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Different Exercises You Can Do With A Smith Machine

In recent years, weight and resistance training has been significantly increasing in popularity. Through repetitive and constant exercise by using external resistance which can include dumbbells, own body weight, gym equipment, and other things that result in contraction of the muscles, resistance and weight training lead to an increase in strength, tone, mass, and endurance of the muscles. With proper discipline, diet, and resistance training, other than the changes in the appearance of muscles, there is also a significant improvement in its motor functions and power capabilities.

With that in mind, you can perform resistance training using either free weights or exercise machines. The most common equipment utilized for fixed form exercise using machines is the Smith Machine. In its simplest form, it is a weight equipment that contains a barbell fixed between steel rails. Today, there are a lot of variations of this smith machine which allows movements in forwards and backward directions compared to the traditional smith machine that only permits vertical movements. However, whatever type of smith machine you are using, you can still do a wide array of exercises such as squats, bench press, rows, seated overhead press, and drag curl. More importantly, this machine allows users to perform these exercises safely and better because the weight present at the base of the machine counterbalances the heavy weights users lift in order to have more body control and stabilized muscles. Hence, it is good to note that 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

As stated above, there are a lot of exercises you can perform with the Smith Machine. It is important to know what these exercises are and how to perform them with the equipment. With that, here is a list of exercises you can do and choose from when using the Smith Machine:

1. Bench Press Throw

(Image lifted from: https://www.t-nation.com)

One of the most effective ways of building your upper body frame is through power exercises using the Smith Machine-assisted Bench Press Throw. This type of exercise can increase muscle strength, build muscle mass, and even help body fat loss.

In order to perform a bench press throw in a smith machine, a flat bench must be placed in the middle of the equipment. Then, load your preferred weight onto the bar. After that, have yourself positioned on the flat bench, making sure that the bar is above your lower chest when you bring it down towards your body. Then, grab the bar a bit wider than your shoulder width. After that, set your grip comfortably. Then, set the bar free through releasing it from the hooks. With elbows not locked out, move the bar over your chest with arms fully extended. After that, lower the bar down to your chest and, as fast and explosively as possible, press the bar up. Lastly, catch the bar as it comes back down lowering it again in your chest and repeat once again the process. you can increase your weight and your reps in order to further enhance muscle power and strength, once you have mastered the light weights.

2. Upright Row

(Image lifted from: https://www.popsugar.com)

A smith machine assisted upright row aids in developing your trapezius muscles or the muscles in the upper middle part of your back. This type of exercises is also considered as a complementary exercise to back and shoulder workouts. In order to perform the upright row in a smith machine, you must first adjust the bar of the equipment so that it is placed exactly at the middle of your thighs. After that, load the bar. A great starting load is five-pound plates on each side of the bar. However, if you are a beginner with this exercise, then you can just start with just the bar and slowly add weight as you become familiar with the movement of the exercise. After that, position your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart on the bar, and lightly grip the bar with an overhand grip. Next, by lifting up the bar off the rack, unlock the bar. Then, lower the bar so that your arms become fully extended. After that, brace your core through slightly bending in your knees. Then, pull the bar straight up to your chest with your elbows leading. With proper posture and control, lower the bar back down to the starting position. Repeat these steps again in order to complete three sets of 10 reps.

3. Frog Squats

(Image lifted from: https://www.muscleandfitness.com)

A smith machine assisted frog squats target your quads. Because the smith machine helps you in order to stay upright throughout a squat, you are able to work specifically in developing your quads. With the smith machine, you are able to even maintain balance in positions really difficult to perform with just free weights. In order to perform the smith machine assisted frog squats, with your heels approximately 20 inches apart and your toes pointed out at about 45 degrees, stand with your feet about 10 inches in front of the bar. After that, descend until your thighs are just below parallel. Push for a good 2 to 3 seconds and push the weight back up. Repeat these for 3 sets with good 10 to 12 reps each.

4. Front Squats

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A front squat in the smith machine targets the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. In order to perform the exercise, you should start by standing inside the equipment with the bar across your front delts and upper chest. After that, you must make sure that your feet are just slightly in front of you, your toes pointed out slightly, and your knees unlocked. Then, cross your arms to build a shelf for the bar. When you are comfortable with your position, rotate the bar and unhook it from the safety bars. Next, bend your knees and hips as if sitting in a chair until your thighs are parallel to the floor, while making sure your back stays flat. Then, return to the start position through reversing the motion by driving through your heels and pressing your hips forward. Make sure that as you return to the start position you squeeze your quads, hams and glutes. You can do this for 3 sets with 10 reps each.

5. Romanian Deadlifts

(Image lifted from: https://www.shapefit.com)

Smith machine assisted Romanian deadlift is an exercise for the hamstring. It is done by performing squats with your feet more than 10 inches in front of the bar. Other variations of this exercise includes performing exercises that target the hams, glutes, and lower back. In order to perform a smith machine assisted Romanian deadlift, you need to get first proper stretches in order not to strain your muscles. After that, stand on a block or bench that is no more than 6 inches lower than the stop on a Smith machine. Then, throughout the lift, stand where the bar will be about 2 inches in front of your legs. Next, stop just short of standing straight at the top to keep continuous tension on your hams and never bounce the bar off the springs at the bottom.

6. Lateral Raise

(Image lifted from: https://www.youtube.com)

Lateral raise is utilized in order to build the middle head of the deltoid. To do the Smith Machine-assisted Lateral Raise, you first set the bar approximately above your waist and start with a light weight. Then, with your left arm touching the bar, you must stand in the middle of the Smith Machine. Next, through bending your arm 90-degrees at the elbow, you must make your forearm parallel with the bar. After that, unlock the bar with your right hand and support the weight with your left forearm. Then, lift the bar to about shoulder height through maintaining the bend at your elbow and raising your arm up. After that, hold this position for a good 2 to 3 seconds and then slowly lower down the bar to your waist. After finishing all set in one arm, repeat the exercise with the other arm.

7. One-Arm Shrug

(Image lifted from: https://www.youtube.com)

With the Smith machine assisted one-arm shrug, a good set of trapezius muscles can be developed. In order to perform the exercise,, you must first load the bar with the starting weight of your choice. With your right side facing the bar, stand in the middle of the equipment. After that, you must rab the middle portion of the bar right hand and shrug your shoulder as high as possible while making sure that your arm is maintained as straight as possible. You must hold this position for a second. Then, squeeze your traps muscle hard. After that, go back to the original position through lowering your arm back to its in order to get a full stretch. Repeat to the other arm after finishing all reps on one side. It is suggested to do 4-6 sets of this exercise.

8. Crunches

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Crunches are performed in order to develop the abdominal muscle mass and strength. In order to perform the Smith Machine-assisted Crunches, in the middle of the equipment, place a flat bench. After that, you must lie face up with your knees bent and feet flat on the bench. You must remember that as you hold the bar at arm’s length above you, the bar should line up over your upper abdominal muscles. Next, utilize your abdominal muscles in order to swiftly lift your torso up as high as you can, pushing the bar up as well as you do it. When done, slowly lower your body back to resting position and repeat the process again. You can perform 6 to 8 reps for this exercise.

9. Standing Calf Raise

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Smith assisted standing calf raises are utilized in order to develop the calves. On the smith machine, when performing the exercise, the resistance is directly over your calves rather than transferred through a lever. Moreover, you require less weight and will possibly find balancing more difficult, which in exchange forces your calves to work harder. Furthermore, in order to perform the Smith assisted standing calf raises, you must stand with just your toes on a block that is about 4 inches high. After that, concentrate on a maximum heels-down stretch and toes-up contraction on each rep.

10. Seated Overhead Press

(Image lifted from: https://www.muscleandperformance.com)

The smith machine assisted seated overhead press targets all three deltoid heads. In order to perform the exercise, you must make sure that your feet are placed flat on the floor and your shoulders are width apart, while sitting on a low-back bench placed inside the machine. After that, grasp the bar with a wide, palms-forward grip. Then, you must rotate the bar to unrack it and hold it at shoulder level. Next, powerfully press the bar directly overhead, squeezing your shoulders at the top. If done, slowly lower to the start position and repeat the steps to finish all the sets required.

11. Close-Grip Bench Press

(Image lifted from: https://www.weighttrainingexercises4you.com)

The close grip bench press in a smith machine targets all three triceps heads, especially the lateral head. In order to perform the exercise, you must lie back on a flat bench situated inside a Smith machine, making sure that your feet are flat on the floor. After that, grasp the barbell with an overhand grip. After that, rotate and press the bar up in order to unrack it. With your arms extended, hold the bar above your chest. Next, while keeping your elbows close to your sides, lower the bar to your lower chest. Then, when the bar approaches an inch or so away from your body, pause and press the bar back up to full-arm extension, squeezing your triceps and chest at the top. Repeat until all sets are done.

12. Drag Curl

(Image lifted from: https://www.muscleandfitness.com)

The drag curl done in the smith machine targets the long and short biceps heads, especially the long head of the biceps. In order to perform the exercise, you must stand erect inside a Smith machine. Then, you must hold the bar in front of your upper thighs. After that, you mst position yourself with your chest up, shoulders back and eyes focused forward. Then, as you curl the bar toward your upper abs/lower chest, you must pull your elbows back. After that, drag the bar up your torso as high as possible, keeping your elbows behind you, making sure you do not keep it by your sides. Lastly, slowly return the bar along the same path. Repeat the exercise in order to finish the sets.

References:
1. Merritt, G. Muscle And Fitness. 2018. The Total-Body Smith Machine Workout For Max Muscle. Retrieved from: https://www.muscleandfitness.com/workouts/workout-routines/total-body-smith-machine-workout-max-muscle/. Retrieved on 9 July 2020.
2. Peña, J. Muscle And Performance. 2017. The Ultimate Smith Machine Workout Guide. Retrieved from: https://www.muscleandperformance.com/training-performance/the-ultimate-smith-machine-workout-guide-6663. Retrieved on 9 July 2020.
3. Pridgett, T. Popsugar. 2018. New to Strength Training? This 4-Move Workout Will Teach You the Fundamentals. Retrieved from: https://www.popsugar.com/fitness/Smith-Machine-Workout-45412105. Retrieved on 9 July 2020.
4. Stoppani, J. 2019. Jim’s Ultimate Smith Machine Exercise Guide. Retrieved from: https://www.jimstoppani.com/training/ultimate-smith-machine-exercise-guide. Retrieved on 9 July 2020.

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