T Nation

Smith Machines are Dangerous


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.



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.


Amen.....any tool used improperly can result in injury.


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:


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.


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.


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


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


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.



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.