T Nation

Pointless Equipment in Gym


OK so my gym just bought a Star Trac Max Rack.


When I first walked into the gym I was really excited because I thought they had bought a proper power rack but then I go look at it and it has me totally confused. It's like a power rack with a smith machine built into it but the smith machine not only slides the bar vertically but also in the horizontal plain. The Star Trac website has this to say

[italic]The Star Trac Max Rack® is the perfect fusion of free weight Power Rack training with the safety of a Smith Machine. A smooth, natural option for those who prefer an Olympic bar feel but don't want to sacrifice personal safety or perfect form.[/italic]

So my question is, what the hell is this for? I don't use a Smith Machine much because I like free weights. Whilst I think they are wrong, I kind of get the idea that someone might feel safer in a smith machine because they can rack the weight at any height and can fix one plane of motion (as per the article on this site a few days ago) So. what I want to know is how is this in any way giving safety? All it does is slightly restrics the movement that you would have with a bar making lifts feel less natural and smooth.

Given that my gym doesn't have enough clips for all the bars that we have it seems a really odd choice of how to spend money. It's ok for me on one level because I can just rack the smith bar at the back and use it as a power cage however I wish they had used the money to buy a normal power cage and a couple of new bars and some more clips.


hahaha my olg gym had one of those too. i used it for chin-ups. every now and then i'd do a couple very creaky powercleans or something and roll my eyes at the gym employees...


inverted rows.

it is like a really really really expensive bar. but i bet the oly bars are all shit amirite??


Pfft a smith machine isn't anymore safe than free weights. You load too much on or get too close to failure and you're getting pinned.

Might even be worse if you manage to rack it in a panic and it gets set on your neck...


I think the only thing worse than this piece of shit (my old gym had one) is the slanted smith machine.

Pavel Tsatouline said it best: "the only thing that they're good for is melting down and turning into plates."


Free your minds...




LOL, I just checked the price on this thing. $3,000. That's outrageous!

(btw I agree a smith is not safer than free weights)


For real. I used the smith machine for years for chest movements and for shoulders. Don't see what's so evil about one.


I think it just largely depends on how you train. I use just a few pieces of equipment:

Pull-Up & Dip bars

Thats really it. I personally find little use for machines. To each their own of course. If I were a bodybuilder, I could see a HUGE benefit in the Smith machine.


This. Good post.


i'm an oly lifter. oly lifting ain't so fun (or safe) in a smith machine. even a fancy one like this that (apparently though actually no) allows you to get other than perfectly vertical bar path.

it is kinda fun to try, though.


My gym invested in one of these units recently - a rope climbing machine.

I love chins, pull-ups and most bodyweight exercises in general, so I was excited to give it a try. Even on the hardest setting, it is still pretty easy.

It seems to be just collecting dust now...


Two sets each of those adductor/abductor machines.

But I guess every gym needs to have them to show prospective women clients.


^use them for warming up before squats and deads

useless: machine hyperextension. you sit on it like a chair, then push back against a pad. does absolutly nothing that its supposed to

with they had bought a GHR, would have cost less too


LOL, we have two of those as well.


I don't so much think a smith machine is evil, I just don't think they are optimal by any means. What really pisses me of about them, and this isn't really the smith machines fault, is that many commercial gyms (I know, places we shouldn't be if this is the case) would rather spend thousands on one and not even have a power rack.

I would rather use a power rack any day, and personally care nothing for the smith machine. The only machines I have ever used which I miss are the hammer strength ones in a gym I am no longer a member of.


totally. i mean otherwise they would need to do something like use bands and actually activate the medial glutes. or do their squats or something.


We have a Star Trac as well and the only good purpose it serves is the fact it has a chin up bar along the top. Some of the things I see going on in that thing are the thing of nightmares...


My current NYSC has one of those, always some idiot doing curls in it.

Last gym I trained at had about 4-5 glute machines... another squat rack would have been nice.



My gym has one. Good for floor presses and chin ups.