One of our members in our Women’s Strength Club asked about using a smith machine for squats.
Here are my thoughts.
The Smith Machine can be OK for some accessory exercises, but for real strength on squat, bench press, overhead pressing it’s not great. As well I think it leads to a higher risk of injuries for lower back and shoulders.
For some bodybuilding/hypertrophy exercises it can be ok at best, and to isolate muscle groups it has it’s place sometimes.
We do not have one at my gym and if I thought it was a solid training tool I would have one.
Anyone can put this on their back and squat, the machine guides you through the squat. All you do is push up and down. It does not involve learning the proper movement and mechanics of a squat. Also you are forced to move a certain way.
The goal on squatting with a barbell is a straight bar path yes, but this machine will not allow any real wiggle room for movement. It’s just not a great way to squat.
As for the bench press this will force a lot of people into very poor and un-natural positions. Not a great idea.
Again in my opinion for isolating muscle groups and for some exercises it can be ok. Everything can be a good tool sometimes.
When it comes to lifting weights and strength noting beats a barbell and proper lifting technique.
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Rob King is a Competitive PowerLifter, Coach and Writer.