T Nation

WHY The Smith Machine?


Why do people use the smith machine? I know it basically sucks but besides the bench press, it gets used more than any other equipment at the gym.

I see people using it for squats, LUNGES, shoulder presses, etc. and have always wondered why. What makes these people feel that the machine is superior?

Who started this smith machine nonsense?


I think it's a false sence of security issue. People are suckers for anything related to security (even politically, but I won't go there).

They feel safer because they can rack the weight with a twist of the wrists, but fail to realize that they may be all the way at the bottom of a movement and the hooks might be in between 2 sets of pins.

They also don't realize that if forces them into a certain path which would almost always take them out of proper form, which can lead to injuries.


I see people using it at my gym a lot. I guess they don't read T-Nation. I guess they're just idiots. They really seem to think that the Smith is doing them some justice.


Trainers tell them to. When I started lifting at the YMCA, a trainer was showing me all the stuff and told me to use the Smith machine because it's safe and you won't need a spotter.
I squatted in it once, that was it.
Now I just use it to do my bridges in.


I found a great use for my smith... I use it for seated calf raises, it works great!!!!!


The Smith machine is just another tool in the gym, you don't have to weld yourself to it and start doing presses and squats on it and getting 'locked in the groove'.

Its sometimes good for certain exercises after using freeweights. For example I do barbell bent rows then do them on the smith, try it, its a good way of training the muscle even further.


I've always wondered why people get so worried about dropping the weights on themselves. Is that a big problem for anybody? Does any apparently healthy person really wander into the gym and fall all over themselves, randomly dropping heavy things?

Most of the people I see in the gym don't lift anything heavy enough for it to matter.


I see all the trainers start all the new initiates on the machine. Even when they could be using 15 pound dumbbells instead.

I just got back from my workout and I saw some guy doing bench presses with the tampon ON. Now that was funny.


Exactly. What makes these trainers think that the smith machine is good for people? Old bodybuilding magazines? I just can't fathom why anyone would look at a smith machine squat and think that it's actually good for something.


The smith machine isn't really important in my training. However, I think it's great for doing weighted push-ups.



A 16 year old kid died in Sweden because he was benching too heavy alone in the gym with a smith machine. Instead of being able to roll it down his stomach or something it got stuck there and he died.


i completely agree with ill, its far from safe i dont feel a pump after i use the smith machine, i felt sore and was aching because it restricted the natural movement on exercises, the biggest thing i see people doing on there is seated military press where they go behind their neck with the movement, i just look away,



Thanks for the laugh


What about when you see someone use it even though they have a spotter? Every gym needs one though as it keeps these idiots off the benches and power racks.


This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.


Fuck's sakes, machine has its uses just like a leg press machine does. Whilst one should not use it as an alternative to free bar in most exercises you can do free weight rows then switch to the smith to totally exhaust, do standing and seated calf raises etc etc.

As for squats, I find them useless on a Smith anyway same as pressing movements.


I am in 100% agreement. People on this site avoid it like the plague and if someone brings it up, they are osterisized. I think that it has its purpose like "Warlord Stig" mentioned.


If you are short, you can also do Chins on a Smith machine. I'm not short so I can just hang from it like a Monkey.


Damnit, I can't keep up with the different names