T Nation

Smith Machines are Dangerous


#1

I've heard that smith machines can potentially cause injuries due to being kept in a fixed plane of motion and not training the stabilizers. I was wondering if this is true or not. Thanks for any replies.


#2

No.

It’s a tool in your arsenal. use it as such. It’s only dangerous if you think you will replace the exercise completely and exclusively.


#3

[quote]JFG wrote:
No.

It’s a tool in your arsenal. use it as such. It’s only dangerous if you think you will replace the exercise completely and exclusively. [/quote]

Amen…any tool used improperly can result in injury.


#4

[quote]janson8000 wrote:
I’ve heard that smith machines can potentially cause injuries due to being kept in a fixed plane of motion and not training the stabilizers. I was wondering if this is true or not.[/quote]
It’s true in the sense that overuse and/or inappropriate use of the Smith can lead to trouble. Just like overuse and/or inappropriate use of a barbell or kettlebell can lead to trouble.

Like the guys have said, the Smith machine is a tool that should be used when and if needed. Just like an ez curl bar, leg press, or pulldown station.

“Why I Love the Smith Machine” by John Meadows is worth a read for some perspective:


#5

stabilisers schmabilisers.

Smith machine’s excellent. Love me some high incline smith presses. Pre-exhaust your delts with some laterals and rear delt flyes and you’ve got one spicy meatball.


#6

The counterbalance is my favorite feature of the smith machine.

It allows you to create big-time muscle tension in positions you’d not otherwise be able to create.

For example, you can do a high-pull type of movement where you stop the bar and the very top of the range and hold it for a brief second. There is no way you’d be able to do that without the counterbalance.

High pulls, upright rows, drop-and-catch curls are my current favorites.

I actually like that it has a fixed line of resistance, as it helps with the MMC in locating the contraction and really hammering one specific area.


#7

Smith machines are not dangerous. People that do not understand physics and physiology are dangerous…to themselves.


#8

I’ve seen a man doing cross-footed quarter squats in the smith machine. Now, there was a man throwing caution to the wind.


#9

I think anything that obsessively maintains only one specific groove can potentially lead to imbalances and overuse issues, BUT, with the complexities involved in any intelligent training plan, I highly doubt you’re going to hear of such things soley being the result of a smith machine.

Intelligent trainers use it, as do idiots. Just another available options you can make use of. I do understand the discussion of possibly limiting the stabilizers moreso than more free-moving exercises. In most instances though, unless you’re rehabbing an injury or post-surgery, I don’t really think it’s something to worry about.

S


#10

I only use it for drop sets or if I’m maxing a set so I can stop at anytime and not crush myself because of not being able to raise it back up again. The only time it replaced nearly everything was when I injured my thumb so I could just push and not have to grab it to stabs lies it. Other wise most of the time regular sets or a spotter = no smith machine use.