While it is true that the smith machine may not be on the top favorite list for most fitness enthusiasts, this machine has a lot of potentials to discover if you are committed enough. Its unpopularity is because it has many restrictions on movements you can do while using the machine. But, if you still want to give the smith machine a try, this article will help you get started with your smith exercise machines and equip you with some training and guides. You will also find some tips on how to improve your smith exercise routine in the long run.
Why Should You Try Smith Exercise Machine Out?
Even though it looks complicated, smith exercise machines prove to hold a good amount of benefits if you train properly with them. These benefits are:
- Full-Body Exercise – Smith machine is a piece of versatile exercise equipment to improve any muscle parts of your body.
- Less Stress on Shoulder Joints – Compared to free-weight barbell exercises, the fixed path on smith machine bars result in less pressure on your shoulder and leg joints. Therefore, this exercise is also great for those who just get started with weightlifting and feel the free-weight barbell exercise seems too much at first.
- Improve Stability and Balance – As the machine puts less stress on your joints, you can also focus on improving your body balance and strength, especially your core stability. You can achieve this by performing some commonly used smith exercise moves, such as smith machine squats.
- Power Exercise – Smith exercise machines are part of the gym equipment that helps increase muscle strength. So, the main goal of this machine is to improve your power, build body mass, and keep your body in shape.
- Better Safety – One useful feature of smith machines compared to free-weight barbells is a locking mechanism to prevent you from injuring yourself if you don’t have a proper balance. Also, you can limit your range of motion which is useful to improve your core stability.
Types of Smith Machine Workouts
There are dozens of smith machine workout moves that you can find. So, keep in mind that the workouts explained below are just a few common smith machine workout moves that people usually do.
- Shoulder Press – This is the most common smith machine workout move where you can train your shoulder and arm muscles by lifting the weight bars. You can do this while being seated or standing. This move aims to improve your shoulder, chest, triceps, and biceps muscle strength. To perform this exercise:
First, position the weight bar in front or behind your shoulder (depends on which one you are most comfortable with), and grab the bar right above your shoulder width.
Next, push the bar upward by extending your arms above and stay in this position for around 2 to 3 seconds before lowering it back down.
Repeat the exercise according to the assigned sets and reps.
- Bench Press – The second most common smith machine workout move is the bench press. This move aims to improve your chest, triceps, and biceps muscle strength. To perform this exercise:
First, lay down on a bench and position the weight bar right above your lower chest. Grab the bar while your shoulder is wide open.
Next, push up the bar by extending your arms as if you are reaching the sky. Stay in this position for around 2 or 3 seconds before putting the bar down.
Inhale when you are pushing and exhale when you are pulling. Keep pushing up and pulling down according to your sets and reps.
- Squats – Smith machine squats are also commonly used moves in this type of workout. The aim is to improve your legs’ stability and power, along with your overall body posture and core strength. The targeted muscles for this move are the quadriceps and glutes muscles. To perform this exercise:
First, position your shoulder under the weight bar, then hold the bar and unlock it.
Next, make sure to bend both of your knees and align them vertically with your shoulders.
Finally, push the weight bar up and down slowly as you need to pay attention to your body posture. Repeat this step according to your assigned reps and sets.
Squats are versatile, so you can assign the sets and reps to your needs and liking. This move is safer than the free-weight barbells in general as you gain more stability and proper body posture with less stress put on your shoulders and legs.
Other smith exercise machine moves, such as power row, deadlift, overhead press, hip thrust, upright row, reverse-grip row, leg press, etc.
Things to Keep in Mind When Using Smith Exercise Machine
- Pick Your Smith Exercise Moves – As stated above, you can choose many smith exercise moves to help you achieve your fitness goals. You should select the most comfortable moves and the ones suitable for your fitness goals and needs.
- Warm-up – Always start your workout with some warm-ups to prepare your muscle for the intense workload. Skipping this step will cause you a high risk of getting some injuries while working out. You can warm up by doing some shoulder, hips, and leg stretches.
- Stop Exercising When You Feel Sore and Pain – Smith exercises are also considered power exercises. Therefore, there is always a high risk of injuring yourself while doing the workouts. You should stop exercising right away when you feel soreness and pains on some of your body parts, or else it will cause you serious muscle injuries.
- Pay Attention to Your Body Posture – As the smith machine help you by putting less stress on your joints, you have more room to focus more on your body posture and stability while exercising. You should use this opportunity to perfect your balance and posture before moving on to the free-weight barbell lifting.
- Cool-Down – Cooling down after an intense workout session is as essential as warming up before starting the workout. You can also do your cool down by doing some full-body stretches.
Some Ways to Improve Your Workout Routine Using This Machine
- Add more weights. The most efficient way to improve your strength and resistance is to increase the weight bars one at a time. Avoid growing too much weight than your body can handle as it will injure your body and joints instead. Also, pay attention to your body posture and not just to your power gain.
- Combine more than one smith exercise machines moves in one workout session for a more efficient workout routine. You can also gain more from your full-body training by doing this.
- Watch some exercise videos. If you are feeling stuck with your smith exercises or become too mundane, some exercise videos will always help keep up your fitness routine. Usually, some videos will also help you plan your smith exercises better and give some useful tips and tricks you can use while working out.
Most people definitely consider smith exercise machines as underrated gym exercise machines. But in the end, these machines are also tools you can use to achieve your fitness goals. The key is to use them properly and correctly to gain the best out of your smith exercise routines.