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Thread: Smith machine pro's and con's

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    You stay classy San Diego. Ron Burgundy's Avatar
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    Smith machine pro's and con's

    Hey guys, i just bought a new bench with a smith machine, do theses actualy help you lift, my brother swares it does, by stabalizing it for you, anyone got the scoop on what it's better or worst for? Thanks -Ron

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    what are you goals?
    my exprience - joined gym 10 years ago, 6 1/2 years hard weight training exprience.

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    It doesnt use as much stabilizers as normal squat...obviously. But It works. A lot less strain on the back too from what ive heard.

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    Former Fatass Unreal's Avatar
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    Cons- Limited ROM, limited use of stabilizers
    Pros- Can do some lifts without a spotter

    I stay away from them. Squats, deads, bench, military etc are all so much more fun with free weights.
    Nick V

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    I would rather do less weight and do them on free weight than use smith ive tained with people that can bench 220+ on smith but cnt do 150 on free weights
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    Since everything is set in 1 motion for you, you over use the same ligaments and tendons over and over setting yourself up for an injury. Or at least thats what I have heard.

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    Anytime you train chest you use the tendons that attach your pec major and minor. Each muscle is attached by specific tendon(s) so there is no options there.

    As for ligaments. They are fairly joint specific. If you use your knee you use the ligaments that hold the knee together.

    I had a personal trainer tell me I was missing ligaments and tendons by not switching my routine. Naturally I made her eat her words.

    Then she told me I was missing supportive muscles. I asked her to name one, she couldn't.

  8. #8
    Just watch me ... Built's Avatar
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    The Smith machine locks you into a fixed plane of motion, which develops a term coined by Paul Chek: "Pattern overload syndrome":

    People get a pattern overload from using the Smith machine. The more fixed the object, the more likely you are to develop a pattern overload. This is due to the fact that training in a fixed pathway repetitively loads the same muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints in the same pattern, encouraging micro-trauma that eventually leads to injury. If Johnny Lunchpail always uses a Smith machine for his bench presses, he ends up working the same fibers of the prime movers in the bench press all of the time: triceps brachii, pectoralis major, long-head of the biceps, anterior deltoids, and serratus anterior. But he can't change the pathway, the bar will always be in the same position. This commonly leads to chronic injury over time. The weight is stabilized for you. However, the joints operate in multiple planes. Use of the Smith machine, greatly decreases stabilizer activity. That creates a problem when the trainee returns to free-weight training. When that happens, the trainee is exposed to the three-dimensional environment called real life.

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    Proud Father Maki Riddington's Avatar
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    The key word is "repetitive." The duration the smith machine is used for is a factor as well.
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    95% of the time free weights are better.......and kinder to joints and ligaments.

  11. #11
    You stay classy San Diego. Ron Burgundy's Avatar
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    What if you use the smith and regular, like switch off every work out would that be okay?

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    Senior Member RussianRocket's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Burgundy
    What if you use the smith and regular, like switch off every work out would that be okay?

    it's always a good idea to take the best of both worlds, freeweights and machines. You should not exlude one or the other.
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    Senior Member DNL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RussianRocket
    it's always a good idea to take the best of both worlds, freeweights and machines. You should not exlude one or the other.
    I concur. Diet is your bestfriend. Freeweight is your wife. And machine is your mistress =).

  14. #14
    eater of food dw06wu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Burgundy
    Hey guys, i just bought a new bench with a smith machine, do theses actualy help you lift, my brother swares it does, by stabalizing it for you, anyone got the scoop on what it's better or worst for? Thanks -Ron
    The only pro to a smith is that you can lift without a spotter.
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    Player Hater PowerManDL's Avatar
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    It's just a form of resistance. For hypertrophy work, especially for the upper body, I don't see a problem. It's nothing but a means of overload.

    I'd be more cautious using it for lower body work, esp. squats due to mechanical issues, but the same idea applies.

    It sucks for specific strength development, ie getting stronger specifically for bench press, squat, etc, but is fine for progressive overload as a means of hypertrophy.
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    Lord Kel Masters Sayiajin Prince's Avatar
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    when im doing a mass routine i use alot of machines+smith but when im training for pure strength via westsiiide free weights are like 90-95% of the game.
    "The whole jedi thing was just not compatible with my lifestyle. My master was jelous he was always holding me back, -"be mindfull of the future, but live in the present"- what the hell does that mean? I even got my arm cut off...it just sucked. So i switched to the dark side and i havent looked back once...Now i am shooting lightning from my fingertips, choking people over the phone, i even get to wear a cape.....its just boss. My name is Anikin skywalker and i am a sith lord."

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  18. #18
    Senior Member Sensei's Avatar
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    Smith Machine

    Cons: Locks you into a single plane of motion making it difficult to recruit auxiliary muscles to help your lift. Like any machine, it is not a "natural" movement and should be used sparingly.

    Pros: It's a really nice place to hang your belt or sweats.

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