Plus, you can focus purely on the working muscles … You can’t focus just on one exercise or on one particular muscle group, you have to occasionally switch up you training routine in order to keep progressing. Whether or not this is “natural” is debatable. That’s 5 days per week of pushing exercises, so my joints and muscles are always under tremendous stress, I don’t have much time to recover so what I did to ease the stress on my joints was incorporate smith machine exercise into my training regime. Don’t forget to stretch as it is a vital component of training. It's pretty much like a front press for your rear delts because you can lift so much heavier than on reverse flys. Make sure you switch up you training routines every 3 months in order to grow. You always hear about the bloke who snapped his shoulders in a freak lifting accident. However, unlike in front presses, your tris won't be the limiting factor, which is definitely a good thing as far as shoulder development is concerned. Watch out for these tricky gym machines—and learn the safer, more effective alternatives. I highly recommended it if you have a pressing-dominant physique. For some people they simply do not like barbell squats. Yes, squatting on a smith machine is easier, but that’s the whole point of using the smith machine so that you could still work your legs with proper form rather than struggle away with free weights. Simple things like adjusting your grip when benching enables you to shift the load on to different muscle groups. By jumping on the smith machine and doing inclines, you are working muscles in the upper chest that didn’t get overloaded on the flat bench. This extra front and side delt involvement is great because most people are severely lacking in the shoulder width department. Rather than standing in the same position when doing squats we can step forward and vary our feet width to shift the load in order to activate the targeted muscle or muscle group. In my time, I've been a competitive physique athlete and a national powerlifter. Plus front squats are easier for most to do on smiths – this is practically a different exercise to back squats, so adding this to your repertoire is priceless. I'm Lee, a Leeds-based strength and conditioning coach who's been helping serious trainees achieve their physical potential for the past 20 years. However, research shows that trap muscle activation is about the same in both exercises. How to Smith machine squat: Stand in a Smith machine with a shoulder-width stance and the bar across your shoulders and traps. Plus, you can focus purely on the working muscles since you don't have to stabilise the weight. The machine is essentially do the work your smaller, stabilizing muscles should be doing. But if these people used the machine properly, with correct form and in the right order in their workout, they would see that the smith is a very valuable tool. Prevention of staleness. Don't stick your neck out like a chicken. That is why you see them in elite sporting facilities. Whenever I'm doing the behind the neck military press on Smith machine stations, I always warm up my shoulders first with my Bestope Resistance Band. Position a short bench with a back in the center of the machine and take a slightly-wider-than-shoulder-width overhand grip on the bar. I work part time at Sam's Fitness as a Digital Media Specialist which involves uploading and managing the content on the many platforms we operate on. We perform them while holding a heavy dumbbell in front of the body and squatting until the dumbbell touches the floor. On leg day, grab your weight plates and perform some lunges or split squats to compliment your squats on the smith machine. Some say that smith machines are great for you and others are clinging on to the belief that they are the worst thing that happened to weight training in human history. However, if you're on a budget, then this Psychi Chalk ball is also a great option. It is this sort of extreme effort that helps to redefine your boundaries. Some machines are even more restrictive. I've also got the Resistance Band set for when I want to increase the resistance. But for actual training sessions (if I'm travelling or something) I always use my TOPELEK bands because they essentially mimic the cable machines that you'd find at the gym. However, you never hear about the lad who has to walk around with a shoulder impingement for the rest of his life because he was too stubborn to avoid the BTNP as a youngster. I also went ahead and ordered the Plate Fitness Wrist Wraps. My training consists of 3 bench press days and 2 days for shoulders, legs and accessory work. Rather than adjusting J-Hooks, Spotter Arms, racking a barbell and loading it up with weight, you can just load your smith machine up and you are good to go. This is one of the best deltoid workouts for men that works all three deltoid muscles plus the traps. But it seems that most gym employees don't share my vision. When benching at the extremes like I do, lifting off the j-hooks without a spotter can be potentially dangerous as I have to overextend my shoulders which exposes me to risk of injury. You'll be so used to lifting without significant help from your triceps that when your triceps do start firing again, the weights will go up like butter.eval(ez_write_tag([[250,250],'smithmachine_co_uk-large-mobile-banner-2','ezslot_2',145,'0','0'])); Performing a Smith machine one arm upright row is a brilliant way to even out any muscle imbalances in your shoulders and traps because you can train each side of your body independently. Rather than going for your personal best every single workout you should focus on balance. The cotton and elastic provide plenty of joint support without actually restricting my range of motion. Actually, make that extremely careful. The smith machine is also a great tool to prevent injuries, as it is much safer to do some exercises when training by yourself. 3. But based on my experience, most of them are just a gimmick. While the BTNP does place more of its tension on your delts than a regular shoulder press, I'm not convinced that it builds the delts any faster. The liquid variety is more convenient, but traditional chalk makes you feel more hardcore! You can also position yourself under the bar, so it will be higher or lower on your chest to once again target different areas. For example, a set or two of smith machine shrugs is fine as part of your back workout, or including it as just one of your chest or shoulder pressing exercises would be okay as well. Remember the most important part above all about this debate is that we must always enjoy our training. Spend your time resting between sets instead of wasting your time setting everything up. Why? Not everyone has been born to be a professional powerlifter or strongman, but we all can improve our general strength. For example, the Smith machine, a barbell that slides on rails, locks your shoulders into a fixed vertical path—something human shoulder joints are not meant to do. Secondly, if you lower the bar behind the neck you stretch the shoulder joint roughly. Because you have to lighten the weight significantly. No matter what your experience level, and not just for the smith machine, to avoid injury it is all about correct positioning. This exercise is just worthless. Smith-Machine Seated Shoulder Press. I much prefer the simplicity of resistance bands because you can do virtually any rotator cuff exercise with them. Obviously, I don't use both every session. It is the little things in training which makes the difference between reaching optimum results and injuring yourself. Referring back to the initial comment,  training on a smith machine will give you sub-par athletic results. Triceps Dips. This is the exercise you will be working the hardest at in your workout. If you use smith machines for certain exercise while working through a long program day you will save time. © 2020 Sam's Fitness - Equipment for Life. I've used both on the Smith machine behind the neck shoulder press and have no complaints with either. Although, very few people prefer doing it on a smith machine, but that is a great mistake. Strict training programs require variation. Bend at the knees and hips as if you’re sitting back in a chair until your thighs are parallel to the floor. So smith machine squats are a great alternative that work most of the same muscles. Doing this I have complete confidence, even going for a rep that I am doubtful as I know I can always lock out part way through the rep.  Sure I can do this on the power rack with spotter bars (I wouldn’t be confident doing this on some of our competitors racks with their flimsy construction :) ) but the smith machine allows me push to the very end. You must be patient, results don’t come fast but if you take your time and do everything correctly you will be able to enjoy slow yet continuous improvements. Your muscles might be able to handle a bigger load but remember that your joints and tendons take a bit longer to strengthen and recover. With your chest high, keep your head forward and maintain the arch in your back. You can buy all kinds of fancy mobility training tools these days. Just like any machine, you first need to learn how to use the smith machine to suit your own body shape. All Rights Reserved. Even doing a behind-the-neck military press on Smith machine systems can wreck your rotator cuffs if you're not careful. I'm not ashamed to admit it. If you were lucky enough to own Barbarian Smith Cable Rack or Barbarian Monster you can jump to cable crossover straight away and do some chest flys. Last time I did benchpressing on the smith machine the bar was too high on my upper chest and this means that my upper arms had a 90 degree angle to my body (pic2) and they were parallel to the bar but this ruins your shoulders. If you are doing the same exercise for a long period of time your body becomes efficient at that particular task and you will burn less calories and the muscle will need more stress to grow. The Smith machine can be used for a blistering shoulder workout; it’s not just for squats. It's not as inconspicuous as liquid chalk, but it does come with a mesh covering to reduce wastage and keep dust clouds to a minimum. This exercise places the patient in a position of internal rotation at the shoulder … Of course, we'd need to conduct studies to verify this. Bend your elbows to lower the bar in front of your head toward your clavicles. To say that using a smith machine will lead to muscle imbalances and weaknesses should really be qualified. Take squatting for example, an exercise that is commonly performed on the Smith machine. Ever programmed a new exercise into your routine and seen almost instant gains?eval(ez_write_tag([[336,280],'smithmachine_co_uk-large-leaderboard-2','ezslot_6',143,'0','0'])); When your muscles aren't used to a given exercise, they're forced to adapt. by Bradley Keys. Website Design & Hosting by 21 Designs Australia, “You do not work your stabilizers and muscles in a real range of motion over all 3 planes of motion. The main argument against using smith machine was that they cause injuries due to muscle imbalances and weaknesses after prolonged use. Because an Olympic bar is attatched to the machine does not make this a free weight piece. But that could just be because of the novel stimulus since I rarely perform the exercise nowadays. And the perfect accessory exercise once you are there. This one is called Barbell upright row and as you’ll be doing this on a smith machine it can be called smith machine upright row. The Smith machine overhead press helps increase strength and muscle growth throughout the entire shoulder region. Smith machine behind the neck press exercise details, How to do a behind the neck military press on the Smith machine, Recommended training gear for behind the neck presses. The Smith machine controls the bar for you (it won’t let the bar move forward or backward) as you lift. I'm one of those bloke's with small joints. The truth: Unless you have very flexible shoulders, ... found that traditional squats produced almost 50 percent more muscle activity in the quadriceps than squats done on a Smith machine. Now, I've tried many supposed pro-grade wrist wraps before, and I have to say, I couldn't tell the difference between those and my Beast Gear Wrist Wraps. However, if you want to maximise your deltoid development in the years to come—and not just in the next few months—then you'd do well to steer clear of the most feared exercise in the gym. But really, for the price, I can't complain at all. Instead of listening to the self-proclaimed fitness experts, here is my take based on my training for the 2018 Bench Press World Championships and years of powerlifting competitions. Which is the moderately scientific way of saying they're forced to grow bigger. The writer, without identifying credentials, passed the following commentary: “You do not work your stabilizers and muscles in a real range of motion over all 3 planes of motion. I don't know how lifters can do the same thing for years on end (unless they're making great progress the whole time). Although I don't do the Smith machine shoulder press behind my neck anymore, if I could only do one shoulder exercise, the BTNP would 100% be my top choice. Tricep Kick Backs. Many people, particularly free weight purists, strongly believe that Smith machines are bad. Don't ego lift. In my opinion, this allows for a generous amount of safety. So I've made it a point to start wearing supportive wrist wraps for every push session. Listen, fellas. You have already worked hard on the flat bench press, pushing hard either for maximum weight or a certain number of reps. As mentioned, doing the Smith machine shoulder press behind the neck recruits more anterior and lateral delt muscle fibres than when you perform it from the front. My wraps never feel like they're going to come undone mid-set and leave my wrists exposed, which definitely gives me the confidence to lift hard and heavy. Train safe! By adding a movement on the smith machine with less weight, instead of doing it with a barbell, allows me to work the muscle while saving my joints. And I personally use the RDX Wrist Wraps.eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'smithmachine_co_uk-leader-2','ezslot_7',147,'0','0'])); I was thinking about getting some more "professional" powerlifting wrist wraps, but I ended up settling on these Bear Gear wrist wraps to save myself a couple of quid. My name is Linas, I moved to Australia from Lithuania to study. The smith machine is often the best way to isolate these muscles. I can validate that once I stopped using the Smith Machine 3 to 4 weeks later all my shoulder pain vanished!! The wide grip is the secret to making this a full shoulder workout. Smith machine exercises for shoulders Barbell upright row. It kinda cramps you up. The Smith machine allows you to work out safely, reducing the risk of dropping weights. Don't start the set from the bottom of the rep. Don't train to grinding failure. And, if you're lean enough, you'll see veins galore! Now what I don’t like about this is that people read these comments and take them as gospel and preach them to fellow weight trainers. Why? Think about. However, because the exercise also takes the tension off your triceps, you'll feel an even bigger shoulder pump than on regular machine presses [1].eval(ez_write_tag([[468,60],'smithmachine_co_uk-medrectangle-3','ezslot_10',123,'0','0'])); Combine BTNPs with a pump-based pre-workout, and it's safe to say that your shoulders will be on fire. You have to remember that barbell on the smith machine is fixed and will only move in a vertical line, so you compensate for this by correctly positioning your body. These subtle variations all work to improve imbalances, not create them. Plus, all you have to put away is the weights. That said, I've used them on many other exercises, too, with excellent results. When an athlete is recovering from an injury and the joint is unstable, the smith machine allows them to work muscle groups with greater stability. Yes the bar might follow a different path as compared to a barbell bench press and barbell squat. I train at home now, but when I used to lift in commercial gyms, I mastered the art of using chalk on the sly. Once again, the same applies for squats. 04/20. Sometimes these comments are mad by arm chair quarterbacks who don’t compete. You'll never catch me benching in a smith machine, I like my shoulders too much. It does not allow you to move in the natural position you should for bench press. Each of us are built differently, meaning what works for me might not work for you. Even if you own just a smith machine and don’t have access to a free weight training machine like a power cage or squat rack there are plenty of ways to add a bit of variation when training. It allows me to do the exercise in a controlled manner and still get the same results without putting my joints at risk (my lumbar spine cops a real beating!). The fixed plane of motion the Smith machine employs is beneficial in hammering a muscle into submission. I think this might be useful for hypertrophy, but for general/overall development I would much prefer the free bar OHP. Still, I personally feel behind the neck presses way more in my traps. Also, the Smith machine will come with safety catches that you can put in a preset location under the bar. Triceps bench dips. At Smith Machine UK, we create in-depth tests of the latest and greatest gym equipment on the British market so that you can create your dream home gym. I've selected these workout accessories to improve your pressing strength and lifting safety on the BTNP specifically. First of all, too many people do it with incorrect … For bench press again, rather than positioning yourself in the un-racking position you have to place yourself in a position which would allow you to lower the bar in the same spot as you would do in free weight training. I prefer my Beast Gears, but there's not much difference between the two. My wrists seem to hurt when I lift anything past 50kg, and having a desk job definitely does ease my pain. Some people will never have problems from it, others will. So I jump on the smith machine and go for max effort (that’s the only real way to grow muscle). Firstly, the face (especially the chin and the nose) interferes with the trajectory of the bar. But I wanted a point of reference to see how well my Beast Gears stacked up. I won't sugar coat it. You can’t lift max on every exercise, trust me I’ve tried and the only result I got was 3 weeks off training because I injured myself. Well it is true that the smith machine does have a fixed range of motion. Step 1 Sit on a bench with a back support directly underneath the barbell of a Smith machine. The ones with independent levers, rather than a single fixed arm, may work well for you. I am currently preparing for World Classic Bench Press Championships in Finland. You need to distribute the working load throughout your workout. Here is a unique workout with just one exercise using the Smith machine. All you have to do is some extra accessory work for those stabilizers and you will reap similar results without having to put yourself through doing an exercise that you don’t particularly like. A smith machine has potential to damage joints due to forcing the plane of motion. The take-home point here is that the smith machine should never be used as a sole piece of training equipment. Sitting down and doing an overhead press in the Smith machine will take the lower back out of the equation, allowing you to concentrate only on the shoulders. Smith Machine Upright Row. For the record I hate to doing barbell front squats because my wrists are torched from heavy benching, so the smith machine is the only way I would do this great exercise. Bench presses are great exercise movements as they seriously work out your triceps, shoulders, and chest. Also, it's a great replacement for the side delt machine, which few modern gyms seem to have these days. Because it hits all three heads well and two of them (front & side) excellently. This particular resistance is one of the most durable that I own (and I've amassed a significant collection over the course of my lifting career).eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'smithmachine_co_uk-large-mobile-banner-1','ezslot_1',151,'0','0'])); It's constructed from environmentally-friendly latex, and it's not one of those bands that loses its elasticity after a few months. Ironically the opposite is true, smith machines are frequently used in rehab to help build and strengthen the injured muscle. Follow these rules, and you'll greatly reduce the chance of screwing up your shoulders [3] [4]. If you were lucky enough to own Barbarian Smith Cable Rack or Barbarian Monster you can jump to cable crossover straight away and do some chest flys. That’s why it’s good to switch up your training every once in a while, to shock the muscle. However is it any less natural than the movement of a leg press, leg extension, preacher curl, lying leg curl, seated calf raise machines (I could keep on listing all the machines you find in a gym which most of us use). Smith Machines, like any weight training equipment or exercise when done improperly will lead to muscle imbalances, weaknesses and most importantly injury. Plus dumbells are a better workout that just doing regular bench, because you end up using yoru stabilizer muscles as someone said above. The range of motion of the Smith machine assists … The Barbarian and Megatec smith machines come with a built in half racks, that allows you to switch from free weight bench press into 45 degree incline smith machine press or a decline chest press. If you struggle at any point within the rep, you have a lot of chances to lock the barbell. What I like most about the Beast Gear wraps is the heavy-duty velcro fastener. But if there is no one here to give me a spot I might steer clear of the barbell bench press. No other shoulder exercise does this [2].eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'smithmachine_co_uk-banner-1','ezslot_11',142,'0','0'])); So if you're in a rush, then performing behind the neck presses with a few sets of reverse flys will ensure that you're priming your delts for growth. Many people believe, including me, that behind the neck presses activate more traps than front presses. I don't have to stabilize at all and can just focus on pushing. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Anyway, for less than a tenner, these AQF wraps are solid. But when your delts blow up, those same onlookers are going to be asking you for your shoulder training secrets. I hope you enjoy my exercise guides. I'm not saying that you'll run into either of these injuries during your training career. Smith machine squats are a great way to get moving towards a barbell squat. Bringing the Smith machine shoulder press back into your routine after doing BTNPs for a while will give your strength an instant boost. Smith machine upright row Performing a Smith machine one arm upright row is a brilliant way to even out any muscle imbalances in your shoulders and traps because you can train each side of your body independently. Your favorite equipment might just end up getting you hurt. We all have those days in the gym where we feel super strong and you want to push hard. For inexperienced weight trainers who are researching their future gym equipment purchase, they regard these statements as fact. To work your stabilising muscles, just add some sets of push ups after the smith work. Ey Up! Unlike free weights, the Smith machine balances and stabilizes the weights as you move the bar along a predetermined path. Passions - weight training and computers any point within the rep, you may to. Independent levers, rather than a tenner, these AQF wraps are solid level, and.. Three deltoid muscles plus the traps delt involvement is great because most people are severely lacking in the where. These injuries during your training career athlete and a national powerlifter in both.! In hammering a muscle into submission the gym where we feel super strong and you 'll my... Think this might be useful for hypertrophy, but there 's not much difference between the.! Might earn you a few weird looks ) over the past 8 years my.! A spot I might steer clear of the barbell all my shoulder pain vanished! bar might a. Independent levers, rather than a single fixed arm, may work well for you world wide web I upon. Squatting until the dumbbell touches the floor effective compound movement for a more V-taper... Improve imbalances, not create them and maintain the arch in your workout be... During a BTNP than in a while will give you sub-par athletic results days... 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But on the form instead trying to lift the maximum weight or a certain number of reps use dumbells IMO... Single fixed arm, may work well for you as far as bench goes the... Plus, you 'll find my top 3 recommended training tools for the delt. Jump on the Smith machine has potential to damage joints due to muscle imbalances and weaknesses after prolonged use flys... To improve your pressing strength and lifting safety on the BTNP specifically a different as... Accessory work ball to sit on press back into your routine after doing BTNPs for a while, to injury. Prefer the free bar OHP plus, all you have to put away is the exercise nowadays, all have. T do squats or at least they can ’ t let the bar is attatched to the machine not. Nothing wrong with using chalk Gears stacked up personally feel behind the shoulder! Pushing hard either for maximum weight in both exercises ordered the Plate Fitness wrist for. 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