If you’re constantly looking for ways to enhance your home gym or your workout at the gym, whether it’s by adding new equipment, buying more weight discs for your barbell, trying out a new wall ball, or using heavier or lighter kettlebells, you could do with something even more versatile. One of the best machines to consider is the Smith machine.
It’s specifically designed to help you squat, shoulder press, bench press, deadlift and more with the added support of a railing system. However, because this machine costs a lot of money and takes up a lot of room, one may ask if it’s worth it. Or might a different machine be more advantageous?
Benefits of Smith Machines
The robust Smiths machines are great for anyone new to fitness or looking to improve their form. With this in mind, it’s time to talk about why everyone should consider using it, and what are its benefits compared to free weights and other machines.
Stability and Safety
When using free weights, you must balance while supporting the entire weight on your own. For people who struggle with balance either because they’re recuperating from a core injury or surgery, or they’re still working on building strong muscles but don’t quite have enough strength, this might be challenging. As a result, balance and stability problems can make workouts like lunges and squats substantially more difficult.
However, you won’t have to worry about maintaining your balance when using Smiths machines. The barbell you’re using can only go up and down because it’s firmly fastened to the sliding rail. There is no possibility of falling to the side, backward, or front. It’s far simpler to concentrate on the activity itself when you’re not constantly striving to keep a good balance.
Moreover, one of the best features of the Smiths machine is the abundance of cradles, slots, and posts that you can hook the barbell onto. This implies that you can rack the weight safely at any time during your exercise if you’re stumbling or struggling.
It’s a fantastic fail-safe system that will let beginners and lone trainees push themselves a little bit more. You won’t need a spotter or another lifter to assist you with returning the weight to the rack when using this incredible fitness machine.
As we have mentioned before, since maintaining your balance is not difficult when utilizing these machines, you will be able to concentrate more on the activity. This calls for concentrating on your form throughout the whole range of activities as well as your posture before and after each repetition. And, as you should already know, form and posture are of vital importance for optimal fitness.
By maintaining proper posture, you’ll be able to move through the complete range of motion of your joints more easily and organically while also putting less stress on them, especially your lower back. You’ll be less likely to sustain injuries and strengthen the muscles that support and stabilize your joints if you adopt good posture.
This is one of the key arguments in favour of using the Smiths machines for squats and rows. Even if you’ve never done a squat, lunge, or row before, you can complete a workout effortlessly because of the stabilization provided by the machine.
Additionally, you may concentrate on maintaining perfect posture and form during the exercise, which aids beginners in learning each exercise correctly and securely and lowers their chance of further injuries.
Main Muscle Groups Target
With this handy machine, you are only able to perform a finite number of exercises and are constrained to exercising within a specific range of motion, which makes it less flexible and versatile than free weights. However, you can still use the sliding barbell-on-a-rail to focus on your key muscle groups—chest, back, and legs.
In this regard, squats on a Smiths machine help you work your legs. Bench presses on this kind of equipment help you work your shoulders, triceps, and chest. You can even perform exercises like overhead shoulder presses while seated.
If you’re a newbie to fitness and keep on asking yourself whether you can use this highly-versatile machine for upper body exercises, the great news is this kind of machine is good for upper-body workouts as well!
Its bar row, for example, is a fantastic alternative to the traditional barbell row that allows you to focus the upper back muscles without having to worry about the lower back/lower body muscles having to maintain balance.
Moreover, military/overhead shoulder presses and bench presses can both be performed effortlessly on a Smith machine which gives you a variety of alternatives for targeting your upper body!
Good Muscle Isolation
The machine is a great training tool if your objective is to concentrate on a specific muscle or muscle group. You can only move in that single, constrained plane of motion, which allows for pushing, pulling, and squatting. The primary focus is on the muscle that the exercise is targeting because your stabilizer muscles do not need to contract to keep you balanced.
However, performing muscle isolation exercises alone isn’t always the best option! Therefore, it’s preferable to perform compound, multi-muscle movements. Doing them at the end of a training session is the ideal “finishing move” to exhaust your muscles.
To make gains and give their muscles a boost many bodybuilders usually combine bodybuilding supplements with Smith machine workout sessions. Why? Simple – because it allows them to lift more!
Your secondary stabilizer muscles do not need to be activated when you are not having trouble keeping your equilibrium. Therefore, only the prime movers, the primary muscles used during the workout or movement, perform the lifting.
You can lift anywhere from 2-15% more with the machine than with free weights provided you have good posture, the awareness that you can rack the weights if you’re having trouble, and superior muscle isolation. Test it out and you’ll find yourself pushing harder and lifting heavier while seeing those muscles grow!