T Nation

Should I Buy a Smith Machine?

I have a chance of purchasing a Nautilus Smith machine with Cable crossover for a really good price but have been warned off it by a couple of mates. Their argument centres around the age old debate free weights versus machines.

I am a free weight devotee myself having only exercised on machines infrequently, though I must admit to quite liking the look and feel of this machine.

What are your opinions of the free weight versus machines topic in general and more specifically your opinions of the Smith Machine? Is it a good piece of equipment or just plain crap?

Depends on what your goals are and how much you’re paying. Personally I wouldn’t allow a smith machine in my house, even if it was free. that’s just me though

In my opinion, no matter what you paid for it, it would be a pretty pricey coat rack…

No, on a serious side, don’t buy it.

[quote]steven alex wrote:
I have a chance of purchasing a Nautilus Smith machine with Cable crossover for a really good price but have been warned off it by a couple of mates. Their argument centres around the age old debate free weights versus machines.

I am a free weight devotee myself having only exercised on machines infrequently, though I must admit to quite liking the look and feel of this machine.

What are your opinions of the free weight versus machines topic in general and more specifically your opinions of the Smith Machine? Is it a good piece of equipment or just plain crap?[/quote]

Buy a power rack instead!

The smith is perfect for ya, if ye have no love for your stabilizer muscles. Scrap metal is all I can see with it to be completely honest. Sorry if this isn’t to your liking haha.

Go for it. If you know what you’re doing, and don’t give up everything to focus soley on the Smith, buy it. Nothing wrong with a change of pace every now and again.

I don’t share this stylish hatred for the Smith machine. It has very legitimate uses. It wouldn’t be my primary piece of equipment for a home gym unless it was all I could have, but it sounds like you’re being offered a good deal and summarily dismissing it based on nothing more than oversimplified cliche is senseless in my opinion.

I’d get the Cross-Over Cable Machine Before I got a Smith Machine. Cross-Over Cable Machines aren’t really the evil closed chain machines that a lot of people on this site hate. When people speak of machines they mean the quadricep leg extension machine and the pec-dec.

Cross-Over Cable machines are pretty much just dumbbells whose resistance isn’t restricted by direction. Cross Over Cable Machines are great because they let you do moves that you would do with normal dumbbells as well as moves that you could only do with dumbbells if you were hanging upside down.

Rowing From a crossover cable machine will also be a lot more natural than rowing from a Smith-Machine.

The downfall of choosing a Cross-Over Cable Machine Over a Smith Machine is sacrificing your ability to do squats. With the Cross Over Cable Machine you can do almost anything you can do with dumbbells but your compound leg exercises are limited to pull throughs.

If you have the money for either of these Machines, you should really just buy a power rack. From there you can buy Bumper Plates, a bunch of tine 5 and 2.5 plates, Mini Bands, Pull-up bars, Dip Bars, and Dumbbell bars that are compatible with 2’ Olympic Plates.

If it was agood enough deal, I’d probly buy it just for the cable crossover.

[quote]lil_diesel90 wrote:
The smith is perfect for ya, if ye have no love for your stabilizer muscles. Scrap metal is all I can see with it to be completely honest. Sorry if this isn’t to your liking haha.[/quote]

Would you mind telling us what the names of those stabilizer muscles are? Or at least maybe a picture with them highlighted?

Honestly though, I personally would not have a use for a Smith machine…most of them are actually only rated for 200 lbs or so and if you didnt know already, squatting on them is not a good idea.

[quote]FightingScott wrote:
I’d get the Cross-Over Cable Machine Before I got a Smith Machine. >>>[/quote]

I think he’s saying that it’s a Smith cable combo outfit.

Also I don’t even buy that Smith squats are a “bad idea”. That’s another oversimplification.

Is this true?

I’ve never seen anyone use more than 200 pounds on a Smith Machine, so maybe…

I guess 315 is enough to bend the bar, and you cant bend the bar with a Smith Machine.

Now I have another argument for fashionably dissing the smith machine.

[quote]FightingScott wrote:
Is this true?

I’ve never seen anyone use more than 200 pounds on a Smith Machine, so maybe…

I guess 315 is enough to bend the bar, and you cant bend the bar with a Smith Machine.

Now I have another argument for fashionably dissing the smith machine. [/quote]

I have a cheap shitty one that I replaced the main bar in with a piece of LaSalle Fatigue proof and I’ve had close to 400 on it for calves with no problems so I don’t know where this arbitrary 200 pound limit came from. Also, it does bend a bit.

http://www.T-Nation.com/readTopic.do?id=1463463

Recently I started throwing some other types of work at it again here and there and have found it quite effective in it’s place. Everybody can do whatever they want and Smith work isn’t foundational, but blanket generalizations don’t fly here any better than they do anywhere else.

My problem with this type of discussion is that inevitably some impressionable people will see this and be “machoed” into eliminating out of hand something that may at some point prove useful to them. Maybe even essential in the case of injury or other considerations.

[quote]Tiribulus wrote:
I don’t share this stylish hatred for the Smith machine. It has very legitimate uses. It wouldn’t be my primary piece of equipment for a home gym unless it was all I could have, but it sounds like you’re being offered a good deal and summarily dismissing it based on nothing more than oversimplified cliche is senseless in my opinion.[/quote]

I agree with this, unless you have limited space, and you’re still looking to add more equipment.

I just started building my home gym, and I’m going to use half of a 2 car garage for it, so even if I was able to get one real cheap, I might not get it if there isn’t room.

I was surprised at how cheap you can find a good power rack, and they have crossover attachments and lat/row attachments that can be added to it.

[quote]SWR-1240 wrote:
Tiribulus wrote:
I don’t share this stylish hatred for the Smith machine. It has very legitimate uses. It wouldn’t be my primary piece of equipment for a home gym unless it was all I could have, but it sounds like you’re being offered a good deal and summarily dismissing it based on nothing more than oversimplified cliche is senseless in my opinion.

I agree with this, unless you have limited space, and you’re still looking to add more equipment.

I just started building my home gym, and I’m going to use half of a 2 car garage for it, so even if I was able to get one real cheap, I might not get it if there isn’t room.

I was surprised at how cheap you can find a good power rack, and they have crossover attachments and lat/row attachments that can be added to it.
[/quote]

Yep, there are some good reasons NOT to buy a Smith machine. The fact that it’s a Smith machine by itself isn’t on of them in my opinion.

The main reason Im not a fan of them is that I have a friend who fractured a vertebrae in his back using a smith machine for squats. He was going heavy and since the machine doesnt allow the bar to bend and distribute a heavy load across the shoulders, it focuses the weight in one spot. He was squatting with upwards of 400 lbs when it happened.

Given the choice between a smith and a power rack, I would definitely take the rack, as I dont see much use for the smith machine.

[quote]fightingtiger wrote:
The main reason Im not a fan of them is that I have a friend who fractured a vertebrae in his back using a smith machine for squats. He was going heavy and since the machine doesnt allow the bar to bend and distribute a heavy load across the shoulders, it focuses the weight in one spot. He was squatting with upwards of 400 lbs when it happened.

Given the choice between a smith and a power rack, I would definitely take the rack, as I dont see much use for the smith machine.[/quote]

That’s another argument I don’t understand. If he had been using a pad there would’ve been less chance of this happening. Why are people willing to forego useful methods or practices and endure unnecessary discomfort or even injury so they can be cool? I’m not picking on you, this is a general thing.

I’ll use or do whatever works best for what I’m trying to accomplish. I don’t care who thinks it’s soft or stupid.

If I had that simple choice I’d take the rack too.

I work out in a basement gym that consists mainly of very old equipment (20-30 years old) that has been accumulated by the previous members of the gym.

Our smith machine was bought a few years ago out of the budget, however we dont have a pad. The sad part is that the machine broke after only 3 years of use.

The expensive coat rack line what right on the money!

A good solid power rack is 1/2 the price of half-assed smith.