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Hi:

I have a question about training with a Smith Machine. The gym I use doesn't have a power rack or cage, just a bench with stands and a Smith machine. I've started doing some barbell work using the Smith machine (back squats and deadlifts, mostly), since I frequently work out alone. I've seen all sorts of posts on various forums about how bad Smith machines are, that they don't allow you to build stability or balance, on and on. I'm just starting with weights; my trainer says my form is good enough to avoid injury as long as I don't overdo it. However, I want to get as much benefit from my workouts as possible, including the corollary ones.

So should I keep using the thing, or try to find equivalent exercises that I can do with dumbbells?

Thanks in advance.

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dumbbells

+1

Take it easy with deadlifts (real ones from the floor, not Smith machine) until you're confident in your technique. You can always drop the bar anyway. Dumbbell squats are also a good challenge. Add in some lunges etc and your legs will be on fire.

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If they have benches, then they must have olympic barbells (I would think), so you can do your deadlifts with them from the ground as normal. But try your squats with barbells, look up the "goblet squat". Start light and work up, focus on form and keep your ego in check (we all want to lift the big weights, but build up, don't rush in, better in the long run)

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Like Lachy said, cages are completely unnecessary for deadlifting. Depending on where you are now, you may get a lot of mileage out of dumbbell goblet squats. You can technically do squats (or even better, front squats) without a cage/rack, but it's pretty tricky, especially if you're just starting out. Take that bar off the bench and get to work.

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Wow, I have never heard of doing dead-lifts on a Smith Machine. That would be really awkward. As Lachy said there is no reason to use a cage or Smith for dead-lifts. All you need is the Olympic bar and floor space. If you are just starting out then your weights may be pretty light. If you are dead-lift sub 135lbs that require plates smaller than the standard 45lb plates, your gym should have sub 45lb bumper plates that are the same diameter as the 45lb plate. If your gym does not then you then you can always stack some plates to below each end of the bar to make a platform to raise the bar to the normal height it would be with 45lb plates. It looks a little silly but it works.

I think you are going to outgrow goblet squats faster than you think.

Eventually you will want to find a new gym.

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There's a "trainer" at my gym who has a preferred squat rack. Whenever he sees me in or near it (even if I'm just using the barbell for DL), he comes over and tells me his professional advice is to use the smith machine. Lol. Which, of course he's not using...

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There's a "trainer" at my gym who has a preferred squat rack. Whenever he sees me in or near it (even if I'm just using the barbell for DL), he comes over and tells me his professional advice is to use the smith machine. Lol. Which, of course he's not using...

tell him you pay to use it. he doesn't.

Sent from my DROIDX using Tapatalk 2

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Hi:

I have a question about training with a Smith Machine. The gym I use doesn't have a power rack or cage, just a bench with stands and a Smith machine. I've started doing some barbell work using the Smith machine (back squats and deadlifts, mostly), since I frequently work out alone. I've seen all sorts of posts on various forums about how bad Smith machines are, that they don't allow you to build stability or balance, on and on. I'm just starting with weights; my trainer says my form is good enough to avoid injury as long as I don't overdo it. However, I want to get as much benefit from my workouts as possible, including the corollary ones.

So should I keep using the thing, or try to find equivalent exercises that I can do with dumbbells?

Thanks in advance.

The problem with Smith Machines for squats is your path is constrained by the guides. Unless the path of the weight is perfectly aligned with the guides, any lateral load (that would otherwise be unconstrained without the guides) will go to your joints, particularly your knees. Just draw a free body diagram and you'll see.

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everybody jumps right in and gives advice... no one asks what the goals of the person asking the question are...

i get what the articles are saying, i've read all of them. my problem with all of them is this... everyone of those writers starts witht he viewpoint that the smith squat is an exercise trying to marquerade as a barbell back squat. well if you start from that premise, well, you may not get all the benefits of the barbell squat if you do smith squats... that's because they are not the same exercise... not because the smith squat is inherently an inferior exercise.

to me machines have their uses. they isolate muscles and range of motion. take a plank. there is absolutely no range of motion, but i don't hear anyone saying don't do planks...

if your goal is to maximize the size of your quads, the smith machine squat is (i don't really care if you disagree, i know i'm right) far superior than the barbell squat. the latter is a compound, more complex and demanding exercise that does not isolate the quad through a specific range of motion as well as the smith machine can. you can also squat more weight at a given point in strength with the smith machine because there are many things you don't need to worry about, like the stabilizers that become a constraint when going heavy...

like i said... depending on what you want to do, i believe you should keep an open mind about every exercise, and i know everybody is against isolation, but the pendulum will swing again towards it, especially if you engage in skill specific sports, where it never went away in the first place...

anyhow, i don't agree with all of you, but that's ok, because diversity of thought is what makes a conversation... otherwise it's a collection of bobbleheads nodding in unison which after a minute or two really gets boring...

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oh, and for those who ask why bodybuilders squat to get huge quads... they don't... they get their hypertrophy or size by doing leg presses far heavier than you could ever hope to squat... but you have to squat b/c quads aren't the only muscle in your leg...

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oh, and for those who ask why bodybuilders squat to get huge quads... they don't... they get their hypertrophy or size by doing leg presses far heavier than you could ever hope to squat... but you have to squat b/c quads aren't the only muscle in your leg...

The irony is we can all leg press more than we can every hope to squat. That is part of why leg presses are such a vanity exercise.

If we to talk leg presses, sure we can all agree on it's benefits even if we chose not to do them for various reasons. Hell we can even find good uses for a Smith Machine (10 Uses for a Smith Machine) but I can't think of a good reason to recommend it for squats. That's also thinking for myself.:smug:

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For the record, my advice would be the same, regardless if the person's goals are to become a bodybuilder, a professional athlete, or anything else, and this opinion was formed long before I came to NF. No bobbleheading here. Nor did I just jump in without considering the person's background and goals. It's interesting that you make huge assumptions when you accuse everyone else of making huge assumptions, ETFnerd.

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Why not become a bodyweight exercise god instead? Either that or kettlebells. I think the smith machine is evil, and you can't do squats or deadlifts effectively with dumbells.
everybody jumps right in and gives advice... no one asks what the goals of the person asking the question are...
For the record, my advice would be the same, regardless if the person's goals are to become a bodybuilder, a professional athlete, or anything else, and this opinion was formed long before I came to NF. No bobbleheading here. Nor did I just jump in without considering the person's background and goals. It's interesting that you make huge assumptions when you accuse everyone else of making huge assumptions, ETFnerd.

i don't recall saying anything about what you considered. i said people gave advice and nobody asked about his goals... did you? :)

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The irony is we can all leg press more than we can every hope to squat. That is part of why leg presses are such a vanity exercise.

I wonder about this... it's interesting because you brought it up... if someone was leg pressing 1,500lbs 3x per week or alternatively back squatting 500lbs 3x per week... say for a year... which would result in stronger legs?

i don't know the answer to this, but my inclination would be to say that leg pressing the much higher weight would result in stronger legs... what do you think?

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