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5 Myths About The Smith Machine

Most likely, if you go to a commercial gym on a regular basis, you have seen or heard about the Smith Machine. This smith machine is one of the most common types of gym equipment. Whether you used it or not, the smith machine is definitely a staple in commercial gyms.

(Source: Elements.envato.com)

The Smith Machine is a weight machine used for weight training. It is designed for controlled barbell strength training. This gym equipment consists of a barbell that is fixed within steel rails allowing only vertical or near-vertical movement. In addition to that, some Smith machines have the barbell counterbalanced. Today, there are newer smith machine models that permit for a little amount of horizontal movement. The Smith machine can be used for several types of exercises but is well known for doing squats and presses. However, many do not know that the machine can be used for a wide variety of exercises.

Throughout the years since the smith machine was introduced to the market, many athletes, trainers, and regular gym goers have a love-hate relationship with the gym equipment. One would argue that the smith machine is not helpful while the other would say that the smith machine is heaven-sent. In the middle of these debates between exercise enthusiasts, myths about the smith machine emerged. These myths are a widely held but false beliefs or ideas about the smith machine, especially when we let the science do the talking.

TSo if you are interested in what these myths are, you should definitely continue reading.

1. The Smith Machine Will Give You Mediocre Results

Many would say that training on a smith machine will only give you mediocre exercise results. However, people do not realize that strict training programs require variations. If you are in to lift training, you cannot lift max on every exercise because that will only produce an injury rather than a result. In addition to that, you need to know when to push your muscles as a group and when to target only specific muscles. So, it is always a good idea to have days that ease the stress in your joints and muscles in your week of training. Those are the days you should incorporate the Smith machine because it will surely give you excellent results. Studies have shown that you can perform exercises such as military press with the smith machine in a more controlled fashion but still get the same results without putting any risk of injury to your joints. With the smith machine, you can work your muscles while not giving too much tension in your joints.

Moreover, you should recognize that in order to have good results such as developed muscles and strength, lifting heavy loads is not the only ingredient. Good balance and proper posture are also vital components. With that, you need to know when to distribute the working load throughout your workout routine. Hence, you should perform exercises in the smith machine because it balances the weight in your body which gives you the ability to focus on your posture, which then results in an excellent exercise set that can produce outstanding results.

With that, it is a myth when people say that the smith machine will only give you mediocre results. As what they say, results do not come fast. But if you do take your time with the smith machine that gives you the ability to perform exercises safely, you will enjoy continuous improvements and excellent results soon after.

2. Your Exercise Choices Are Limited With Smith Machine

Traditional smith machines only allow vertical or near-vertical movement. However, 5here are a lot of variations of this smith machine today which permits movements in forwards and backward directions. With that, your exercise choices are definitely not limited with this smith machine. The smith machine is a weight equipment that aids in resistance training especially to those casual or inexperienced strength trainees who are not yet familiar with resistance training and those who do not know how to safely perform free weight exercises involving heavy weights. In fact, a wide array of different movements can surely be performed with the smith machine. Exercises such as squats, bench press, rows, seated overhead press, drag curl, among others are some of the routines you can do with the smith machine. More importantly, this gym equipment allows users to perform these exercises better because the weight present at the base of the machine counterbalances the heavy weights users lift. This results in users having more body control and better posture.

3. Doing A Smith Machine Squat Is Not Beneficial

(Source: Elements.envato.com)

One of the most famous uses of the smith machine in the gym is for squats. Many would say that doing a smith machine squat is not beneficial compared to doing it in free weights. Unlike free weight squats where your feet are only placed directly under the bar, the smith machine squat allows you to place your feet to various distances because the need to balance the bar is already removed. With that, the smith machine allows you to choose which muscles to highlight through adjusting your feet position: when your feet are placed farther apart which results in less quad involvement and greater hamstring and glute involvement; when your feet are directly positioned under the bar, the quadriceps muscles are targeted, while little emphasis are placed to the hamstrings and glutes; when your feet are placed approximately 12 inches in front, the quadriceps, hamstrings, and quad are equally targeted; when your feet are positioned approximately 18 inches in front, little emphasis are put in the quads while the hams and glutes received the greatest emphasis.

Hence, it is definitely a myth when people say that doing a smith machine squat is not beneficial when evidence shows that performing different types of smith machine squat are able to isolate specific muscles.

4. The Smith Machine Cannot Target Your Desired Muscles

Some people believe that because the smith machine provides assistance for body control and posture it doesn’t really target and isolate the desired muscle that you want to train during an exercise. However, people do not realize that because the smith machine can balance out gravity for them it results in better isolation of desired muscles. If you are using a smith machine, you do not have to worry about balance. With that, you are able to focus on strengthening and contracting your muscle instead of trying to keep a balanced body during an exercise set. Examples of smith machine exercises that are excellent in isolating specific muscles include standing calf raises, heavy shrugs, bench press, squats, and the likes. It is clear that there are specific exercises that need isolation or specific bodyweight movements. These exercises can be performed in a much better way using the smith machine.

5. It Increases Risk After Prolonged Use

The smith machine is built with safety mechanisms that allow users to perform exercises without a spotter. However, many have a wrong belief that using the smith machine after a long time would cause injuries due to muscle imbalances and weaknesses. Many do not realize that smith machines are usually utilized rehabilitation centers and sporting facilities in order to help build and strengthen the injured muscles of people including those of athletes. The smith machine allows injured athletes to work their muscle groups with greater stability, especially when recovering from an injury and when the joint is still unstable. The smith machine balances out the weight which lets the user focus on body posture and muscle stability. With that, even after prolonged use, it is still safe to use the smith machine, even safer than doing free weight exercises.


Many people do not get the full benefit of using the Smith machine because they believe these myths about the gym equipment. The Smith machine is an excellent equipment that offers a wide range of exercises, while ensuring that you perform them safely and with more ease and control. As long as you utilize the smith machine correctly and regularly, you will realize that believing such wrong ideas is pointless and a waste of time, especially when you can reach your desired physique in no time with the help of the Smith machine.

1. Burn The Fat Blog. 2018. Is Squatting In The Smith Machine Dangerous And Non-Functional?. Retrieved from: https://www.burnthefatblog.com/is-the-smith-machine-squat-dangerous/. Retrieved on 28 April 2021.
2. Muscle and Fitness. 2018. Barbell Squats Vs. Smith Machine Squats. Retrieved from: https://www.muscleandfitness.com/flexonline/training/barbell-squats-vs-smith-machine-squats/. Retrieved on 28 April 2021.
3. MSam’s Fitness. 2018. Are Smith Machines Bad?. Retrieved from: https://samsfitness.com.au/sams-blog/are-smith-machines-bad. Retrieved on 28 April 2021.
4. SRJ News. 2020. Everything To Know About The Smith Machine – Myths Buster. Retrieved from: https://www.srjnews.com/everything-to-know-about-the-smith-machine-myths-buster/9304/. Retrieved on 28 April 2021.
5. T-Nation. 2018. Tip: Your Hatred of the Smith Machine is Dumb. Retrieved from: https://www.t-nation.com/tip-dumbbell-curl-overhead-extension-superset/. Retrieved on 28 April 2021.

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