Over the last few decades, it’s safe to say that gyms and gym equipment in general, has evolved a fair deal. Of course the ‘meat and potatoes’ of the gym I.E free weights such as barbells and dumbbells have remained largely unchanged, but the machines and equipment itself have evolved remarkably and are now more advanced than ever before. In terms of popularity and effectiveness, one machine that you’re guaranteed to see in pretty much every commercial gym you set foot in, is a Smith Machine. Now, despite what some stubborn “meat heads” would have you believe, Smith Machines are in fact, very valuable and very effective pieces of equipment that have been proven to help individuals of all shapes, sizes, strengths, and athletic abilities, pack lean muscle onto their frames and enjoy one of the most efficient full-body workouts that they could ever hope for. Smith Machines have been popular in the fitness community and industry for at least two decades, probably more than that, and they are now more advanced and effective than ever before. The great thing about them is that they’re perfect for building muscle, toning up, burning fat, building strength, and working your entire body in the process. Here’s a look at 5 of the main benefits associated with working out with a smith machine.
Peace of mind
One of the main benefits of using a smith machine to work out with, is the fact that it is able to provide you with a great deal of peace of mind, which in turn will help you to focus on working out, thereby ensuring that your workout itself is more efficient and productive. For example, one popular exercise that people tend to perform via a smith machine is a bench press for the chest. They perform either decline, flat, or incline bench presses in the same way as they would if they were using a barbell. The main issue with working out with a barbell however, is the fact that unless you train especially light, you need a spotter to help you during the lift. This is because a spotter is there to help ensure that you don’t get crushed or pinned under the bar, if the weight is too heavy or if your grip fails. With a smith machine however, you don’t need a spotter because you don’t need to worry about dropping the bar onto you. If you’re struggling to fully lock out your elbows when bench pressing for example, you simply re-rack the bar using the specially designed safety holes, locking it into place. Knowing that picking up an injury via a smith machine is far less likely, you will benefit greatly from the added peace of mind.
Another great benefit of working out via a smith machine is the fact that the machine itself is basically an all-in-one machine, meaning that you will be able to train your entire body using the device. For example, you can bench press for your chest, military press for your shoulders, bent over row for your back, squat for your legs, close-grip bench press for your triceps, and drag curl for your biceps. Smith machines therefore, are not only very welcome additions to commercial gyms, they’re perfect additions to home gyms as well, particularly for people who don’t happen to have a great deal of space.
Great for building strength
Smith machines are designed in such a way as they actually help to balance out the weight for the user, as opposed to having to use core stabilizer muscles to do so, which the user would need to do if they were training with free weights. This is especially beneficial because it helps to conserve energy, as incorporating stabiliser muscles into the workout will extend energy, making you weaker and less energized. As you can therefore generate all of your power exclusively through the muscles that you happen to be training, you can overload the bar and focus on pushing some heavy weight in a safe and controlled environment. Training heavier will help to isolate specific muscle groups, thereby helping you to increase your strength and power.
Great for squatting
The squat is one of the most popular and brutal exercises in the entire world, and it is certainly not one that should be taken lightly. The main issue with barbell squats however, is that not only can they put a lot of pressure onto your knees, they can also damage the lower back if performed incorrectly. For anybody dealing with knee issues, or limited mobility in the knees and back, the smith machine is perfect for performing squats with. The basic mechanics of the device means that you cannot perform the lift incorrectly. When using barbells, the barbell can wobble, you can lose your footing, you can sway from side to side, and much more besides. The barbell on a smith machine however, is fixed in one spot, which means that it can’t go anywhere but up and down, allowing you to perform the exercise as it is meant to be performed.
People often say that simplicity is key, and with smith machines, this is more apparent than ever before. A lot of complicated gym machines rely on cables, pulley systems, weight stacks, different attachments etc, which, whilst great when they work, can be absolute nightmares when they don’t. Cables regularly snap, become tangled, or come off of their runners, which means that the issues then need resolving. On top of that, having to mess around with various attachments etc, can also be a headache, especially if you’re in a rush. The smith machine however, is about as basic as a machine can get. You have the bar, you add the weight plates that you wish to use, and you then set the bench up for whichever exercise you wish to perform, and that’s it. When you’re done, remove the plates, and hey presto.