Welcome to the Smith Machine!

April 4, 2018

 

Our CYBEX Smith Machine is the smoothest you'll ever use! These exercises below are not the only ones you can do on the Smith.....there are dozens more! Such a versatile machine - we have senior women all the way through bodybuilders that make use of this equipment.

 

What the heck is a Smith Machine?

The Smith machine is a barbell attached to a sliding vertical track, lined with slots. The barbell can be hooked on those slots at various heights. That allows the weight lifter to lock the barbell in place if the weight gets to be too heavy. 

 

Why use the Smith Machine?

The Smith machine's chief advantage is safety. All it takes is a twist of the wrist, and you can just walk away from the machine with the barbell secured to the frame. That feature is great if you don't have a friend to help spot you while you lift weights. It also comes in handy for horizontal rows and other body-weight exercises that can be modified by placing the barbell at different heights. Another advantage of the Smith machine is versatility. While many weightlifting machines target a very specific set of muscles, the Smith machine can work your legs, arms, chest, back, shoulders and more.

 

Four Smith Machine Exercises:

 

Squats

Squats are the exercise you most commonly will see performed on the Smith machine. They also are the most controversial. When you use a Smith machine, the vertical track reduces your need to balance front-to-back and side-to-side. That allows you to focus on just one thing: moving the weight up and down. And remember you can lock the weight at any height if things get a little too heavy. That vertical motion is a blessing and a curse. While it reduces your chance of accidents, a complete linear motion during squats isn't natural. That can place uneven and unnatural pressure on your skeleton. Also, eliminating the muscles needed to balance means fewer muscle being worked overall. So try squats on the Smith machine, but don't continue if you experience pain or are more comfortable performing squats without a machine.

- For Smith machine squats, set the bar to a height just below your shoulder level. Start with just the weight of the bar, then add weights before future workouts. Try to find a weight you comfortably can squat 10 times.

- Position yourself under the barbell with your feet shoulder-width apart. Keep your head up and your back straight while gently resting the barbell atop your shoulders and pushing up until you're standing fully supporting the weight of the barbell across your shoulders. 

- Slowly bend your knees to lower the bar. Remember to keep your head up and your back straight. Continue until the angle between your thighs and calves reaches 90 degrees and your thigh is parallel with the floor. Breathe in.

- As you exhale, push the floor with your heels to raise the barbell and straighten your legs. When you reach your starting position, you've completed one squat. Do nine more to complete the set.

- Always start with low weight to gauge how your body responds to Smith machine squats. If you've had back issues, you might want to skip squats and find other leg exercises better suited to your body.

 

Horizontal Row

Also known as the inverted row, this exercise uses the Smith machine to work the upper back. The advantage of using a Smith machine, instead of just any horizontal bar, is you can adjust the height of the bar. The higher you place the bar, the easier the exercise becomes.


- Start with the bar at chest height. You don't need any weights on it. If you discover chest height is too easy, move the bar down to waist height. If it's too hard at your chest level, move the bar up to shoulder height.

- Facing the ceiling with your heels on the ground and your body straight, hang from the bar with your arms wider than your shoulders. Start with your arms fully extended.

- Pull your chest toward the bar by flexing your elbows and pushing your shoulder blades together. Try to touch your chest to the bar, pause, then lower yourself back to starting position. 

- It's important to only let your heels touch the ground and to keep your body straight. Try 10 repetitions for a solid set.

 

Bench Press

The bench press just might be the most famous chest exercise, but the thought of lying on your back with a weighted bar above your chest might seem a little risky. Ideally, you can have a spotter help you when that weight feels a little too heavy. But if you don't have a spotter, the Smith machine will do. The rails help ensure you keep your motion vertical, and the slots allow you to lock the barbell in position with a twist of the wrist. That way you can stop the exercise at any time and recover your strength.

- Start by placing a bench underneath the Smith machine's barbell. The barbell should be at a height you can reach while lying down with your arms fully extended. Position the bench so your chest will be in line with the barbell.

- Add weight plates evenly to both sides of the barbell. You might want to start with no weights, just to get the feeling down, then add plates until you find a weight you can lift 10 times in a row.

 - Once your weight is set, lie down on the bench and align your chest with the barbell. With your palms facing up, grip the barbell wider than your shoulders and hold it up with your arms locked. Twist the barbell to remove it from its slot on the Smith machine.

- Inhale as you slowly lower the bar to your chest, then exhale as you push the barbell back to starting position. The goal is to complete this series 10 times, always lowering the barbell more slowly than when you raise it. When you're finished, be sure to twist the barbell forward again to secure it in the Smith machine.

 

Shrugs

More powerful shoulders and a stronger neck will reduce neck and back pain and will help you when lifting objects. Shrugs work to build up your shoulders and your neck, and the Smith machine excels at shrug exercises. Shrugs are performed exactly as they sound: You just shrug while holding a weighted barbell.

- To start, set the barbell height around mid-thigh. Load weights, just as you would for the bench press.

- Grip the barbell with your palms facing you and your arms shoulder-width apart. Make sure your back is straight before lifting.

- With your arms fully extended, release the barbell from the Smith machine slot. 

- To lift, raise your shoulders toward your ears, keeping your arms fully extended. Hold your shoulders in their top position for a second before lowering the bar back down to the starting position. Repeat nine times, trying to use only your shoulders in the lifting motion.

 

 

 

Edison's Smart Fitness

Gym, Fitness Center, Health Club

North Myrtle Beach, Myrtle Beach, Little River

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Edison's Smart Fitness, LLC

Coastal North Town Center

1424 Hwy 17N - Unit 1

North Myrtle Beach  29582

 

phone: (843) 273-0021