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But I thought the purpose of the Smith was its supposed safety. That's different from isolation. I understand how the Smith machine might cause the quads to be used more in a squat, but that's emphasizing them, not isolating them. If you truly want to isolate the quads, then there are certainly ways to do that that would likely be more effective. I just don't understand the point of doing a squat in a Smith machine!

I think smith machines have two valid uses:

1) For a very new lifter who is scared of a given weight, a smith machine may help initially with getting them comfortable with the basic movement. As long as the intention is to progress to free weights, I think it can be a very good initial foray into lifting.

2) Isolation.

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I think smith machines have two valid uses:

1) For a very new lifter who is scared of a given weight, a smith machine may help initially with getting them comfortable with the basic movement. As long as the intention is to progress to free weights, I think it can be a very good initial foray into lifting.

2) Isolation.

Also,

3) Coat/towel rack.

4) Honey Pot (attracts other people away from the squat rack, so I can use it!)

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So anyway, I think that is part of the machine hate. It's not that they are evil tools designed to murder people. It's that they represent an uninformed approach to training that includes the misuse and abuse of tools that might otherwise have some purpose for certain people at certain times. The barrier of entry is lower with machines because people aren't as afraid of them as they are barbells.

I'd just like to add in that in the past, after recuperating from a serious illness that including some bad muscle wastage in my legs as well as ongoing issues with dizziness and fatigue, that my routine in the gym for rehab purposes was machine based. Leg press, calf raises, seated pulldowns, that kinda thing. Because the machines do all the balancing for you, and in many cases let you sit down while you exercise, I could smoothly do decent weights on the leg press, even though when I stood up after a set I limped and staggered just walking around the gym (trying to hide it by walking slowly, though, so people wouldn't think I was drunk). Similarly, sometimes I hung onto the rails for treadmill walks, so I could catch myself when my left leg spontaneously crumpled under me.

I did not do any free weight work, except I think a little bicep curls with dumbbells. Because I was genuinely afraid of getting dizzy and dropping the barbells, and I think that was a reasonable fear at the time.

Rehab is an excellent time for machine-based workouts. Keep in mind that that may be why some people choose them, and err on the side of kindness in your thoughts.

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In addition to inverted rows, I also like to use the smith machine for plyometric benchpresses (if that's what it's called). I push the weight as hard and explosive as I possibly can and see how far I can throw the bar. I feel this helps me in being more explosive on the normal benchpress. Of course, I would never ever do these at expense of the normal bench.

I guess it would be possible to do this on the normal bench too, but I don't think I'm man enough ;p

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In addition to inverted rows, I also like to use the smith machine for plyometric benchpresses (if that's what it's called). I push the weight as hard and explosive as I possibly can and see how far I can throw the bar. I feel this helps me in being more explosive on the normal benchpress. Of course, I would never ever do these at expense of the normal bench.

I guess it would be possible to do this on the normal bench too, but I don't think I'm man enough ;p

Do it. Intact ribcages are for suckers.

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I guess you're right, they are all better options. If only my gym had chains or bands. I really want to try using them and see what they can do for my bench. No place in my gym where I can throw a medball either. I don't know about plyo pushups though, as it's harder to control weight.

I just read about doing the plyometric benchpress somewhere and figured I should give it a go. I like to try most things before I bash it, and I do feel this one has made my bencpress more explosive, although there probably are many better options.

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