UnderGround Forums
 

S&C UnderGround >> Smith machine question


3/7/13 11:24 AM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
antisocial2u
2 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 9/14/12
Posts: 22
 
Currently I have a smith machine setup on the 3rd floor that I am using with my workouts. Im following the 5/3/1 program after reading so many positive threads on it here.

I went with a smith machine originally cuz I usually lift without a spotter and thought it was a good option at the time. now I know not everyone is pro-smith, but its been satisfactory for what Ive needed. on occasion I do find myself pushing (during bench) against the vertical bars that the bar is affixed to causing either the bar to 'stick' or 'catch' or at times cause me to push myself backwards while laying on the bench. whatever, i guess thats just what happens.

anyway, now to get to the question. what is the relationship from bench/squat weight that can be done on a smith machine to what can be done on a free weight bench? is it fairly equal or should i expect to be able to move more weight on a free weight bench?

I have 2 free weight benches that I am thinking about setting up in the basement, but I am not sure about if I will need be able to start around where I am now. I know its not a big deal, but if I can avoid going thru the 'figuring out what i can lift' phase from going from one to the other it would save me some time.

anyway, if anyone has any input, its appreciated. thanks
3/7/13 11:32 AM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
paw
1168 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 1/1/01
Posts: 32986

re: what is the relationship from bench/squat weight that can be done on a smith machine to what can be done on a free weight bench?

 

IMO, there is no relationship.  They are different lifts. 

My guess is that you will lift LESS on a free weight bench than on a smith machine because you will have to stabilize the weight yourself - but that's only a guess.

3/7/13 11:43 AM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
antisocial2u
2 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 9/14/12
Posts: 23
ah alright. I was thinking they would be more similar

but yes I would have to stabilize the weight more (but a lot more?) myself and range of motion I can see would change. maybe even body positioning.

3/7/13 11:44 AM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
shootfighterbull
Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 12/6/05
Posts: 26250
Finding your weight on the free-weight bench should be easy. Add weights until it's hard to lift. Phone Post
3/7/13 11:51 AM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
paw
1168 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 1/1/01
Posts: 32987
antisocial2u - ah alright. I was thinking they would be more similar

but yes I would have to stabilize the weight more (but a lot more?) myself and range of motion I can see would change. maybe even body positioning.


...and I'm sure there are other factors which is why I would consider them two different lifts having very little relationship to each other.

 

Check out EliteFTS' tutorial on benching so you think you can bench

 

 

3/7/13 11:59 AM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Taku
143 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 1/1/01
Posts: 6564

"SMITH" machine is a generic term. There are many makes and models. Some of them have counter-balanced bars which make the weight of the bar almost zero. Others are not counter-balanced and the bar weighs a great deal more than a conventional Olympic size barbell.

I agree with those who stated that there is little similarity between the SMITH machine and lifting free-weights. The extra skill (and balance) required for free-weight movements will certainly have you lifting less weight.

Ultimately, I feel the smith machine is a perfectly acceptable option for strength training. The skill of lifitng is un-important unless one is competing in a sport where lifting technque is required (P-lifting / O-lifting).

TAKU

3/7/13 1:10 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
antisocial2u
2 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 9/14/12
Posts: 24
the one I have is not counter-balanced. just a lifting bar connected to 2 vertical bars.

and very true it is just as easy as adding a weight to each side until I reach my limit. just was hoping to be lazy and skip that if there was a general rule.

thank you to all who commented.
3/8/13 5:35 AM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
antisocial2u
2 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 9/14/12
Posts: 25
it does take up a lot of space, atleast the one i have does. thats one reason I was thinking of setting up the free weight benches in the basement. thatll open up the room the smith machine is currently in for something else.

and the range of moment is very limited definately, no argument about that. at the time I was just thinking safety as I couldnt guarentee I would have a spotter. I only use it currently for bench and squat.. but it does have a nice pulley setup which I had used previously.

ah well, I guess live and learn.
3/8/13 8:46 AM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
AdrianK
51 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 11/14/02
Posts: 4029
I have a smith machine, I like to use it at as a vertical leg press and for standing and seated calf raises. I would never use it for squats or bench or shoulder presses. The reason is as mentioned with the smith you are locked into an unnatural plane of motion which causes joint injuries over time.
3/8/13 8:58 AM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
antisocial2u
2 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 9/14/12
Posts: 26
I never thought about using it for vertical leg press.

Do you support your back with a flat bench or just lay on the floor?

3/8/13 9:40 AM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
AdrianK
51 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 11/14/02
Posts: 4032
I put a couple pieces of puzzle mat down for comfort and go from the floor. It works really well. Takes a bit of playing with to find the right position and to get used to flipping the hooks in and out with your feet but if you got a good smith its not too hard to do. Make sure you set the safety catches to the right height obviously so you dont get into any trouble with it. Its a real leg blaster, I like to do heavy full range reps then finish with with top range partials until my legs are screaming at me to stop
3/9/13 2:06 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
The Gimp
5 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 10/3/04
Posts: 3603
Taku - 

"SMITH" machine is a generic term. There are many makes and models. Some of them have counter-balanced bars which make the weight of the bar almost zero. Others are not counter-balanced and the bar weighs a great deal more than a conventional Olympic size barbell.

I agree with those who stated that there is little similarity between the SMITH machine and lifting free-weights. The extra skill (and balance) required for free-weight movements will certainly have you lifting less weight.

Ultimately, I feel the smith machine is a perfectly acceptable option for strength training. The skill of lifitng is un-important unless one is competing in a sport where lifting technque is required (P-lifting / O-lifting).

TAKU


Taku,

What would you say to those who believe that balancing and stabilizing the free weights gives them a significant advantage over machines like the smith machine?

Thanks!
3/9/13 3:36 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
andyman011
Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 12/7/11
Posts: 1557
The Gimp -
Taku - 

"SMITH" machine is a generic term. There are many makes and models. Some of them have counter-balanced bars which make the weight of the bar almost zero. Others are not counter-balanced and the bar weighs a great deal more than a conventional Olympic size barbell.

I agree with those who stated that there is little similarity between the SMITH machine and lifting free-weights. The extra skill (and balance) required for free-weight movements will certainly have you lifting less weight.

Ultimately, I feel the smith machine is a perfectly acceptable option for strength training. The skill of lifitng is un-important unless one is competing in a sport where lifting technque is required (P-lifting / O-lifting).

TAKU


Taku,

What would you say to those who believe that balancing and stabilizing the free weights gives them a significant advantage over machines like the smith machine?

Thanks!
That would be correct. Unless you are trying to isolate.
Its a lot harder to balance a bench along with pressing it compared to just pressing and not worrying about weight falling forward or backwards or sideways. Squats too. On a smith you do a completely different position from free weight. You can't really stick your ass out on a smith squat because you're gonna injure yourself Phone Post
3/9/13 3:52 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Shanle929
Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 2/19/13
Posts: 26
I personally don't like the "smith" machines either for the same reason as everyone else has stated, balance/stability of weight. However the one thing I use the smith machine for is loaded single leg squats. Unless you're a super star, most people can't do a loaded single leg or pistol squat without one. And you'll be using less weight for sure with the free weights. Phone Post
3/9/13 5:55 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
HULC
46 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 1/1/01
Posts: 4639
andyman011 - 
The Gimp -
Taku - 

"SMITH" machine is a generic term. There are many makes and models. Some of them have counter-balanced bars which make the weight of the bar almost zero. Others are not counter-balanced and the bar weighs a great deal more than a conventional Olympic size barbell.

I agree with those who stated that there is little similarity between the SMITH machine and lifting free-weights. The extra skill (and balance) required for free-weight movements will certainly have you lifting less weight.

Ultimately, I feel the smith machine is a perfectly acceptable option for strength training. The skill of lifitng is un-important unless one is competing in a sport where lifting technque is required (P-lifting / O-lifting).

TAKU


Taku,

What would you say to those who believe that balancing and stabilizing the free weights gives them a significant advantage over machines like the smith machine?

Thanks!
That would be correct. Unless you are trying to isolate.
Its a lot harder to balance a bench along with pressing it compared to just pressing and not worrying about weight falling forward or backwards or sideways. Squats too. On a smith you do a completely different position from free weight. You can't really stick your ass out on a smith squat because you're gonna injure yourself Phone Post

Yep they're different motions, but how does one give you an advantage over the other when doing completely unrelated movements like jumping or running? All the studies carried out so far suggest it makes no difference.
3/10/13 2:51 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
andyman011
Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 12/7/11
Posts: 1561
HULC -
andyman011 - 
The Gimp -
Taku - 

"SMITH" machine is a generic term. There are many makes and models. Some of them have counter-balanced bars which make the weight of the bar almost zero. Others are not counter-balanced and the bar weighs a great deal more than a conventional Olympic size barbell.

I agree with those who stated that there is little similarity between the SMITH machine and lifting free-weights. The extra skill (and balance) required for free-weight movements will certainly have you lifting less weight.

Ultimately, I feel the smith machine is a perfectly acceptable option for strength training. The skill of lifitng is un-important unless one is competing in a sport where lifting technque is required (P-lifting / O-lifting).

TAKU


Taku,

What would you say to those who believe that balancing and stabilizing the free weights gives them a significant advantage over machines like the smith machine?

Thanks!
That would be correct. Unless you are trying to isolate.
Its a lot harder to balance a bench along with pressing it compared to just pressing and not worrying about weight falling forward or backwards or sideways. Squats too. On a smith you do a completely different position from free weight. You can't really stick your ass out on a smith squat because you're gonna injure yourself Phone Post

Yep they're different motions, but how does one give you an advantage over the other when doing completely unrelated movements like jumping or running? All the studies carried out so far suggest it makes no difference.
In unrelated movements I can't say much but I'm pretty sure if you squat ass to ground you'll have stronger legs than if you just did smith squats which isolates quads and hams. Phone Post
3/10/13 7:11 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
HULC
46 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 1/1/01
Posts: 4642
andyman011 - 
HULC -
andyman011 - 
The Gimp -
Taku - 

"SMITH" machine is a generic term. There are many makes and models. Some of them have counter-balanced bars which make the weight of the bar almost zero. Others are not counter-balanced and the bar weighs a great deal more than a conventional Olympic size barbell.

I agree with those who stated that there is little similarity between the SMITH machine and lifting free-weights. The extra skill (and balance) required for free-weight movements will certainly have you lifting less weight.

Ultimately, I feel the smith machine is a perfectly acceptable option for strength training. The skill of lifitng is un-important unless one is competing in a sport where lifting technque is required (P-lifting / O-lifting).

TAKU


Taku,

What would you say to those who believe that balancing and stabilizing the free weights gives them a significant advantage over machines like the smith machine?

Thanks!
That would be correct. Unless you are trying to isolate.
Its a lot harder to balance a bench along with pressing it compared to just pressing and not worrying about weight falling forward or backwards or sideways. Squats too. On a smith you do a completely different position from free weight. You can't really stick your ass out on a smith squat because you're gonna injure yourself Phone Post

Yep they're different motions, but how does one give you an advantage over the other when doing completely unrelated movements like jumping or running? All the studies carried out so far suggest it makes no difference.
In unrelated movements I can't say much but I'm pretty sure if you squat ass to ground you'll have stronger legs than if you just did smith squats which isolates quads and hams. Phone Post

Stronger legs in what way? If you mean it will make you stronger in non weight room movements then the research disagrees with you. If you mean it will give you greater hypertrophy then some supporting evidence would be important.
3/10/13 7:12 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
HULC
46 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 1/1/01
Posts: 4643
RobinHood -  The 'smith' used on a long term basis will be a recipe to damaging your body. There is a reason why we have stabiliser muscles. The 'smith' will make your big primary muscles super strong but your secondary muscles weak. You will suffer significant imbalances together with posture issues.

At the end of the day, it's about your goals and whether you want to train for x-years or your in this for the long game. Phone Post

Have you any evidence to support this?
3/10/13 8:03 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Taku
143 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Edited: 03/10/13 8:22 PM
Member Since: 1/1/01
Posts: 6571

There is no truth to the idea that:

1. Machine training leads to injury due to a lack of training stabilzation muscles.

2. That free moving devices are better or more functional due to the balance requirement.

Each specific movement requires a specific movement pattern (or skill) to execute. For general training, the pattern is not very important.

I have said this many times:

1. Muscle overload can be applied with a variety of tools: barbells, dumbbells, machines, manually applied resistance, body weight, sand bags, etc. Anything that can create high tension in the muscles can be used.

2. There is no skill transfer from a weight room exercise to a totally different athletic skill done in competition. The principle of specificity clearly states that for a positive transfer to occur, exactness in a number of factors must be present. The fact is, no weight room exercise exactly replicates any sport skill (other than the sports of weightlifting and power lifting). That is why one should practice his / her sport skills separately, then generally improve total-body weight room strength.

 3. A “functional' exercise is any exercise you do that makes you stronger. Read: any exercise that creates overload on a muscle and is done progressively is “functional.” Last time I checked, ALL muscle groups were important at some point for proper athletic skill execution and injury prevention.

TAKU



 

3/10/13 8:20 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Taku
143 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 1/1/01
Posts: 6574

Remember ths:

Strength training for athletes is a means to an end -- not an end in itself. It is not the goal to develop Olympic Weightlifters, Powerlifters or Bodybuilders. Rather, the goal of strength training is to develop maximal levels of muscular strength to maximize functional capacity.

The development of muscular strength is the general progression of increasing the muscle’s ability to produce force. In other words, strength is a non-specific adaptation developed in the weight room whereas skills are a specific adaptation developed through guided practice. As a result, strength is developed physically in the weight room, which by a separate process is developed mechanically outside the weight room. Simply stated, you build muscle in the weight room and movement outside the weight room.

TAKU

 

TAKmus

3/10/13 9:01 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
HULC
46 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 1/1/01
Posts: 4652
RobinHood - 
HULC -
RobinHood -  The 'smith' used on a long term basis will be a recipe to damaging your body. There is a reason why we have stabiliser muscles. The 'smith' will make your big primary muscles super strong but your secondary muscles weak. You will suffer significant imbalances together with posture issues.

At the end of the day, it's about your goals and whether you want to train for x-years or your in this for the long game. Phone Post

Have you any evidence to support this?
Muscle imbalance, poor mobility and impingement. This paper does not compare the difference between Smith v free-weight.

The idea is that primary muscle driver that eliminates auxiliary muscle support.

http://www.udel.edu/PT/clinic/journalclub/old/sojournalclub/03_04/oct03/wang.pdf Phone Post

As you say, this paper doesn't mention Smith machines at all. As such it's irrelevant to the question i asked you.

To the best of my knowledge there are no studies that show use of the Smith machines being correlated to higher levels of injury than use of free weights.
3/10/13 11:51 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
andyman011
Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 12/7/11
Posts: 1563
HULC -
RobinHood - 
HULC -
RobinHood -  The 'smith' used on a long term basis will be a recipe to damaging your body. There is a reason why we have stabiliser muscles. The 'smith' will make your big primary muscles super strong but your secondary muscles weak. You will suffer significant imbalances together with posture issues.

At the end of the day, it's about your goals and whether you want to train for x-years or your in this for the long game. Phone Post

Have you any evidence to support this?
Muscle imbalance, poor mobility and impingement. This paper does not compare the difference between Smith v free-weight.

The idea is that primary muscle driver that eliminates auxiliary muscle support.

http://www.udel.edu/PT/clinic/journalclub/old/sojournalclub/03_04/oct03/wang.pdf Phone Post

As you say, this paper doesn't mention Smith machines at all. As such it's irrelevant to the question i asked you.

To the best of my knowledge there are no studies that show use of the Smith machines being correlated to higher levels of injury than use of free weights.
Its not about a paper saying it. Common sense would say if you work main muscles isolated, your support muscles will get worked less and so when you go for free weights or go to pick something up you're either gonna fall over or pull a support muscle that wasn't worked. Phone Post
3/11/13 2:10 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Taku
143 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 1/1/01
Posts: 6576

The idea that training on machines will break you is just plain silly. Approximately 50% of the teams in the NFL use machine based training in their S&C programs. On any given Sunday, it is impossible to tell by watching them play, which team used Machines, and which team used Free-weights. Interestingly, the Ravens are a machine based team.

The tool is not important. Your body does not truly isolate any mucles when working hard. A Barbell curl, and a triceps push-down , work a lot more than just the targeted muscles.

TAKU

 

3/11/13 5:35 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
andyman011
Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 12/7/11
Posts: 1567
Taku -

The idea that training on machines will break you is just plain silly. Approximately 50% of the teams in the NFL use machine based training in their S&C programs. On any given Sunday, it is impossible to tell by watching them play, which team used Machines, and which team used Free-weights. Interestingly, the Ravens are a machine based team.

The tool is not important. Your body does not truly isolate any mucles when working hard. A Barbell curl, and a triceps push-down , work a lot more than just the targeted muscles.

TAKU

 

More than 50% of football players have injuries or will face injuries later on in life. They are one of the highest injury sports. Not necessarily due to smith machines but who knows Phone Post
3/11/13 6:21 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Taku
143 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Edited: 03/11/13 6:22 PM
Member Since: 1/1/01
Posts: 6579

 

I use football as an example because:

1. It is a population that I work closely with. 

2. I consider American Football to be a combat sport. 

3. They are a population of elite athletes at the top of their game.

The fact that a lot of football players get injured, has little to do with how they train, and a lot to do with how the game is played. 

The fact that the injury rate is high can in no way be traced back to the type of training which is used. In fact I know that there is data which shows that several of the machine training based teams had some of the lowest injury rates on record. 

*Also several years ago, someone took the time to compare the win / loss records of machine based teams to non-machine based teams. Overall the machine based teams game out at slightly above 500 while the non-machine based teams came out at slightly below 500. 

All combat sports carry with them some inherent risk. American Football is one of the most (if not the most) violent sports around.

There are athletes in every major sport (even Olympic sports) who base their training around evidence based exercise protocols calling for brief intense infrequent training using a wide variety of tools. I do not believe that any single strength training tool or modality is superior.

Obviously, it is the intent of any strength-training program to ENHANCE the physical potentials of the lifter rather than ENDANGER the lifter.

All choices must be filtered through a cost to benefit ratio filter. I make my choices based on the safety of the athlete as well as the efficaciousness of the methodology utilized.

Pau for Now

TAKU

*I mention this only as a point of interest, not to imply the superiority of a certain training method.


Reply Post

You must log in to post a reply. Click here to login.