T Nation

Choosing a Weight Bench

Hi,
I have recently been thinking of upgrading my home weights bench to something which has the total package. I have been looking at both free weight bench’s with pec dec etc and also smith machines. I have read reviews on here about smith’s, some good, alot bad. I have contacted various companies for advice and most say that smith machines allow you to focus on specific body parts, therefore providing a controlled workout where you will see positive
results quicker than when using free weights.

My goal is to build muscle and if a smith can assist me with that I dont mind spending money on it but I need to get the right bit of equipment for me. So can anyone advise on this or perhaps even own a smith and seen good results. If you believe smith’s are not the way to go then I would ask for advice on what is.

Many Thanks

While the smith machine does have its advantages, I would buy a whole shitload of other stuff first.

All you need is a good sturdy bench, a power rack, barbell, plates and dumbbells. You can get quite jacked with just those tools.

Get the basics, then worry about the fluff.

[quote]Silverstar wrote:
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I have contacted various companies for advice and most say that smith machines allow you to focus on specific body parts, therefore providing a controlled workout where you will see positive results quicker than when using free weights. […]

[/quote]

No.

A gym membership is a good choice IF you can find a decent gym.

If not, start with some sort of Rack, a Bench and a Barbell with some plates.

There are also various types of adjustable Dumbbells that are fine to work out with and safer for stuff like Bench Press if you work out alone.

I agree with Matt. A smith machine may have its place, but for versatility and overall effectiveness it won’t compare to a power rack with a pull up attachment, an olympic bar with plates, and an adjustable bench. If you have the space, I would also get a dip attachment.

With the smith machine, you’re locked in one plane of motion and really don’t have to rely on your body to stabilize the weight. You might get big, but you’ll end up with some pretty bad muscular imbalances and be asking for an injury. You might think its safer because you just have to twist the bar, but set the pins in the power rack and you will be fine. In short, DON’T GET THE SMITH MACHINE, it will be the biggest mistake you’ll ever make.

I was once using a smith machine, absolutely no improvement.

Power racks are much better. Plus, which one sounds cooler?

Buy the Ironmaster Super Bench.

http://www.ironmaster.com/store/Super-Bench-pr-3.html

All their equipment is awesome. I upgraded my home gym with the Super Bench, the Quick-Lock Dumbbells with add-on kit and some of the bench attachments.

Besides my power rack with lat/row attachment and Olympic barbell set, the Ironmaster stuff has been the best stuff I’ve bought.

I think the following are most important:

  1. 300 lb Olympic weight set.
  2. Dumbells.
  3. Power Rack with pullup bar.
  4. Dip station or dip bars that can be hooked into the power rack.
  5. Solid bench.

With that equipment you can do all the basics: squats, deadlifts, stepups, bench presses, rows, chinups, pullups, dips, shoulder presses, etc.

If you buy adjustable dumbells, I would recommend Powerblocks. They are much better than the Bowflex adjustable dumbells - which max out at something like 52.5#. You can get Powerblocks adjustable up to 130#. They also have some solid benches. I have one at home that folds up. It is portable, but very sturdy.