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CheshireCrab

Deadlifting a Smith Machine?

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I use my University's gym for working out and equipment there is kind of limited. They have some dumbells that go up to 70lb and a smith machine for the barebell.

 

The problem I have is that the smith machine has a safety spring on it that prevents me from putting the barbell any lower than slightly below knee height. This makes it impossible to do a deadlift with proper form. I can't really rely on two 70 lb dumbells because the combined weight is lower than what I usually lift. Would there be any way I can workaround this or any alternatives I can do to cope with this?


I talked with another weight lifter about this, and he suggested deficient deadlifts, but I found this is not possible. The gym does not have anything to elevate me high enough other than the bench, but the bench is too wide to squeeze between the smith machine so I can get to the bar. Stacking the maximum plates on top(45 lbs) still does not elevate me high enough to achieve proper form.

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if you are equipment-deficient, i would suggest:

 

1) work with the smith machine and just do rack deadlifts.

2) do dumbbell cleans (2 x 70lb will be no picnic either)

3) if there are kettlebells, do kb swings?

 

they are not the same as deadlifts of course but there will definitely be some posterior chain training effect.

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15 hours ago, godjira1 said:

if you are equipment-deficient, i would suggest:

 

1) work with the smith machine and just do rack deadlifts.

2) do dumbbell cleans (2 x 70lb will be no picnic either)

3) if there are kettlebells, do kb swings?

 

they are not the same as deadlifts of course but there will definitely be some posterior chain training effect.

 

This is good advice!  Rack deadlifts will start higher so expect to be able to pull more than you normally can with a standard free weight deadlift.

 

Even with full range of motion I found deadlifts in a smith machine were easier than with a  free weight barbell.  The tracked bar drastically reduces the work your body needs to do to stabilize during the lift.  That means all your force can be directed towards lifting the weight.  I found this would add about 15%-20% over my normal deadlift in any given rep range.  

 

The extra cleans and kettlebell work suggested above will ensure those core stabilizers are worked sufficiently.  It won't have a perfectly direct carry over if you ever get to a situation where you can do deadlifts for reals, but you'll be way farther ahead than if you never did them.  They'll improve overall athletic ability too, which just increases your capacity to do anything!  

 

If you aren't already, maybe try one armed dumbbell snatches too!  They'll build good explosiveness, which never hurts!     

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On 9/23/2017 at 1:56 PM, CheshireCrab said:

I use my University's gym for working out and equipment there is kind of limited. They have some dumbells that go up to 70lb and a smith machine for the barebell.

 

The problem I have is that the smith machine has a safety spring on it that prevents me from putting the barbell any lower than slightly below knee height. This makes it impossible to do a deadlift with proper form. I can't really rely on two 70 lb dumbells because the combined weight is lower than what I usually lift. Would there be any way I can workaround this or any alternatives I can do to cope with this?


I talked with another weight lifter about this, and he suggested deficient deadlifts, but I found this is not possible. The gym does not have anything to elevate me high enough other than the bench, but the bench is too wide to squeeze between the smith machine so I can get to the bar. Stacking the maximum plates on top(45 lbs) still does not elevate me high enough to achieve proper form.

 

Do they have any kind of free barbells for things like bench press? Or are all of the barbells attached to smith machines? 

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