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2021: Smith Machine and You

Why is the Smith Machine a good investment?

If you are thinking what home or commercial gym equipment you should invest in this year, a smith machine should definitely be on your list!

The smith machine is an equipment designed in order to be utilized for resistance and weight strength training. It consists of a barbell with weights that are placed between two steel rails. This allows the machine to move on a vertical axis. However, today, there are many more smith machines developed to allow a minimal horizontal movement.

(Source: Elements.envato.com)

This exercise equipment allows you to perform a wide array of exercises such as bench press, squats, rows, drag curls, seated overhead press, and the likes. The smith machine allows you to perform these exercises without having to worry because it permits you to spot yourself due to its safety system.

See, these are just some of the amazing things about the smith machine! We know you are curious to know more about smith machines and how it is worth the investment. So let us focus on its health and usage to know more:

Benefits of the Smith Machine

1. Very safe for beginners

Safety should always be your top priority. One of the most significant advantages of Smith machines is that it comes with a high grade safety system. This makes it a very good investment because banking in your safety is always a good choice.

Smith machines are designed in a way that users do not need spotter while performing different sets of exercises using heavy loads. With that, there are a number of slots along the metal rails so that you can hook the barbell so that it would not drop anytime. If in case that something wrong happens, you can just swiftly twist the bar and hook it onto the frame. Furthermore, there are a lot of smith machines that include a self-balancing barbell. With that, you do not have to be anxious about balancing the barbell because it is already equipped with guide rods. The bar moves smoothly along a fixed vertical plane, making sure that the weight does not move sideways or forwards or backwards. As a result, you can give all your attention on lifting the weight and on your form.

So if you are planning to invest on an equipment you can utilize at home to encourage your family and friends to be healthy, you should really invest on the smith machine because all of those stated above make it very safe for beginners, for you, and for your family.

2. Better Squats

Many fitness enthusiasts argue between which one is better for squats – the free weights or the smith machine.

There are certainly a number of differences between the two. According to athletes, one of the obvious differences between free weights squat and the smith machine squat is the distance that your feet in front can go. With the free weight squat, you are fixed in only one position. The smith machine, on the other hand, allows you to bring your feet to different distances because the equipment already follows a fixed path thus removing the need to balance the weight. According to the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research in 2002, the smith machine has allowed users to target specific muscles by adjusting the distances and position of the feet during squats. For example, there is greater hamstring or glute involvement and less quadriceps involvement if the feet are positioned farther in front of the smith machine. In addition to that, if you place your feet directly under the smith machine, the quadriceps are targeted while the hamstrings and glutes receive lesser focus.

(Source: Elements.envato.com)

According to Cotterman et al. (2005), there is also a difference between the free weight squat and the smith machine squat strength. Their findings have shown that the squat strength was greater for the smith machine compared to the free weight. The researchers strongly believe that the strength increase for the Smith machine squat may be a benefit produced due to the lesser requirement of the user to balance, therefore permitting a focused effort on pushing the bar straight up back to the normal position.

With that, the smith machine is a good investment if you really want to develop your lower leg muscles because having good lower muscles improves your posture, balance, and stability, which then results in better daily performance.

3. Improved back training

Safety should always be your top priority. One of the most significant advantages of Smith machines is that it comes with a high grade safety system. This makes it a very good investment because banking in your safety is always a good choice.

Many have debated that the smith machine has lower muscle activation in select muscle groups. However, according to the study of Reisimer et. al. (2019), difference in muscle activation is due, in part, to variations in foot placement between the different exercises in the smith machine that targeted the muscle groups. In fact, in the same recent study, no kinetic differences were found between exercises done between free weights and smith machines. But it is good to note that this study highlighted that using the smith machine for back training, there was an observed improved muscle activation which may be explained with the fact that the smith machine runs in a fixed position allowing the user to target specific muscles of the back. Moreover, because the smith machine restricts multi-planar movement, it permits greater force production compared to doing it free weights.

This makes the smith machine a good investment especially that one of the hardest muscles to train and target is the back. With the help of an equipment that lets you target these difficult muscles, you will surely reap the fruits of your hard work in no time.

4. All-in-one gym equipment

We personally think that one of the best reasons why the smith machine is such a good investment is that it is considered as an all-in-one gym equipment. Choosing a good and durable type of smith machine will surely help you save a lot of money in the end because it has the unique ability to easily replace a number of different gym equipment. Today, a good smith machine comes with a back row attachment, lat pull-down attachments, an adjustable bench, and even a cable crossover. In fact, a lot of other smith machine accessories can still be bought in the market. This means that you have all the essentials you need in order to perform a different upper and lower body workout routines. With the smith machine, it provides you with versatility. With the smith machine, you perform a wide range of different exercises to target a variety of major muscle groups. Due to this all-in-one gym equipment capability of the smith machine and all the exercises you can do on it, the smith machine is surely a good investment and will benefit you for a really long time as long as you use it properly and regularly.

Bottomline

A healthy lifestyle should be your investment. With that, you should invest in things that help you maintain an active physical life. Hence, we suggest that this new year you invest on the smith machine! Not only is it scientifically proven to have amazing benefits for your physical exercise, but it can also last you for a very long time.

So what are you waiting for? Be healthy this year and go get that smith machine!

References:
1. Cotterman ML, Darby LA, Skelly WA. Comparison of muscle force production using the Smith machine and free weights for bench press and squat exercises. J Strength Cond Res. 2005 Feb;19(1):169-76. doi: 10.1519/14433.1. PMID: 15705030.
2. Gibson, B. 2012. Benefits Of Using A Smith Assisted Squat Machine. Retrieved from: https://www.fitness19.com/benefits-of-using-a-smith-assisted-squat-machine/#:~:text=The%20Smith%20allows%20you%20to,and%20chest%20isolation%20are%20easier. Retrieved on 15 January 2021.
3. Josh J. Reisimer, Alyssa M. Stockero, Casey I. Takahashi, Dylan T. Lange, Garrett T. Duffin, and William P. Ebben. 2019. Multi-Planar Analysis Of The Traditional Back Squat And Smith Machine Back Squat. Int. Soc. Biomech. Sport. Retrieved from: https://commons.nmu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1653&context=isbs. Retrieved on 15 January 2021.
4.Pedemonte, S. 2020. Equipment Breakdown: The Smith Machine. Retrieved from: https://www.yourhousefitness.com/blog/the-smith-machine#:~:text=The%20Smith%20Machine%20does%20make,compared%20to%20a%20Smith%20Machine. Retrieved on 15 January 2021.

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