A gym starter may as well be clueless on how to use most of the gym equipment. since all of them look too robotically technical. ProSports presents a beginner-friendly guide on how to use a Smith Machine correctly to achieve your strength and muscle-building goals.
Since the guide is for beginners, let’s start by explaining what a Smith machine is. It's equipment used for weight training, and you might have seen it in the gym just passing by, unaware of how to use it. It stands as a fixed, tall rack holding a barbell, and that rail has a series of slots on which the barbell can be hooked. Those slots or pegs are for when lifters instantaneously need to stop mid-press; they can just hook them onto the machine and take a breather.
HOW TO USE A SMITH MACHINE
The Smith Machine is a versatile piece of gym equipment, allowing oneself to do a variety of exercises, from squats and bench presses to lunges and shoulder shrugs. It's a great machine to work out the quadriceps, glutes, chest, upper and mid-back, shoulders, etc.
This guide will explain how to use a smith machine depending on the exercise you wish to do.
- Set the bar at shoulder height on the Smith machine.
- Grab the bar with your hands shoulder-width apart.
- Step forward slightly, feet hip-width apart, so the bar rests on your shoulders.
- Lift the bar out of its lock.
- Engage your core muscles (quadriceps, hamstrings, and core muscles) and squat slowly to a 90-degree knee angle. Keep your head neutral.
- Hold briefly.
- Push through your heels to stand back up.
- The Smith machine is also great for bench presses.
- Position a low workout bench beneath the machine.
- Lie down on the bench, ensuring the lower part of your chest aligns with the bar.
- Confirm that the bar is just above your chest.
- Grip the bar with your hands in an overhand grip, keeping your elbows bent at a 90-degree angle outward.
- Exhale as you lift the bar upward, avoiding locking out your elbows.
Inhale as you return the bar to the starting position.
Note: Maintain flat feet on the floor or on the end of the bench, with your knees bent to keep your back against the bench.
- Position a bench upright under the bar.
- Hold the bar with an overhand grip, keeping your hands shoulder-width apart.
- Lower the bar towards your upper chest.
- Pause for 1-2 seconds, holding the bar just below your chin.
- Push the bar back up, extending your arms without locking them.
Note: Be mindful not to arch your back during the exercise.
- Position the bar so that it's just above your knees, and make sure it's securely locked in place.
- Stand facing the bar with the backs of your legs touching it.
- Slightly bend your knees and place your hands behind you on the bar, with a little more than hip-width distance between them.
- As you do this, tighten your core muscles. Now, begin to bend your elbows and lower yourself while keeping your hips stable.
- Finally, straighten your arms and lift yourself back up, focusing on tightening the muscles on the backs of your arms as you do.
- Stand inside the Smith machine, positioning your feet hip-width apart.
- Grip the bar with an overhand grip, your hands shoulder-width apart.
- Sit your hips back into a Romanian deadlift position.
- Keep your arms fully extended.
- Pull the bar in towards your midsection, pausing momentarily.
- Slowly lower the bar back down, fully straightening your arms.
Note: Maintain your shoulders down and back to engage your lats fully. Make sure your elbows are tucked in as you pull the bar toward your body.
This guide only covers a small handful of the exercises that may be performed on the Smith Machine; however, because of the Smith Machine's adaptability, users can perform an even wider variety of workouts. But remember to start with light weights, prioritise proper form, and gradually increase the intensity of your workouts as you become more comfortable and experienced with the equipment.