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Thread: Smith machine to improve barbell workouts

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    Phoenix2015 is offline Associate Member
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    Smith machine to improve barbell workouts

    Hi,

    I just moved to a new area and so I'm essentially working out alone. In order to increase my strength on squats and press exercises (military, flat and incline), I usually have a spotter. Unfortunately, my new coordinates=empty gym and if people are exercising, they generally don't seem strong or experienced enough to give me a good spot. For the past 2 weeks, I've been exploring the smith machine as a means to increase strength in said exercises. Obviously I can lift heavier on the smith and so I push the limits on it. I still return to the barbell once a week to ensure I don't lose form, keep my stabilizers sharp and assess my strength gains and I can honestly say I can lift/squat heavier by mixing in the smith.
    So the question is: will this tactic of mixing the barbell with the smith machine (or any free weight workout with its machine equivalent) lead to more problems than benefits over the long run, or is this a method that you would endorse?

    Thanks!

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    Bio-Active's Avatar
    Bio-Active is online now AR-Hall of Famer
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    There is nothing wrong with the smith machine. I gave up using a barbell back in 2010 and never looked back. Smith machine, hammer strength machines and dumbbells are my go to lifts and my chest is more developed then before when I was using a barbell

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    Buster Brown's Avatar
    Buster Brown is offline Knowledgeable Member
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    You have to use what tools you have available to you... that's the bottom line.

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    Gaspaco's Avatar
    Gaspaco is offline "The Italian Stallion"
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    Do exercises that doesn't cause u joint pain but always switch the good ones up!

    Body is a biatch, will get used to everything.

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    Khazima's Avatar
    Khazima is offline Knowledgeable Member
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    You don't need to be hitting the point where you need a spotter regularly to spark growth, and if you're training with lower reps you shouldn't really be missing any lifts in training until you're testing your 1/3/5 rep max.

    But no it's not going to be harmful, use what you've got. If i were in your situation i'd still be on the barbell all the time, but my goals are to increase my total with the barbell lol.

    Also, failing by yourself is easy, if you have pins then use them, if not, there's plenty of techniques to fail safely.

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    marcus300's Avatar
    marcus300 is offline ~Retired~ AR-Platinum Elite-Hall of Famer ~
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    Incorporate some DB work aswell and use a verity of machines and free weight. If you can increase the poundage try increasing the intensity and implement some dropsets, rest pause will be a good one for you for the goals your after and slow increase the overload. Nothing wrong with the smith machine but also try some DB work which will be easy to go to failure because you can just drop them and if you feel you need that extra to dig deep into those tough fibers just rest pause or dropset.

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    Phoenix2015 is offline Associate Member
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    Man thanks guys. This is why I love this forum. People just dropping tested knowledge for free!!! In response:
    I have already incorporated drop sets and I still use the regular barbell regularly. Chest and legs have been my weaknesses since forever and consequently, I've begun to hit them 2x/wk. One day free barbell, the other machines. I definitely see improvements. As to pins, I've got none yet but to warm up the engine, I plan on trying an AI and Clomid alone once I hit the growth wall in a few weeks. Those can be acquired easily on Ar-r .

    Much appreciated, really!!!

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    You know what... theres always the weight lifting nazi's with there noses in the air when they see people using a smith machine, and those people are usually weak. Do what you can how you can where you can. If you hae a past injury (the Rock squats on the smith because of old injuries and he has huge wheels) youre training for yourself, not to impress so e weak bitch who doesnt like the smith..... kill it man anyway you can

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    600@50's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigrich4 View Post
    You know what... theres always the weight lifting nazi's with there noses in the air when they see people using a smith machine, and those people are usually weak. Do what you can how you can where you can. If you hae a past injury (the Rock squats on the smith because of old injuries and he has huge wheels) youre training for yourself, not to impress so e weak bitch who doesnt like the smith..... kill it man anyway you can
    You are so right Rich about people looking down on folks using the smith machine and any other various pieces of equipment for that matter. We all have to learn how to maximize what is available to use given our circumstances. It could be as you said a past injury or you just want to do something different. I use the smith machine for seated shoulder presses. Mainly because of past rotator cuff injuries. People do tend to watch when I load 3 45s and a 25 on each end and knock out 8 reps. I know I couldn't use the same weight on a bb. It's strictly for safety. They usually don't give me a hard time about using it after that.

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    Docd187123 is offline Banned
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigrich4 View Post
    You know what... theres always the weight lifting nazi's with there noses in the air when they see people using a smith machine, and those people are usually weak. Do what you can how you can where you can. If you hae a past injury (the Rock squats on the smith because of old injuries and he has huge wheels) youre training for yourself, not to impress so e weak bitch who doesnt like the smith..... kill it man anyway you can
    You ever think that most those people actually understand that a normal BB is a better choice and a safer choice than a smith machine or that maybe someone doesn't need a spotter (the reason some ppl use smith machines) unless they're going for a max or doing negatives/forced sets?

    Ps. The rock does have pretty big legs, but they weren't made on the smith machine

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    Phoenix2015 is offline Associate Member
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    I'd like to respectfully argue that a spotter is necessary outside the context of dropsets and max's. Sometimes, one cannot safely push themselves and complete a the last set of 8 reps of the bench or squat. Especially if you are training a natural weakness. I mean the life always seems to leave your muscles at the most dangerous point. I mean you can't always just drop the barbell, or let it roll off you safely while avoiding injury. Plus the knowledge that someone or something (in the case if machines) let's you risk more and push harder because you have nothing to lose. I could be wrong but what do I know...

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    No, i never think those things. I dont use a smith machine either, but all im saying is that working out with one is not the devils work. I train in my garage and have 3 different bars (regular barbell, safety squat bar and a swiss bar) im just sick of everytime someone mentions one or see a picture of one they go elitest. The majority of people out there are over weight and gross, so to me anyone working i dont care what its with.
    Sure the bb is a "better choice" but whats the thing about a smith that makes everyone so mad?
    I also workout alone so what do i know about spotters? I will use the spotter arms in my cage if im nervous about a weight, but other than that i make sure i can do it.

    I know the Rock at one point used a bb to squat but hes had that injury sense college ball and use other methods to stay big, he didnt just stop because he thiught the smith machine was for pussies

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    Phoenix2015 is offline Associate Member
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    I totally agree. However, I also believe that injury or not, many methods will induce some sort of muscular hypertrophy. While a lot is known about muscle cell biology, a lot can still be learned, and not all that has been learned is set in stone. I remember when I was too young for the weight room and all I had at my disposal were push ups and pull ups and I still experienced prepubertal growth. Does anyone remember the age of "aerobics?" All I'm saying is in order to reach physical perfection, one must use all the tools available: open trail or treadmill, body weight or added weight, free weights or machines. And I am reassured that I'm on the right track given your responses. Thank you!

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    Buster Brown's Avatar
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    I think the Smith machine gets a bad rap someone boasts about a certain weight they put up on the Smith machine and forgot to deduct the amount of weight that is cantilevered which depending on model can be 40 lbs.
    Phoenix2015 likes this.

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    I agree... Actually use the smith for bb bench dume to my R. Shoulder(have torn both labrum in half and 3 other tears in labrum...repaired 3 times, w/my biceps tendon.... Now needing a total replacement, and rotator cuff in same shoulder) but I still make great gains with the Smith & DB's!

    Definitely has a bad rap though!
    Last edited by NACH3; 01-18-2015 at 09:30 PM.

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