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Thread: Smith Machine Squats vs. Free Squats

  1. #51
    Pretty Fly for an Old Guy W8_4_Me's Avatar
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    Tell me about it!
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  2. #52
    Player Hater PowerManDL's Avatar
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    I've said it before and I'll say it again.....a Smith is "ok" for bodybuilding purposes, but that's about it.

    I think it has some utility in applications requiring sheer overload for the pushing muscles....sort of a "leg press" for the upper body, if you will...and of course the plyometric bench press throw idea.

    For the lower body, it'd be fine for calf raises.

    So its not totally useless.

    However, that said....its absolutely not a critical piece of equipment by any means, nor does it have any practical use for the pulling muscles or the legs.

    A Smith squat is basically pointless unless you totally lack a barbell and some means of getting it in place. The "stabilizer" reason is only part of it. Its already been said, but I'm gonna say it again: the squat isn't a straight line.

    If you think something that simple can't totally throw off a movement, think again. A Smith squat has about as much carry over as a leg press. As far as development, you'll recruit the core to a degree, as well as the hips.....but not *nearly* as much as a free squat will.

    Might be a good auxiliary exercise, if you're so inclined.....but certainly nothing to base a routine on.
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  3. #53
    Pretty Fly for an Old Guy W8_4_Me's Avatar
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    Yeah, right.

    Glad I didn't listen to you before I went shopping.

    I LOVE it when people like you spout off stuff like that, especially when they do so to my face.

    I am living proof that you are wrong.
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  4. #54
    Player Hater PowerManDL's Avatar
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    If you'll notice I didn't bash the Smith totally. All I said was that it sucks for squatting, and was marginally useful for upper body work. Which is true.

    So I don't get what you're trying to argue.

    Your physique? Certainly admirable for someone your age, but not incredible enough to call the Smith machine a miracle of training science. Though I'm quite sure that it was the last few years of Smith machine training that got you to where you are, as opposed to your previous decade of powerlifting.

    Your squat strength? Again, I'm sure that's all a product of the Smith machine and not your powerlifting history.

    How does any of that prove that anything I said was wrong?

    If you can point out anything I said that you can refute with more than emotional pandering, I'll be happy to address it.
    Last edited by PowerManDL; 07-08-2003 at 11:32 PM.
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  5. #55
    Pretty Fly for an Old Guy W8_4_Me's Avatar
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    No, I really can't refute anything.

    ElPietro was right. Comparing my smith to the typical smith out there is definitely an 'apples to oranges' comparison.

    The reason mine is so effective is due to the lack of counter-balancing. The weight on the bar is the actually weight to be lifted. When I put 500# and squat it, it's the same 500# that I'd squat using a rack.

    Why isn't squatting an up-and-down motion? One should stay AS CLOSE to vertical (ElPietro...) as possible. Using a smith to squat definitely helps me keep truer to that form. I KNOW you have seen people in the gym squatting off a rack and have wondered to yourself, "Jeeze! How come that person hasn't broken his/her back?" There is no gauge, no assist with a rack... and I don't have to tell you how hard good advice is to come by in your standard gym.

    Your physique? Certainly admirable for someone your age...
    I think you might need to look around some... my physique is admirable for ANY age.
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  6. #56
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    Originally posted by W8_4_Me

    The reason mine is so effective is due to the lack of counter-balancing. The weight on the bar is the actually weight to be lifted. When I put 500# and squat it, it's the same 500# that I'd squat using a rack.

    But the method used to push the weight is different. The stress on the weaker stabilizers is minimized, making the movement easier. I know that I can squat more on a smith without counterbalancing because that's what my old gym had.

    I thought we put this one to bed...

    ...last post for me. Sorry, got sucked in again.
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  7. #57
    Gonnabebig Member JuniorMint6669's Avatar
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    Im relativly new to squatting... but i have pretty massive legs for someone with my newbishness, genetics I guess. Anyways, I guess I know nothing about this subject, but I had a question. What is this counterbalance stuff you guys are talking about? My gym has two smith's. I do free squats, but while doing jump squats I prefer smith. I noticed on one of the smiths, when Im in the air, the bar jumps off of my back a few inches, then falls slowly down. On the other, it rests on my back the whole time. Is one counter balanced and the other not? And what does this mean to me- is one actually less weight than the other? I prefer the one where the bar jumps, because it puts less stress on my ankles upon landing. thanks in advance for the info

  8. #58
    Baby Seal Clubber ElPietro's Avatar
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    Originally posted by W8_4_Me
    The reason mine is so effective is due to the lack of counter-balancing. The weight on the bar is the actually weight to be lifted. When I put 500# and squat it, it's the same 500# that I'd squat using a rack.
    Actually, this is somewhat incorrect. The smith is still helping you because you aren't lifting with natural form. So at the phase of ROM, where you have to lean forward slightly, which also happens to be the most difficult part of the ROM, aka out of the hole, lifters have to stay balanced, and use a whole lot more lower back on a free squat. With the smith, even without counterbalance, you can just keep pushing, and it will slide up the guides. This is similar to holding something heavy, and then resting it, or pushing it up a wall to get it in position. You are still gaining a ton of assistance at the most difficult part of the lift.

    To me the smith is fine if you consider it akin to something like a leg press, but a smith squat is very much a different thing than a free squat, counterbalanced or not.
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  9. #59
    Gonnabebig Member JuniorMint6669's Avatar
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    Sorry to repost this, but i was at the gym today, looking at both of the smiths, and it still bothers me. Exactly what does counterbalance do?

  10. #60
    Pretty Fly for an Old Guy W8_4_Me's Avatar
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    Here's the most important thing you said there, ElP...

    Originally posted by ElPietro
    To me the smith is fine...
    Again, that's your opinion and that's fine. To ME, unless one is a competitive PL... and we have ONLY a handful of those here... a smith is MORE than enough to accomodate today's weightlifter, novice or not. The results are fantastic!

    Anytime you want to have a pose-down NEXT to me, I'll be more than happy to prove it.

    JuniorMint, your assessment of the 2 smiths in your gym seems accurate. Stick with the one that stays on your shoulders.
    "A winner...knows how much he still has to learn, even when he is considered an expert by others; A loser...wants to be considered an expert by others, before he has even learned enough to know how little he knows." - Sydney Harris


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  11. #61
    HomeYield WillKuenzel's Avatar
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    Originally posted by W8_4_Me
    Anytime you want to have a pose-down NEXT to me, I'll be more than happy to prove it.
    You want to ask that of BennettBoy, BigChaseyChase, or myself?

    Do you really believe that the smith squat is better than the free squat? Its a decent machine just like the leg press but its not the be-all-and-end-all of leg exercises. I still think walking lunges are but that's just me.
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  12. #62
    Baby Seal Clubber ElPietro's Avatar
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    Originally posted by W8_4_Me
    Here's the most important thing you said there, ElP...



    Again, that's your opinion and that's fine. To ME, unless one is a competitive PL... and we have ONLY a handful of those here... a smith is MORE than enough to accomodate today's weightlifter, novice or not. The results are fantastic!

    Anytime you want to have a pose-down NEXT to me, I'll be more than happy to prove it.

    JuniorMint, your assessment of the 2 smiths in your gym seems accurate. Stick with the one that stays on your shoulders.
    The only time you come here is to troll smith threads, or post your "special effect" pictures. You may impress the boozed out women of the trailer park you live in, but don't think you're much more than a redneck that has trained 20 years to get where any newbie could in 2. You have no idea what you talk about, and really dude, your physique isn't that great. I've been at it for less than two years, and am at your level if not passed, so if I were you I'd stfu because you don't have a leg to stand on.

    I could lift a pile of rocks for 20 years and be strong and fit, so I don't know what you think your mediocre physique really means. So I guess all the guys that are totally huge but do dumbell kickbacks, or leg extensions can just say "look these are what got me where I am." Get a grip, get a life, and maybe if you read some of the threads here you'll learn something, until then just stfu until you can say something even remotely resembling an intelligent thought.

    Oh and it has nothing to do with being competitive, it has to do with what you want to achieve. If you want to be a joke, then squat in the smith and call them squats.
    Last edited by Maki Riddington; 07-11-2003 at 11:23 AM.
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  13. #63
    One crazy MOFO/Mail man
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    Ouch... ouch...
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  14. #64
    Pretty Fly for an Old Guy W8_4_Me's Avatar
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    Originally posted by ElPietro
    I've been at it for less than two years, and am at your level if not passed, so if I were you I'd stfu because you don't have a leg to stand on.
    I've seen your pics. Don't flatter yourself.

    Get a grip, get a life, and maybe if you read some of the threads here you'll learn something, until then just stfu until you can say something even remotely resembling an intelligent thought.
    Man, do you have issues! First of all, like I said, you are welcome to your opinions. I am telling you that the vast majority of the people who are reading this post RIGHT NOW will not be lifting weights a year from now. There's a HOST a stats that prove that over and over.

    I maintain that it really doesn't matter WHAT people use as long as they are getting the results they seek and they continue to lift! The majority of recreational lifters out there don't even CARE about their legs. They work upper body. Go to ANY gym in America and you will see this time and time again.

    Lift. Use what gets you the results you want, use what you feel comfortable using, and don't stop striving for more.

    There. I used small words so that even YOU could inderstand it.

    I don't troll in here looking for smith threads, but I will defend the use of smiths whenever people say they are insufficient. If you don't like that, then don't read the freakin' post, ElMoron.

    I don't come in here as often as I used to because I am sick to death of reading the same topics over and over. "Newbie here, where should I start?"

    Not only that, but I happen to moderate a few forums around the net, including a weightlifting and fitness forum.

    And you? No, you just do out of your way to be abrasive. So be it. I don't care. I'll continue to post as I see fit. It seems that whenever you see my name in a post, you come running to find some way to fight with me. Fine with me. It shows what a whiner you really are.

    Oh and it has nothing to do with being competitive, it has to do with what you want to achieve. If you want to be a joke, then squat in the smith and call them squats.
    Well, then I guess the joke's on me, huh? COOL!
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  15. #65
    Pretty Fly for an Old Guy W8_4_Me's Avatar
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    Originally posted by HomeYield
    Do you really believe that the smith squat is better than the free squat? Its a decent machine just like the leg press but its not the be-all-and-end-all of leg exercises. I still think walking lunges are but that's just me.
    Didn't we already discuss this, Home Yield?

    I never said they were better. I do think they are perfectly effective.

    THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH USING A SMITH TO SQUAT. Unless you are a competitive PL, you can get just as much out of MANY other exercises without ever doing the first squat.

    For the record, I believe free weight squatting in a rack is THE BEST WAY to squat. But it is not the ONLY way. I am a fan of serveral other methods as well. The people who blatently bad-mouth other methods are sending the wrong message to novice and recreational lifters.
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  16. #66
    Player Hater PowerManDL's Avatar
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    Keep it civil or I'm locking this.

    In all honesty though, if you want to compare physiques, I can't say I've ever seen a serious lifter that squats in the Smith machine. All the people I see doing that have really sub-standard lower bodies.
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  17. #67
    Gonnabebig Member JuniorMint6669's Avatar
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    Alright well um, once more! hehehe ugh: What does the counterbalance do on a smith?

    Im looking for something like...
    It lifts 50% of the weight for you...
    It assists you while decending/ascending...
    It assists you with 45 pounds...


    Something like that... I know you said I should stick to the one that hangs on my shoulders, but why? Would they be exactly the same if I just added more weight to the counter balanced one? I like the one that comes off of my shoulders because it is less pressure on my ankles upon landing (from my jump squat). If the only reason is hovers is because it is actually less weight, there is no point in this for me. But if it is only less weight while decending, it serves my purpose fine without trashing my ankles.

  18. #68
    Rollin Dubs HORNEDFROGS07's Avatar
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    Counterbalancing lets you lean back on the rack, so that you can use it to help you lift more weight. If you don't counterbalance, you have to keep your feet under you almost exactly like free squats, and believe me, if you lean back w/no counterbalance, you will fall, and your neck will be hurtin for a while from the bar falling on it.
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  19. #69
    Gonnabebig Member JuniorMint6669's Avatar
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    Thankyou very much hornedfrog, now would someone mind explaining the mechanism that allows this to work? Also, if I were to keep my feet under me exactly like a freesquat, would this eliminate any assistance that I would get from the counterbalance?

  20. #70
    Wounded Deadlifter ryan1117's Avatar
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    These smith machine threads create more bickering than the religious/political threads.
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  21. #71
    Rollin Dubs HORNEDFROGS07's Avatar
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    If you kept your feet directly under you anyway, why not just do free squats?
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  22. #72
    Bmx Bandit McBain's Avatar
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    in a free-weight squat doesnt the bar itself stay pretty much in the same plane, straight up and down?
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  23. #73
    Gonnabebig Member JuniorMint6669's Avatar
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    Originally posted by HORNEDFROGS07
    If you kept your feet directly under you anyway, why not just do free squats?
    I do. Im just trying to understand something that I dont understand. Also, I do not do free-jump squats. I do, however, do smith-jump squats on a counterbalanced smith rack. I would like to know the advantages/disadvantages of using c/b smith, as opposed to non-c/b smith or free jump. The advantage I see at the moment, is that my ankles do not get torn up every time I land. And the disadvantages, well I do not see any yet, which is why I am trying to get a clear explanation. But if no one knows, or no one cares to share, that's fine too. In that case, Ill keep doing them the way I have been, right or wrong as it may be.

  24. #74
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    Originally posted by HORNEDFROGS07
    Counterbalancing lets you lean back on the rack, so that you can use it to help you lift more weight. If you don't counterbalance, you have to keep your feet under you almost exactly like free squats, and believe me, if you lean back w/no counterbalance, you will fall, and your neck will be hurtin for a while from the bar falling on it.
    but if it got a fixed path, counter balanced or not you cans till lean back. if your try that on free weight squats your fall over backwards
    my exprience - joined gym 10 years ago, 6 1/2 years hard weight training exprience.

  25. #75
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    JuniorMint6669: a counterbalance is a weight inside the smith

    it slides up and down as you move the bar and you must subtract its weight from your lift

    the smith at my gym has a bar that would weigh about 45lbs but is said to weigh 5lbs once the counterbalance is subtracted

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