[quote]Serge A. Storms wrote:
Great post. I love the Smith Machine. I’m so glad I stopped being such an impressionable minion and actually gave it a chance.
I’ll share some of my favorites. I could go on and on with the nuances and descriptions but will do my best to keep it concise.
Curls - My favorite is drop-and-catch curls. I use two 10-lb plates on each side. I’ll do some of these with a longer range-of-motion where I let the bar drop for a foot or so before using a violent biceps contraction to not just catch the weight, but to catch and reverse it’s direction at the same time.
I also do very small ROM curls this way, and the pump is insane. High reps, fast-paced, maximum contractions.
Partials at the top end of the range are also very nice. I like holds in this position. Move your entire body slightly closer or further from the bar to really zero in on the perfect contraction, which is normally hard to get up at the very top of the range.
Sometimes, I stand sideways to the bar and do different 1-arm versions. Very nice way to use subtle changes in wrist position to really localize the contraction focus.
Shrugs - I do so many variations…here’s one: (25’s on each side of the bar would be a good starting point) Use a high-pull type motion to get the bar moving up quickly. Violently contract the traps to hold the bar for a brief second at the top of the motion and as you very slowly allow the bar to descend, lean away from it. Woah.
I have a million other ones for traps. The assistance element of the Smith Machine allows you to achieve holds and slowish negatives in unleveraged positions, that’s what I love.
On the other end of the spectrum, I also use it for more powerful movements like flat bench press.
Basically, I do explosive reps from a deadstart (bar a few inches from chest). This allows me to localize the contraction before I move the bar. Once I have max tension, I pop the bar up like popping a cork. Minimized risk of injury because I can spend time in the setup getting things aligned in a way that I know works for my structure. The explosive concentric is great, but I think there’s more benefit in the negative portion. I allow the bar to free-fall for just a split second, and then catch it with a violent contraction - kind of plyometric in nature, I guess. Then I set the bar down, reset, and do it again. This is where I’ll push the loads up and try to generate a powerful tension signal.[/quote]
Interesting. I have avoided chest exercises on the Smith because I found it hard on my shoulders, unless I got my form absolutely perfect. Even then, the bar path was unnatural for me. Maybe its time I try again, its been 5 years probably