T Nation

Smith Machine Finally Good??

I believe I have finally found a use for Smith machines. I have always had a difficult time getting my calves to respond on traditional exercises. So I tried using the Smith machine with a calf block and I am impressed. The slight backwards angle of the movement hits my calves in a new way and I like it! Something about this plane of motion makes it really hit my calves. I always struggle with ‘feeling’ the calves push through a full range of motion but with this exercise my calves are stimulated in a good way.

Anyone else ever tried this?

Why did it take me this long to think of this?

Eventually I am hoping that this will prepare me for barbell / calf blocks. Right now I fight balance and form on the bbell rather than move weight.

Absolutely not. I personally like single leg calf raises off a step with a DB.

Yes I used to do this movement when I was at a commercial gym. It’s a good way to do your calves. Just make sure you don’t slip off the block with a heavy weight or the smith machine will act like a blunt guillotine!

I use my smith for calves all the time because it’s the best option of the equipment I have in my basement. With a home made block it works fine. Seated and standing. Also some occasional donkeys. I do use dumbbells sometimes though too.

You have the same form concerns as with a standing machine. Knees unlocked, but not bent much and back neither arched nor bowed.

[quote]Tiribulus wrote:
I use my smith for calves all the time because it’s the best option of the equipment I have in my basement. With a home made block it works fine. Seated and standing. Also some occasional donkeys. I do use dumbbells sometimes though too.

You have the same form concerns as with a standing machine. Knees unlocked, but not bent much and back neither arched nor bowed. [/quote]

Donkeys…cool.

What do you lean on? I am guessing you use the Smith for the resistance against your back.

[quote]dentallica wrote:
Tiribulus wrote:
I use my smith for calves all the time because it’s the best option of the equipment I have in my basement. With a home made block it works fine. Seated and standing. Also some occasional donkeys. I do use dumbbells sometimes though too.

You have the same form concerns as with a standing machine. Knees unlocked, but not bent much and back neither arched nor bowed.

Donkeys…cool.

What do you lean on? I am guessing you use the Smith for the resistance against your back.
[/quote]

I turn my bench around and lean on the preacher attachment. I have my wife or daughter turn the hooks. Most of the time I just do em standing though. Calves are pretty simple to work so this works fine.

[quote]dentallica wrote:
I believe I have finally found a use for Smith machines. I have always had a difficult time getting my calves to respond on traditional exercises. So I tried using the Smith machine with a calf block and I am impressed. The slight backwards angle of the movement hits my calves in a new way and I like it! Something about this plane of motion makes it really hit my calves. I always struggle with ‘feeling’ the calves push through a full range of motion but with this exercise my calves are stimulated in a good way.

Anyone else ever tried this?

Why did it take me this long to think of this?

Eventually I am hoping that this will prepare me for barbell / calf blocks. Right now I fight balance and form on the bbell rather than move weight.[/quote]

I have tried something similar where I would stand on a block or a step in the smith machine, but I would do it from the bottom of a squatting position. Like to the point of hamstrings touching calves. For some reason, I found these hit the muscle pretty well.

Do you take the bar on your back?

I hold it in my hands. Gives you a chance to work on your grip. And you can squeeze out a shrug while you’re at it.

It’s the best use of a smith machine in my book.

[quote]Kuz wrote:

I have tried something similar where I would stand on a block or a step in the smith machine, but I would do it from the bottom of a squatting position. Like to the point of hamstrings touching calves. For some reason, I found these hit the muscle pretty well.[/quote]

I dunno if its because it early AM and I am barely awake but how are you doing a calf movement from a squat??

[quote]Wreckless wrote:
Do you take the bar on your back?

I hold it in my hands. Gives you a chance to work on your grip. And you can squeeze out a shrug while you’re at it.

It’s the best use of a smith machine in my book.[/quote]

Yah I use bar on back. Good suggestion - I will try it.