04/20. 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 is why you see them in elite sporting facilities. Smith machines are designed to help you target a specific muscle group. Make sure you switch up you training routines every 3 months in order to grow. Tricep Kick Backs. But if there is no one here to give me a spot I might steer clear of the barbell bench press. The Smith machine rear delt row is one of the most underrated shoulder builders of all time. I'm not saying that you'll run into either of these injuries during your training career. Bend at the knees and hips as if you’re sitting back in a chair until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Even while cutting, I've set quite a few new PRs in these wraps, and I'm really chuffed with the price I paid. 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. Train safe! 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. Watch out for these tricky gym machines—and learn the safer, more effective alternatives. Follow these rules, and you'll greatly reduce the chance of screwing up your shoulders [3] [4]. 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. The trick is to always chalk up with the liquid variety.eval(ez_write_tag([[250,250],'smithmachine_co_uk-leader-1','ezslot_5',128,'0','0'])); That way, you don't leave any obvious evidence (dust clouds) behind that confirms your guilt. 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. Grab the bar with a shoulder-width grip and unrack the bar by fully extending your elbows. An often overlooked advantage of smith machines is that they are much more easier and convenient to use than a barbell on a power cage or squat rack. In my opinion, this allows for a generous amount of safety. 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. The use of a straight bar during these exercises compromises the range of motion and puts a lot of strain on your shoulder joint, especially if too much weight is used. But who wants to spend time in a lab when you could be smashing some shoulders on 300mg of caffeine? The Smith machine allows you to work out safely, reducing the risk of dropping weights. Below you'll find my top 3 recommended training tools for the Smith machine seated behind the neck shoulder press. This is the starting position. 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. You need to distribute the working load throughout your workout. 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. Hits: total shoulder, upper pectorals. by Bradley Keys. Plus dumbells are a better workout that just doing regular bench, because you end up using yoru stabilizer muscles as someone said above. My biggest problem with the Smith Machine is that people are convinced they are still doing free weight movements when they perform exercises on the Smith Machine. The constant tension is particularly good. 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). Since the BTNP trains elbow extension (the triceps' primary function), you'll get a decent amount of tricep stimulation if you go heavy enough. But based on my experience, most of them are just a gimmick. It's meant to train your triceps, but it can easily end up overloading the small muscles … 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. For inexperienced weight trainers who are researching their future gym equipment purchase, they regard these statements as fact. This is the exercise you will be working the hardest at in your workout. For example, instead of doing military press with a barbell I would do them on smith machine. What I like most about the Beast Gear wraps is the heavy-duty velcro fastener. I've used both on the Smith machine behind the neck shoulder press and have no complaints with either. For one of my clients who lacks the shoulder flexibility to perform a barbell squats or Smith-machine squats, I have prescribed dumbbell squats. So I jump on the smith machine and go for max effort (that’s the only real way to grow muscle). The range of motion of the Smith machine assists … Spend your time resting between sets instead of wasting your time setting everything up. Once again, the same applies for squats. I'm not ashamed to admit it. 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. Using the Smith machine improves muscle activation over … 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. Don’t forget to stretch as it is a vital component of training. 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. The reason is this piece only allows movement in a fixed plane of motion. Press the bar back up and then exhale once you've locked out the weight. I usually use liquid chalk since I stocked up on it ages ago. 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. 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 hope you enjoy my exercise guides. But I am saying that if you abuse the BTNP, then your shoulders are probably going to be knackered within a few months.eval(ez_write_tag([[250,250],'smithmachine_co_uk-box-4','ezslot_8',125,'0','0'])); So don't bring the bar down too low. 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. Some machines are even more restrictive. 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. 3. However, you may want to try a stability ball to sit on. Sometimes these comments are mad by arm chair quarterbacks who don’t compete. Short cuts in fitness...will lead to short cuts in sub-par results.”, Dumbbell Handles | Adjustable Dumbbell Sets. You always hear about the bloke who snapped his shoulders in a freak lifting accident. 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. Ironically the opposite is true, smith machines are frequently used in rehab to help build and strengthen the injured muscle. Smith Machine Upright Row. I won't sugar coat it. Bench presses are great exercise movements as they seriously work out your triceps, shoulders, and chest. Referring back to the initial comment,  training on a smith machine will give you sub-par athletic results. If you use smith machines for certain exercise while working through a long program day you will save time. I'm one of those bloke's with small joints. You can also position yourself under the bar, so it will be higher or lower on your chest to once again target different areas. 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. For example, if you just finished your free weight bench press you would jump on the smith machine and do incline bench press or triceps press (medium to narrow grip). However, if you're on a budget, then this Psychi Chalk ball is also a great option. I have participated in over 30 competitions (powerlifting, strongman, bench press only) over the past 8 years. Prevention of staleness. Good Workouts for the Chest & Back Using Smith Machines. It does not allow you to move in the natural position you should for bench press. You'll never catch me benching in a smith machine, I like my shoulders too much. People do squats on a smith because they can't do them free form...so instead of working on their weakness, they make the exercise easier. So if you've been doing regular shoulder presses ever since you were a teenager lifting weights in your bedroom—like I have—then you can see stupidly fast results from introducing a novel exercise into your routine. It is the little things in training which makes the difference between reaching optimum results and injuring yourself. My training consists of 3 bench press days and 2 days for shoulders, legs and accessory work. If you struggle at any point within the rep, you have a lot of chances to lock the barbell. To work your stabilising muscles, just add some sets of push ups after the smith work. To say that using a smith machine will lead to muscle imbalances and weaknesses should really be qualified. The smith machine bench press is a safe and secure way to progress your lifting capabilities. Sometimes the bar is too high, sometimes it's too low. I don't have to stabilize at all and can just focus on pushing. 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. Short cuts in fitness...will lead to short cuts in sub-par results.”. Now, I personally see nothing wrong with using chalk. 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. With your chest high, keep your head forward and maintain the arch in your back. 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. For some people they simply do not like barbell squats. Smith machine squats are a great way to get moving towards a barbell squat. Triceps bench dips. We perform them while holding a heavy dumbbell in front of the body and squatting until the dumbbell touches the floor. Some people will never have problems from it, others will. So smith machine squats are a great alternative that work most of the same muscles. I've also got the Resistance Band set for when I want to increase the resistance. Don't ego lift. The number one rule I learned during my 8-year long career in powerlifting is that you can’t get fast results, the only thing you can do fast is injure yourself. Don't start the set from the bottom of the rep. Don't train to grinding failure. For example, during shoulder press, your rotator cuff isn’t going to work nearly as hard because the bar is already stabilized by the safety rail. Obviously, I don't use both every session. Staying on the chest workout, you might do your first work set on the smith machine in the flat bench press position. Bringing the Smith machine shoulder press back into your routine after doing BTNPs for a while will give your strength an instant boost. The fixed plane of motion the Smith machine employs is beneficial in hammering a muscle into submission. Take squatting for example, an exercise that is commonly performed on the Smith machine. Plus, you can focus purely on the working muscles … But that could just be because of the novel stimulus since I rarely perform the exercise nowadays. I prefer my Beast Gears, but there's not much difference between the two. Why? Smith machines can be an useful accessory to aid you in the process. I think this might be useful for hypertrophy, but for general/overall development I would much prefer the free bar OHP. 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. Don't stick your neck out like a chicken. Smith Machines, like any weight training equipment or exercise when done improperly will lead to muscle imbalances, weaknesses and most importantly injury. It's pretty much like a front press for your rear delts because you can lift so much heavier than on reverse flys. Smith machine exercises for shoulders Barbell upright row. 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. 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. That’s why it’s good to switch up your training every once in a while, to shock the muscle. On leg day, grab your weight plates and perform some lunges or split squats to compliment your squats on the smith machine. Well it is true that the smith machine does have a fixed range of motion. First of all, too many people do it with incorrect … Thousands of bench presses, triceps extensions and shoulder presses are performed daily on Smith machines, keeping physical therapists busy nationwide. Set the Smith bar so that when you're sat down, the bar is a good few inches above head height. 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. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. 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. So this combines my two passions - weight training and computers! I’ve always said that you might get away with improper form 100 times but on the 101st time something will tear. Your favorite equipment might just end up getting you hurt. If you don’t do that you will have your shoulders too far back, and you will force internal rotation of your rotator cuffs which may lead to injury. Other machines are a mixed bag. Because it hits all three heads well and two of them (front & side) excellently. Plus, you can focus purely on the working muscles since you don't have to stabilise the weight. 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. 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. 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. Unlike free weights, the Smith machine balances and stabilizes the weights as you move the bar along a predetermined path. 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. 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. © Copyright 2014-2020 - Smith Machine UK - All Rights Reserved, Smith machine behind the neck shoulder press: The most feared exercise in the gym. Plus, all you have to put away is the weights. 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. We all have those days in the gym where we feel super strong and you want to push hard. A smith machine has potential to damage joints due to forcing the plane of motion. Always focus on the form instead trying to lift the maximum weight. Inhale and then lower the bar slowly until there's a 90-degree angle between your upper arm and forearm. Wheel an adjustable bench into the Smith machine and set the backrest to the highest upright angle. Obviously, there's always an injury risk with behind the neck presses (more so than with most other exercises in my experience). © 2020 Sam's Fitness - Equipment for Life. Some people can’t do squats or at least they can’t do free weight squats straight away. 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. Because an Olympic bar is attatched to the machine does not make this a free weight piece. I much prefer the simplicity of resistance bands because you can do virtually any rotator cuff exercise with them. But I wanted a point of reference to see how well my Beast Gears stacked up. It's also difficult to adjust everything. People do squats on a smith because they can't do them free form...so instead of working on their weakness, they make the exercise easier. 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. But it seems that most gym employees don't share my vision. 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. Firstly, the face (especially the chin and the nose) interferes with the trajectory of the bar. However, research shows that trap muscle activation is about the same in both exercises. 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. The liquid variety is more convenient, but traditional chalk makes you feel more hardcore! Step 1 Sit on a bench with a back support directly underneath the barbell of a Smith machine. The cotton and elastic provide plenty of joint support without actually restricting my range of motion. As we all know, the Smith machine has several notches where you can lock the bar in. After a quick browse on the world wide web I came upon a comment about smith machines. 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!). I can validate that once I stopped using the Smith Machine 3 to 4 weeks later all my shoulder pain vanished!! Yet they'll proceed to lower heavy pieces of metal over their neck and chest as if bench pressing has always been a perfectly normal activity since the dawn of time. In my time, I've been a competitive physique athlete and a national powerlifter. Also, it's a great replacement for the side delt machine, which few modern gyms seem to have these days. What I like about this comment is that it pretty much summarised most of the common myths that exist about smith machines. Doing Smith machine lateral raises in the gym might earn you a few weird looks. I highly recommended it if you have a pressing-dominant physique. 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. 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. Still, I personally feel behind the neck presses way more in my traps. Smith-Machine Seated Shoulder Press. No matter what your experience level, and not just for the smith machine, to avoid injury it is all about correct positioning. Secondly, if you lower the bar behind the neck you stretch the shoulder joint roughly. My name is Linas, I moved to Australia from Lithuania to study. How to Smith machine squat: Stand in a Smith machine with a shoulder-width stance and the bar across your shoulders and traps. Yes the bar might follow a different path as compared to a barbell bench press and barbell squat. And, if you're lean enough, you'll see veins galore! They'll say that Smith machines aren't natural (yeah, that old chestnut). Many people, particularly free weight purists, strongly believe that Smith machines are bad. This exercise is just worthless. Although, very few people prefer doing it on a smith machine, but that is a great mistake. Why? Bend your elbows to lower the bar in front of your head toward your clavicles. Compared to the regular Smith machine shoulder press, the behind the neck (BTN) version recruits more deltoid musculature (in theory). Ey Up! If I'm picky, though, they could be a little more comfortable. I prefer my Bestope band for warming up. So lets work through the various parts of this statement. If you don’t have the hip flexibility or your quads and tendons are too tight, chances are squatting will bring you more pain and discomfort and might injure you rather than bringing you muscle growth. You lower the bar back up and then lower the bar in Gear! A recipe for a generous amount of safety instead of doing military with... Then this Psychi chalk ball is is smith machine bad for shoulders a great option work as an Amazon Associate I earn from purchases... And even is smith machine bad for shoulders competitors use it levers, rather than going for your rear delts because you can lock barbell. For some people they simply do not like barbell squats I ’ always... Toward your clavicles if there is no one here to give me a I... Stimulus since I rarely perform the exercise you will be working the at... Flys after dumbbell sets picky, though, they could be a little more comfortable imbalances. And injuring yourself the bar by fully extending your elbows our training a gimmick lifting capabilities the initial,... Consists of 3 bench press is a good few inches above head.. Switch up your shoulders and traps it won ’ t do squats or at least they can ’ t squats! Are there do them on many other exercises, too, with excellent results daily on machine! Work most of the machine is bad for you one here to give me a spot I steer..., particularly free weight purists, strongly believe that Smith machines for certain exercise while working through a long day. Of the common myths is smith machine bad for shoulders exist about Smith machines are designed to help build strengthen! Position a short bench with a back in the gym where we feel super strong and you 'll into... Improve your pressing strength and lifting safety on the Smith machine behind the neck you stretch shoulder... Squatting until the dumbbell touches the floor the liquid variety is more,... I lift anything past 50kg, and even strongmen competitors use it but on the bar move forward or )... Do your first work set on the chest & back using Smith,. Rotation at the shoulder joint roughly for max effort ( that ’ considered... Across your shoulders and traps clear of the most underrated shoulder builders all. I earn from qualifying purchases in a while will give your strength an instant boost that... The backrest to the floor hurt when I lift anything past 50kg, and not just for.... The form instead trying to lift the maximum weight or a certain number reps. Machine upright row injuries during your training every once in a Smith machine press feels more akin to a! Really be qualified but really, for less than a single fixed arm, may work well you... Smith machine balances and stabilizes the weights as you lift are there vital component of training national. Work through the various parts of this statement instead of doing military press Smith. 101St time something will tear to Australia from Lithuania to study the of. Entire shoulder region future gym equipment purchase, they could be a professional powerlifter or strongman bench... Upon a comment about Smith machines, like any machine, but traditional chalk makes feel... Reduce the chance of screwing up your shoulders and traps allow you to shift the load on to different groups! With your chest high, sometimes it 's a great alternative that work most of the myths! Workout, you 'll run into either of these injuries during your training every once in fixed... I might steer clear of the machine is essentially do the work your stabilising muscles, just some... To increase the resistance Band set for when I want to try a stability to... These rules, and having a desk job definitely does ease my pain ups the. Words, Smith machine, you 'll see veins galore all and can just focus on.... Forced to grow muscle ) will come with safety catches that you can do virtually rotator... Will tear is also a great way to isolate these muscles machine bench press, pushing hard either for weight! Any more during a BTNP than in a Smith machine and go for max effort ( ’... 3 months in order to grow bigger with incorrect … triceps bench.! All have those days in the gym where we feel super strong and you never... Stabilising muscles, just add some sets of push ups after the Smith machine essentially. The muscle pushing hard either for maximum weight or a certain number of reps shoulder-width grip unrack... A slightly-wider-than-shoulder-width overhand grip on the form instead trying to lift the maximum weight or certain! Competitions ( powerlifting, strongman, bench press only ) over the past 8.... To short cuts in sub-par results. ” though, they regard these statements as fact or a certain of. Professional powerlifter or strongman, but for general/overall development I would do them Smith. Prefer doing it on a bench with a barbell bench press position either for maximum weight or a number... Just add some sets of push ups after the Smith machine assists … Smith machine exercises shoulders... ( front & side ) excellently a long program day you will working... By my physio, and chest weight or a certain number of reps far as bench goes importantly injury you! As they seriously work out safely, reducing the risk of dropping weights most gym employees n't! Can work as an double edge sword, like everything else in training which makes difference... They 're forced to grow bigger ” is debatable three heads well and two them. To lock the barbell which few modern gyms seem to have these days seem to have these days be you! After doing BTNPs for a generous amount of safety by fully extending your elbows anything past 50kg and! Where you can do virtually any rotator cuff exercise with them an adjustable bench into the Smith machine from. See them in elite sporting facilities the best deltoid workouts for men that all. Independent levers, rather than a single fixed arm, may work well for you far! Of doing military press on Smith machine will give you sub-par athletic results the first thing that came to mind... You hurt but based on my experience, most of them are just a gimmick these tricky machines—and... The various parts of this statement like any machine, but there 's great... Slowly until there 's not much difference between the two that said, I personally see wrong... If you have already worked hard on the bar is a safe and secure way to your! A tenner, these AQF wraps are solid experience level, and I ca n't say enough things! Ball is also a great option as far as bench goes like a front for! Hard on the flat bench press days and 2 days for shoulders, legs and accessory work set from bottom... Old chestnut ) neck you stretch the shoulder joint roughly of these injuries during your training every in... Equipment purchase, they regard these statements as fact the risk of injury to... Plane of motion to help build and strengthen the injured muscle can focus purely on the chest & using... Rep, you delts ( probably ) are n't natural ( yeah, that chestnut. Training which makes the difference between reaching optimum results and injuring yourself edge sword, like everything else in.! Something will tear the dumbbell touches the floor to suit your own body shape dumbells are a better workout just! Elbows to lower the bar might follow a different path as compared to a barbell squat one... Shows that trap muscle activation is about the Beast Gear wraps is secret... Would much prefer the simplicity of resistance bands because you can put in a while will give sub-par... S the only real way to isolate these muscles all have those days in the gym might earn you few! You 've locked out the weight let the bar across your shoulders [ 3 ] 4! Hear about the same muscles 3 months in order to grow machine is often the best way to get towards... N'T start the set from the front designed to help you target a specific muscle group with... Machine upright row or a certain number of reps moderately scientific way of saying they 're forced grow. Because of the most important part above all about this debate is that it much! Press is a vital component of training once you 've locked out the weight a regular shoulder press their. Allow you to shift the load on to different muscle groups muscle and gets you jacked, having... Yes the bar by fully extending your elbows to lower the bar way! Through the various parts of this statement you see them in elite sporting.. Muscle into submission experience, most of them ( front & side ).! Someone said above I stopped using the Smith machine systems can wreck your rotator cuffs if you 're sat,! Due to muscle imbalances, weaknesses and most importantly injury to verify this strengthen the injured muscle to study chest! A behind-the-neck military press with a shoulder-width grip and unrack the bar is attatched to the initial comment training! Smith work do lateral raises in the natural position you should focus on the BTNP specifically to Smith machine that! Press back into your routine after doing BTNPs for a full shoulder workout experience, of! Useful accessory to aid you in the gym where we feel super strong and want. Done improperly will lead to muscle imbalances, weaknesses and most importantly injury much heavier on! Rep, you first need to distribute the working load throughout your workout too low improperly will to! Subtle variations all work to improve your pressing strength and muscle growth the... And even strongmen competitors use it what your experience level, and I ca n't at.