Exercise keeps us healthy, and performing them regularly invokes more excellent benefits.
Individuals become attuned to the physical activity schedule, making it a daily habit (just like brushing teeth or having a bath) following the routine diligently, even more, when they have company while exercising such as in a gym or while being a part of group classes.
For each of you who visits the gym regularly, you must have never failed to look at a specific piece of equipment that occupies a central position in every gym but also remains as one that is hardly ever used by its members.
Yes! I am indeed talking about the Smith machine, which remains as one of the most condemned exercising equipment for not one or two centuries but greater than 70 years or so.
Are Smith machines bad or as inefficient as they are portrayed to be?
What Is the Smith Machine?
As the name suggests, the Smith machine was introduced to the fitness world by Rudy Smith as early as the 1950s through the original credits belong to Jack LaLanne, who invented it.
Rudy Smith was a smart man who modified the invention here and there, finally placing the piece of equipment in his gym from where the machine has had no looking back since then.
In simple words, a Smith machine consists of a barbell that is attached to a safety rail system.
It’s just like your squat racks, but the barbell here is in between metal rails that help it move along a fixed track for a designated distance.
The barbell also has pegs that exist every few inches or so to support the bar in your preferred position and spot yourself anytime when it’s too much exiting the activity immediately.
This seems fabulously safe, but the bar is attached to the railings does limit its movement to vertical position only, and there are very few of them which facilitate a backward or forward movement steering away from the conventional equipment models.
How Are Smith Machines Bad for You?
It prevents the stabilizer muscles from doing any role as all the stability that’s needed is already in place with restriction of bar movement. And the vertical movements provided by the Smith machine is not natural.
Exercising must enable ample mobility to the body, never restricting the individual from any sort of movement.
But a Smith machine can only offer vertical movement, which impedes your form while exercising.
This is dreaded by those using free weights as they are forced to alter their form.
Worse, all the stability needed is intact, preventing the individual from reaping maximal benefits.
Contrarily, such restrictions of movement can even cause strain on the joints and increase the probability of an injury.
It provides control by locking the bar in place and does all the work your stabilizer muscle must be doing.
Though some might feel happy being able to lift heavy weights compared to what’s possible with free weights, experts think that this does not provide any additional advantage except for a sense of satisfaction.
Why Are Some People Loving this Equipment Anyways?
Some people, especially beginner trainers, love the Smith machine as it is safe to use, helping the user with the spot-on option with its multitudinous safety pins and hooks.
Everything has lovers and haters, and so does the Smith machine.
Squatting can be deadly to some, and this machine makes the exercise seem like a cakewalk as you stay stabilized—this even motivates those who dread squatting or benchpress as you feel secure while doing the same on this equipment.
So it is little wonder that it is in both the home gyms and the commercial gyms.
Although squatting on a Smith machine doesn’t give 100% benefits of squatting, it does good for your glutes and quads, improves your confidence in trying a squat, and keeps you safe throughout the exercise.
Adding weights has never been an easy job, but the Smith machine helps you do it easily in comparison to free weights.
This doesn’t change the fact that your muscles don’t get the best benefits from the equipment, but it does increase your overall workout level.
Above all this, the machine spots you while lifting without waiting for anyone to come to your rescue.
Anyone has the freedom to lock the bar at any position, which is gratifying.
If you’re interested in using the Smith machine, here is one of my favorite equipment—Inspire Ft2.
Essentially, it’s a functional trainer, but it has a Smith machine built into it.
Is Deadlifting on a Smith Machine Bad?
Deadlifting involves lifting a weight-loaded barbell up to your hips, targeting the lower back muscles. This must be done using a barbell. A Smith machine encourages easy weightlifting due to restricted barbell movement that allows only vertical movements, which is unnatural and dangerous.
Unlike free weights where the body adjusts itself by leaning back to accommodate the weights and bring balance, working out on the Smith machine prevents you from changing your angle while going up with the weights.
Mockeries and harsh feedbacks exist everywhere, and the Smith machine has got a taste of it all.
While the equipment might not be the ideal choice for advanced trainers, athletes and bodybuilders it remains a recommended one for some other individuals—the novice trainers who simply cannot overcome the fear of ending up injured after using weights, for all those who value safety and stability above every other advantage.
It might even help individuals with back or joint problems to do specific exercises safely as it restricts movement but ensure that you don’t add additional stress on your joints, though.