Anyone who has ever been inside of a commercial gym has seen one.
Looks like a weird squat rack with a bar attached to the sides allowing it to go up and down. The gym close to my house has more of those than squat racks.
I’ve heard a lot of people talk about smith machines and how it’s a great equipment to start with for beginners, for staying safe and for getting a good workout.
That's the nicest way I can put it.
Especially for beginners who should run from the smith machine and avoid it at all cost.
When you’re just starting out, you need to build stability. You need a strong foundation before you try reaching various goals and that’s exactly what is wrong with the smith machine. It eliminates the stability component within the exercise. It does the stabilizing for you which can cause imbalances and make you more susceptible to an injury.
Making your bigger muscles even stronger and the smaller stabilizers weaker.
For example if you were to use it to squat: your quadriceps, hamstring and glutes would be on fire. But everything else, nothing… Why?
Because the machine is stabilizing it for you. At what point in everyday life or sports will you have a machine follow you around stabilizing movements for you?
Or is it your muscles that stabilize your movements?
Kind of counterproductive isn’t it? The problem is people see these big bodybuilders using it or see it on websites promoting bodybuilding and assume they should be doing it as well.
Bodybuilders use it to eliminate the stabilizers and focus on just the big muscles to give it a good pump and get specific muscles even bigger. They are not worried about the smaller muscles that keep you functionally strong. They’re not worried about being functional or active.
Unless you’re jumping on a stage ready to pose, avoid the smith machine. If you are worried about using a barbell to squat, that’s fine, do squats with a kettlebell or a dumbbell.
Using a kettlebell will give just as great a workout and help you reach your goals. But more than anything else it will get you strong and functioning without putting you at risk of an injury.
The gym is meant to get you strong and moving better. So why not find exercises that will do that.