Smith machine...for $349. That price might change some minds.


If money really wasn't an option
A prospot would be a nice piece of equipment to have.


from what I've heard, it's just a sensored barbell so there's no real difference. Has anyone used one?


My advice is just get a good power rack and set the spotter pins or attach some chains to the barbell so it is suspended.


I often wonder why makers of machines and some users use the phrase "feels natural" or something similar. Might it be that deep inside they know that machines are inferior to the real thing?


I dont necessarily believe its inferior. Just different. They have their uses.