T Nation

Smith Machine vs Barbells


I have to do my next couple of workouts in a gym that doesn't have a bench press or squat rack. They also don't have any free bars......it's a 24 hour key-entry facility so because of liability concerns all they have is a smith machine.

I'll need to use the smith for both bench and military presses and my questions is, is there a commonly accepted calculation floating around about how much more weight to add to the smith to make it comparable??


A smith machine bar that is counter weighed usually weighs around 15lbs. 45lbs free bar - 15lbs = 30lbs therefore, you need to add 30lbs to the bar to equal a free bar.

Is this what your asking and looking for?


Exactly what I needed. Thank you


Your welcome.


The smith machine at the gym i am at at the moment is heavier than the standard oly barbell.

Significantly so.


If it's only a couple workouts just play with the plates until you get some challenging poundages. You may be surprised how effective the Smith machine can actually be.


THere are a few variations of the Smith out there, so definitely play around until you get the feel of this one. After a bit, you won't even worry about the groove and feel, and you can just start piling on the plates.



There are ways to disengage the counterweights on many smiths as far as I know, but perhaps not in all instances. Just be on the lookout for suspicious-looking cables etc and follow those, or ask the staff..


Yea, some smith machines require you to balance from left to right, which is pretty nice cause it gives you that barbell type of balance feel